On the journey of self-improvement (it’s a journey not a destination), you never know what’s going to be a profoundly transformative experience. Right now, my big transformation is letting go of living up to my parents’ expectations, which ultimately is what letting go of approval seeking is all about. There’s a feeling of grief and sadness in saying goodbye to an old version of myself.
Much of self-improvement is preparation. You prepare yourself–spirit, thoughts, emotions, body–for that moment when something ignites your soul on fire. While it’s exhilarating to expand into a greater version of yourself, there must be a cooling down period in which things must reform.
We can never go back to the way things were, but sometimes we want to. When we can stop wanting to go back, then we can truly go forward. We have to want to change before it can happen.
We are all destined to realize our true self-worth, one way or the other. It’s not so much a calling as an inexorable pull. To the extent that we resist the pull of our true self, we are unhappy.
Letting go can be difficult because it can feel like a sacrifice. Sometimes we think we’re sacrificing, but we’re not. A true sacrifice usually has to do with the death of a dearly held belief, and most of us hate to be wrong.
It’s challenging to be unflinchingly honest with ourselves. There are so many ways we can be diverted from really getting to the heart of the matter. I continue to write, because this is my bastion of peace, and oasis of truth.
Sometimes I wonder why it’s so quick and easy for me to focus love onto others, but focusing that same love on myself feels foreign. It’s one of those unfamiliar things that I’m devoted to becoming familiar with. As I look upon myself with the same admiration, esteem, friendliness, and respect that I afford others, I feel at peace.
My definition of humility is being neither too high nor too low in your estimation of yourself. In fact, the need to compare yourself to others is irrelevant when you’re truly humble. Humility requires self-honesty and sincerity.
Feeling like you’re better than others (and needing to put others down) is arrogance, which is the opposite of humility. Likewise, playing the martyr or victim is also a kind of arrogance, and not humble. It’s only through vigorous self-honesty that the true heart of humility can shine forth.
Being truly humble means being invisible, like the way nature is great without caring if anyone notices. It means living life for the greater good, which includes yourself and everyone else. It means withdrawing blame and taking on full responsibility for your choices.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Spring!
At the heart of re-inventing myself is the principle of intrinsic motivation and reward. Doing things for intrinsic reward means being uncompromisingly true. It’s unfamiliar territory, but the key is to make the unfamiliar familiar.
Intrinsic rewards feel satisfying, fun, interesting, fulfilling, right, good, and perfect. Trying to get extrinsically rewarded feels like second-guessing myself, self-doubt, approval-seeking, people-pleasing, fear-based, anxiety-driven, worrisome, comparing myself to and seeking validation from others. So yeah, intrinsic rewards are way better.
I’ve found that deciding to live from the inside out means not going back to the old ways of living. You can’t half-ass being true to yourself. You wouldn’t buy falseness from yourself, and neither will other people.
How many people before me have watched the sun come up every morning? I want to be like the steady sun; sometimes cloud covered, sometimes standing alone. Let all of the myriad thoughts and emotions fall in line as planets around an inner source of light.
Being able to see clearly is a great advantage. If I were to sum up what it was all about these past couple of years, I’d say clarity. Mental sharpness and emotional clarity came from it.
The mind is like an infinitely sharp knife. If we were to use such a knife, we’d want to focus on what we were doing. That’s my approach to the way I use my thoughts.
Every day we get to check our map to see if we’re headed in the right direction. We’ll go on many adventures and face many challenges on this journey, but that’s the whole purpose. Life is an odyssey, and we’re on our way home.