The End of Self-Improvement
This is my New Year’s gift to you; part love letter, part kick in the pants. Please take what serves you and discard the rest. These are my truths, not necessarily yours.
You do not need to fix yourself. You are not broken. You are enough. You may not like everything about your life and self, but you have the essential goodness and tools inside yourself. You are worthy of love and kindness no matter what you do or don’t do. I spent far too many years chasing the idea of fixing and healing myself.
My real healing began when I stopped trying to fix and improve myself. Instead, I began focusing on loving and accepting myself.
There is no time when everything becomes OK because you have arrived at your goals or done the right things. Even when you get the job, girl, house, or money, happiness will be fleeting. Do not seek your happiness in externals. Contentment comes from self acceptance and living in alignment with your values.
Please go look in the mirror. You are the best expert, teacher, partner, and guru for you. The more books, workshops and other people that you consult, the more confused you will become. Each new book, has a slightly different formula for the best way to become successful, healthy, empowered, enlightened, etc. Spend time alone in nature or meditation, listening for your own answers. To be clear, I’m not saying spirit, friends, or teachers can’t help you. I’m simply saying your foundation is built with a marriage of feminine (love) and masculine (responsibility) energies.
Self acceptance and self responsibility are the keys to open a new life. Make the choice to accept who you are and your current life situation. Your choices led to where you are. There is no need to endlessly unravel your beliefs, patterns, and ideas about how you arrived at where you are. Simply start where you are. Then accept it or decide to change it. If you want a new life, make new choices. And no matter what you choose, you are loveable and enough.
Loving yourself is the most important choice.
Next, decide what are the most important things you want in your life; work, relationship, success, peace, enlightenment. Then, define how those values and priorities would look in your life. Finally, do the best you can to align your actions with your ideas. This is the key to success, peace, contentment, happiness, and even enlightenment. Or take a more Zen approach like Aisha suggests below.
Invest your energy in what is right in front of you and see how it can be cultivated into something meaningful. ~ Aisha Bowe
For me, enlightenment simply means to be awake and aware. Wake up to what is important to you and align your life with those values and you become enlightened. Take action in the new year toward what you want your life to be. And no, you can’t control everything or everyone in your life. You may not get what you want, but in each moment you have the power of choice. Your power lies in your responses (choices) to what life brings you. Choose well, love well, and you will have a meaningful and fulfilling life. You are worthy of love and kindness no matter what.
May you grow more love and compassion for 2021.