Lately I’ve been reflecting on a concept we talked about in my life coach training: “There is not better than here.”
To me this is a reminder that no matter what we accomplish in life, we will experience sadness, pain, grief, desire, etc…
We have these imaginary arrival points where we think we will transcend struggle or discomfort or growth. But I think these are our companions for the rest of our life, to some degree, and that is ok.
So when I’m impatient to get ‘there’ (whatever ‘there’ is at a different period of my life) I try to remember that getting ‘there’ doesn’t mean everything will be better, it will just be different.*
From the very first session, self-awareness if one of the main capacities we aim to increase in psychotherapy.
Lack of self-awareness is like sleepwalking through life. We keep reacting to the things around us based on our conditioned responses that are often rooted in traumatic experiences. If we continue to live this way, never exploring our reactions, we don’t give ourselves a fair chance of discovering who we really are - our true Self.
Self-awareness is a gateway to uncovering our true Self, to understanding our motivations, desires, and choice we make and what we create with those choices. Once we know why we do what we do and how its’ affecting us, we have more choice over it. We have more freedom to choose how we respond.
Just because you’re at a different point in life than someone else, it doesn’t mean that you’re behind or that you’re not making progress.
In those moments when we compare ourselves to others we forget that we had different starting points, different circumstances, families, experiences, opportunities, etc…
When you remember that it’s easier to see how pointless comparison is.
Much more useful use of time is to reflect on whether you are living in alignment with your values and priorities.
Like anything in life, self-improvement can be used either as a tool or a weapon. Self-improvement is one of those things that we can very sneakily turn into a never ending ending cycle of "becoming better."
While I do believe that personal growth and change are inevitable parts of life, pursuing them from a place of shame and self-judgment becomes a game we can't win, and that's because we can't shame ourselves into feeling good about ourselves. Feeling good about ourselves comes from a sense of safety and acceptance, not judgment and shame.
Check in with yourself: Does desire for self-improvement and personal growth come from a place of excitement and self-honoring, or am I pursuing it because I don't feel worthy & enough as I am?