What begins as inspiration to be our best selves can just as easily turn into confirmation that we're not. There's a fine line between developing the self, and punishing the self for perceived inadequacies. It's so easy to get the two confused.

Don’t Give Up on Self-Help

Fifteen years ago, I bought myself a set of Tony Robbins‘ motivational CDs as a Christmas present. I was at a place in my life where I wanted to give up. I was disappointed in myself, disappointed with life. It wasn’t motivation I was after. I wanted meaning, a reason to get up in the morning besides my 40-hour-a-week prison for a paycheck.

I realize, a lot of people make fun of self-help and motivational gurus, but the truth is a lot of people do need help. A lot of people are looking for answers for how to live beyond survival. And there’s nothing wrong with helping yourself with the help of others. 

I know it’s weird and probably not for everybody, but while listening to the CDs in my car and chanting the cheesy positive affirmations, I learned to talk to myself in a way other than my usual degrading putdowns, doubts and fears. I learned how to believe in and trust in myself.

But that was just the beginning and it hasn’t always been easy or fun!

However, I must have been uber committed to discovering the truth about myself because my personal growth has been a roller coaster of dramatic ups and downs. It has been both painful and blissful. But when I look at where I came from, I see now that I‘m an entirely different person on the inside. I’m braver, I know what I want (most of the time). I can challenge myself and take care of myself. I trust life a lot more.

And a lot of my change has come about through the work of over a hundred authors and speakers motivating me to dig deep and find that person of greatness within. I’m very attracted to them and what they have to offer. Whether it’s live, recorded, or online, when they speak about our personal development it makes me want the life they’re selling!

I’m thinking, Yeah! and That makes so much sense! and Darn, what am I waiting for…!

They’ve been there and done it! And they’re convinced that I can too! I’m sold! I can, and will have a better life – more passion, more time, more love, more money! I’m deep into believing that I do have everything it takes to succeed at fulfilling my dreams…I’m on fire and inspired by their unwavering passion, stellar strategies and words of wisdom.

I’m high on cloud nine for a few weeks,…staying on track with my goals, then suddenly a different, but all too familiar feeling creeps into my awareness, along with setbacks and second thoughts.

I wonder, why am I pushing myself so hard! What’s wrong with who I am already? What’s so bad about my life that it needs to be fixed? Why can’t I just be me, exactly as I am? I’ve bottomed out again…I want to curl up and hide.

What begins as inspiration to be our best selves can just as easily turn into confirmation that we’re not. There’s a fine line between developing the self, and punishing the self for perceived inadequacies. It’s so easy to get the two confused.

If we are perfect, as is, then why do we need to grow, develop, and become better?

It seems like a catch-22 because feeling inadequate is an epidemic in our culture. I never knew there were so many people who felt that no matter what they do, they will not measure up. Many of us even believe that the reason we haven’t yet found the kind of success we desire is because we suck as a person! We feel this so strongly, we can’t even see the success we have created. We’re blinded by the belief that we’re just not good enough. That trumped up idea is preventing us from trying to attain the things we really want in life!

I know. I struggled on this tightrope of thinking for a long time. 

I even put myself on a “motivational diet” at one point and steered clear of reading or listening to inspirational speakers. But I continually found myself coming back to them. Until one day I realized there was something I needed that I wasn’t getting anywhere else…and I finally identified it…I needed encouragement to be the person I knew I really was behind the self-doubt and fear. I needed support and it was accessible, nearly free, anonymous, easy to get without asking, and non-judgmental

The trickiest part of growing into your best self is riding the crest of self-acceptance and motivated growth. You need both.

If we think of ourselves like a well-kept house, this concept might make sense. Even one with a solid and sufficient structure gets cleaned, repainted, redecorated, remodeled and added onto over the course of it’s lifetime whether it needs it or not. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it would certainly be okay to keep things the same over time, but change makes it more interesting and exciting. Without change, we’d be bored stiff with our surroundings. We suffer from that same kind of boredom when we cease to grow or change in our lives.

That’s why so many of us are drawn to personal development, even though, it challenges and scares us. We want to grow and experience new things, but when we push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, we tend to panic. The fear of failing or being rejected begins to play with our old beliefs about not being good enough. Our fears make us want to give up and go back to thinking we don’t need to…

We reason, “I’m already perfect, just the way I am.”

AND the truth is, we are perfect already.

We aren’t missing anything, ever. A full range of being is always there within us waiting to be revealed or uncovered. Once we understand this crucial point, then we can feel free to shape shift and discover what it feels like to be different, to grow without the limitations of inadequacy.

Self development helps us learn about our greatness through trial and error experience. As we move through our lives, we add experiences that slowly shape the clay of who we are. The only difference is when we practice self-development techniques, we encourage it rather than resist it. 

We’ve been given a great gift, an intense desire to know our divine selves, the likeness of God within us. That’s why we crave adventure and other exciting and interesting experiences, to discover and reveal the facets of ourselves that we can’t yet see or even imagine. It’s kind of like we are unwrapping God’s present to us over the years. With every layer of tissue paper, another shiny trinket awaits us, a discovery of self that keeps us interested and on our toes, engaged with our own great life.

We don’t motivate to prove we can attain anything. Our greatness isn’t something we have to prove; it’s who we become while living on purpose, one day at a time, on the front lines of our lives.

So, enjoy the unwrapping! Thank you all for reading!

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