The problem with self-improvement
As is often the case, my client started our session off today by telling me about what difficulties she’d been experiencing recently.
One was how disappointed and upset she got when a guy she’d dated suddenly went cold and disappeared.
Her thinking quickly went to, “it never works out for me” and “I’m never the chosen one”.
Similarly, when she found out that another guy she liked already had a girlfriend, she’d think: “everyone I like is always taken.”
She’d also noticed that in some social situations, but not all, she would feel self-conscious, and mentally filter the things she wanted to say before saying them, sometimes holding back completely.
Her internal dialogue would say things like, “I’m not interesting”, or “I don’t have anything interesting to say.” So she would just stay quiet.
I asked her what she would love instead, to which her response was:
“To be thinking the opposite of everything I’m thinking!”
She could see that these thoughts she was having weren’t useful or empowering, and she wanted to not have them anymore.
But her desire to not be thinking them anymore, was paradoxically, part of the problem.
This client has been working with me for a while now, and she’s already achieved a tremendous amount in terms of managing her emotions and re-wiring her mindset.
But every time she experienced disappointments, or more unhelpful judgements, she would see that as “not being there yet.”
Not being ‘transformed’ enough yet.
Not being ‘healed’ enough yet.
Not having ‘mastered herself’ enough yet.
Not being ‘fixed’ enough yet.
Not having inner peace enough yet.
“Why does this keep happening? It’s not working!” is what she’d tell herself in those times.
Which is one of the problems of constantly trying to “improve oneself” - it can lead us to thinking that we NEED improving and aren’t improved enough yet.
But to want to think the opposite of what she was thinking, is to implicitly tell herself there’s something wrong with what she was thinking or feeling.
She said to me, “I don’t know how to not feel disappointed.”
As though there’s something wrong with her, or something wrong with feeling that way!
But the truth is, there’s nothing wrong her. And there’s nothing wrong with feeling disappointed!
There is NO WHERE to get to.
There’s no fixing she needs to do.
She’s already there. The only thing that stops her from experiencing “being there” is the judgement that she’s not already there.
Where is “there”?
“There” is slightly different for everyone, but it’s generally that feeling of peace that comes with knowing there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not broken, there’s nothing to fix, and you’re already good enough, worthy, perfect, whole and complete.
For my client, knowing that she’s already there, won’t mean that she won’t experience disappointment or shyness again. It just means she won’t make it mean something if she does.
Instead of digging herself into further upset, she will be able to simply allow herself to feel what she feels, letting those feelings come and go, knowing, there’s nothing wrong with her.
Being ‘there’ gives us an unbreakable inner core, one that can withstand setbacks like a tree can withstand the wind.
And it’s our natural state of being
We are ALL already there. Every one of us.
We just think we are not.