WHO YOU WANT TO BE IS WHO YOU ALREADY ARE
The world of self-help and self-improvement is at an all-time high. Add the internet, a 21st century perk to the industry, and you could spend 24 hours a day working on tweaking your existence just ever so slightly to be more… well, improved. But here's the fundamental problem with the self-help and selfimprovement space, and this is coming from a poster child for the industry:
YOU are perfect. Yes, YOU.
With all your imperfections, quirks, flaws, and shadow side. You don't need to be fixed and you don't even need to be helped. Frankly, what you really need is to be revealed. It's subtle, but trust me when I tell you there's a big difference between improving and unveiling.
From the self-help lens, we begin on a journey of exploration to discover the things about us that need to be changed in order for us to be happy and fulfilled. The trouble is, this model has a fundamental flaw. It perpetuates the malware in our inner software which is programmed to believe our starting point is deficient. In theory, it sounds great; you're not quite right, you need improvement. Here - read this, learn this, then change that, and voila, you will be new and improved AND this new and improved version of you will be endlessly happy, happy, happy.
And it's a big but. When we pop this blue pill and sink down the rabbit hole of self-help without upgrading our dos software programming, regardless of what we learn, or how we change or what incredible improvements we are able to achieve, we are still running the old system with that pesky little belief that will still be robbing us of our true joy. The one about “who I am is deficient and therefore I must improve to be worthy and capable of happiness.” WRONG!
I am a huge fan of self-help and self-improvement. But, we must begin at the beginning. Missing the first and most fundamental step is the true culprit that robs us of our happiness. The first thing we must change, before we do any improving of self is the point of view from which we are looking at ourselves.
Here’s what I mean...
Instead of thinking you have to improve to be worthy and happy, what if, your worthiness and happiness were lying dormant inside you. In other words, they were not things you had to go out and get. They were not rewards for your hard work or gifts for being an especially good human. Instead they were birth rights, unequivocally yours for the experiencing. What if your
job was less about improving, and more about revealing your essence? Kind of like when Michelangelo would go to the quarry and get a slab of marble. He explained the statue was already inside. He described his role as removing all the excess marble that was blocking the view of this extraordinary piece of art locked inside.
What if you are an extraordinary piece of art already?
What if you were to start from that premise? When we engage in personal development from a place of curiosity, versus our usual stance of harsh self-criticism, the entire dance changes. We choose differently.
• Instead of self-disciplined, imposed changes that rigidly block us from engaging in bad habits, we choose life affirming, soul stirring, joyful activities that light us up from within.
• Instead of a calorie restricted diet, and no food after 7pm, we choose a nutritional 7-week cooking class where we learn to buy, prepare and enjoy, delicious, healthy, life affirming meals.
• Instead of mandating a 30 minute sitting meditation practice, because ‘that' is the path to enlightenment, you stop at the beach on the way home from work every day, because those 10 minutes in nature tune your inner rhythm to a place of peace and harmony and you walk through the door with an open and gentle heart. Which by the way, was what the meditation was supposed to do, except it left you with a sore ass and a stiff back and even more uptight than when you started.
The truth is no one knows the path to your happiness, except for you. People write books about the method that worked for them. Allow that to be an affirmation that happiness, joy, and fulfilment is alive and well in the human experience. But, before you read one more book, take one more course, go to one more retreat, consider, you are already who you want to be; an exquisite work of art. Instead of trying to ‘improve' yourself, what might you do to reveal even more of your exquisite essence into the world?
CHOOSE DIFFERENTLY. CHANGE YOUR DANCE.