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It suddenly occurred to me that terms like self-development, self-growth, inner work and so on - can be misunderstood by many as if they imply lack of self-love and contradict my whole emphasis on it. No, no - wanting to grow has nothing to do with you being less than or you not loving yourself. The opposite is true - once you get a taste of evolving, it will become obvious that there's nothing that screams self-love louder. Let me explain. There are two very distinct ways to look at changing yourself. First one - the one that comes to mind when we don't love and don’t value ourselves, goes something like this: "Something is wrong with me, I need to change that or nobody will love me, I don't feel I'm good enough so I need to do something about it." To be honest - a lot of us feel this way without ever admitting it to ourselves. But it is not the truth and hence nothing can be done about it except learning to love ourselves. Many might strive to improve their outer appearance or become more successful or to be liked by more people - whatever it takes to prove to themselves they are worthy. But the external validation never lasts, it is not about others - hence the term “self-love.” I wrote a post about self-love in more depth. In this current one, I want to discuss what happens when you succeed in it to some degree. First thing that comes to mind - you start to see beauty in the imperfection. Even if things appear messy - it is always up to us how to look at them and perceive ourselves and our life. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The beauty of life and you living it goes way deeper than we have ever been told. Why? Because it is your personal journey of exploration and learning - mainly learning about yourself. It is widely accepted that what makes life worth living is what you have on the outside - good job, family, friends etc. Those things are important and are a big part of our human experience. But this is not why we are here. We are here to evolve. Spiritually. To grow and learn and transform our consciousness into higher levels. If this sounds too new agey, in other words - we are here to become the best version of ourselves.
The system we live in - some call it the Matrix, does not want us to evolve simply because it is not beneficial for the system. If people evolve - they start asking questions and some of the answers are not so pretty. It might sound negative but the way things currently are in the world in economic terms are set up this way to benefit certain people and they are a very small part of the population. The masses are not in the system's favour. However, system needs masses of people to be half asleep so they can just work long hours and chase material things. Hence it is not great for them to become super conscious of themselves and their environment. This is why we are brainwashed daily - by TV for example. I hardly ever watch it but when I do - all I get to experience is fear. It's never news that encourages you or makes you calm. You know why? Because people in fear are more likely to spend money in an attempt to feel better. This is why terrifying news is followed by numerous TV commercials. Also the scared masses are easier to control. Call it conspiracy theory all you want - these things work so well, we got used to them being normal and acceptable.
Thinking outside the box.
I remember myself a few years ago reading similar opinions on the net. It seemed to me that the people writing them were insane or paranoid. Or both. There were so many conspiracy theories out there - no way they could all make sense. The only reason I finally approved some of them in my head - is because I observed its consequences all around me and most of all - in my own life. It's so easy to see - how my mood changes once I pick up a newspaper on the tube and have a quick read, how certain conversations with people drain me, how after watching a violent movie it's hard to fall asleep. Before I would think I'm being too sensitive and need to grow a thicker skin. Now I thank God I am sensitive and can just stay away from the so called reality. We can chose what goes in our heads - as ultimately it will affect our life. You don't want fear to run the show. Truth is - there is nothing to fear, but they don't want you to know it.
Coming back to my original point - ideally we turn to self-growth out of self-love. However, often it is pain that pushes us to get out of our comfort zone and be willing to change. No matter what is behind the original push - once we taste the freedom that comes with it, it's hard to forget it and you can never go back to your old self. Not because there was something wrong with the old self - not at all. Just one way or another - old self had limitations usually imposed on it by parents, society etc. True self on the other hand is limitless. And freedom to be your true self tastes good. Really good. We might slow down or get distracted or even get lazy (certainly was the case with me haha), but the universe will make sure to gently or not so gently remind us where the real treasures are.
All roads lead to Rome.
Some may ask - how do I know what I need to follow or study in order to grow? There are so many different philosophies out there. Before it was somehow easier - we were either Christian or Muslim or any other religion. But now - with the abundance of spiritual movements it can get confusing to some. I say - it doesn't matter which road you chose to go! One size doesn't fit all. As long as it resonates with you and feels like home, it's your path. You may stay there for a week or a year or you may stick with it. It doesn't matter so much how you travel, as long as you travel! And you won't know what works for you until you try. Surely one must avoid so-called charlatan gurus - people who promise you enlightenment for large amounts of money etc. This is not a journey then, as nobody else can do it for you! You will know when something is too good to be true. My belief is that we don't need gurus as much as we need to learn to hear our soul. You may try different meditations before it happens. But you shouldn't give the power to become your true self to someone else. People are still people no matter their abilities. Only you have the ability to become who you are meant to be. General practices like yoga and meditation are always good. There is no brainwashing involved and you get to experience different states of mind. These are tools that worked very well for me.
Is it time-consuming?
So many of us are short of time - especially when living in a big city like London. We are all participating in a rat race - a lifestyle which seems to speed up every day. If we don't do it - chances are we wouldn't be able to afford to survive in the most expensive city in the world. Well, unless you are born into a very wealthy family. Chances are - many of you are asking if all this self-development/spirituality will add to your life at all. Let's face it - we all are forced to value materialistic things more. Especially when living in the city. But that's where many of us wake up and find ourselves literally craving something more. Something deeper. I say - we need both to be able to not only survive but live. Sure, comfort will make your body happy, to some degree your mind will be distracted but the deeper aspect of you will be starved to say the least. That's when people turn to alcohol, drugs and numerous other distraction to numb themselves. It's not as bad if done in moderation, however often it's not - simply because it is used as a substitute, to fill some hole inside. I'm definitely not judging and I've been there myself. It can be fun but that's about it. So what's it gonna be for you? Short-term gratification or long-term fulfillment? Choice is yours.