Simplify Your Self Improvement: Be Yourself

If you want to be someone other than the one you are, if you want a little more of this and a little less of that, there are plenty of people out there willing to help you in the grand and limitless reconstruction project of your body, mind, and projected image.

But why?

But before you put the enormous amount of effort into this project of being different than you are, you might want to ask yourself, “why?”.  Why do you want to be different? What is the matter with your life right now? Write down the list on a peice of paper. It might begin like this, “I’m too this…and too that.” Or, “I don’t have enough of this…and I have too much of this.” Now go down the list and ask yourself, are you absolutely sure that this is true? And compared to what standards?  Where did these standards come from and what the heck do they have to do with your very REAL life?

Is it what you are really looking for?

What are you really looking for? Is it really a clean kitchen and a trim waist line, enlightenment or perfect ettiquette? What do you want that you feel is missing, that is behind these ideas of the “better life?” Do you want to be happy? Do you want to feel more secure? Do you want world peace? Here is a question to help you figure it out: what is it that is uncomfortable in this moment that you want to move away from? Can you be with this instead with compassion and care?

Here is what I really want and I think I’m not alone.

I want to be connected. I used to think that meant connected to others, that I some how needed others to give me a certain kind of love and attention to feel connected. But overtime I’ve realized this isn’t the case. I want to feel connected within, to the presence of this moment, to my heartbeat, to the floor beneath my feet, and to the life moving through me.  Sometimes this connection is felt in the presence of others, and their presence heightens it.  This is lovely.

I want to be secure. I used to think this meant trying to plan and control not only the present but the entire future and everyone in it.  I still sometimes think it means this, but slowly through trial and error I come to see that this gives me the exact opposite. It leaves me disconnected, exhausted, and unaware of what is actually present and available in this moment. The security that is actually available is here right now, in the thick of our  unfinished and failed lives, our messy houses, our late bills, our difficult relationships. It is the groundless security of being ourselves, being authentic, and aligning our actions with what is true and realizing the rest is none of our business.

I want to be loved. Man, I’ve worked really hard on this one, saying the right things, doing the right things, bending over backwards, coming right out and practically begging. These strategies have certainly delivered some momentary joy as I basked in someone’s apparent attention, but in the end it has always crumbled. The truth is, I don’t so much want to be loved, as I want to be love.  And I am. And you are too. Listen beneath the noise and see if you don’t find out. Or work with me and we’ll go there together.

And So Does the Self Improvement Plan Work?

Listen, I’m going to keep reading books and blogs, attending workshops, listening to podcasts of people trying to help improve my life.  I enjoy this stuff.  But I no longer think my life needs improving. And I enjoy all this company and advice a lot more now that I know it won’t fix me.  It won’t save me from myself.  At it’s best it will point me back to myself.

And myself is where I want to be.

Imperfect on the outside, perfect on the inside.

Just like you.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Bacon March 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm

What a relief….too much self-improvement is terribly tiring. I love your reminder to be in the moment – it works wonders when we do it doesn’t it?

Take care

Kate x

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Jane March 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and generally feel like you have exceptional insights. This one, however, takes the cake. Sometimes it takes hearing things a hundred times until finally the hundred and first time I hear it in a new way and it resonates to my core. This post is an example of that. Thank you!

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Jasmine March 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Jane and Kate,

I’m so glad this post resonated with both of you. The day I woke up and realized I didn’t need fixing I kicked my heals up and praised the lord (whoever she is). Of course I’ve needed to re-realize this many times.

And BTW, I don’t need fixing but my comment section does. Some how I’ve not been being notified of comments and the spam folder is out of control. I’ll work on fixing this and leave myself alone!

Jasmine

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Mark March 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

Nice reminders, Jasmine. It’s nice when self-improvement can be transformed into something spacious and playful and reminiscent of what it was like when it was simply getting up each day and learning and playing with all the other kids.

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Jasmine March 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Absolutely. And if you didn’t have that kind of spaciousness as a child realizing we can begin to experience it now in our old age!

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Nomi Bachar March 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm

This is a wonderful post. Very informative and inspirational. I especially like what you said about what we really want and the questions we must ask ourselves. Thank you for sharing this with everyone. I will be letting others know of what you have to offer here as I find it a valuable resource. Thank you again and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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