What are the goals of self-improvement? In a literal sense, improvement means growing and changing, but maybe we just want a better version of the same life.
I was raised on Wayne Dyer and Chicken Soup and continued reading self-help books well into my 20s. Looking back, I remember the enlightenment I felt as I learned about emotional issues that could be sabotaging my progress and discovered tools that could help me resolve them. I have always been ambitious, determined and well-organized, so when it came to working a new habit or tool into my life, I made all the lists and had all the will power.
Did anything ever change as a result? No, not really.
But I FELT like I was changing, and that was important. I was spending time on myself, analyzing my situation, talking about my insights…I was trying, I was open, and I wanted improvement. However, the changes I made were on an intellectual level, and that seemed so powerful that I didn’t realize it wasn’t getting me anywhere on a practical level. It wasn’t until I found the right healers and support system that I resolved the issues and started really moving forward.
Here I am, decades later, as a healing professional myself, and I continue to see people finding their inspiration in the latest, greatest self-help propaganda. What I don’t see in that arena yet is real change. The books and blogs and endless new perspectives available these days carry great promises of improvement with tons of hope and possibility. It’s no wonder that people find themselves wrapped up in an intellectual or spiritual philosophy without seeing that their lives are still the same.
So why keep it up? If the goal is improvement, why do we settle for inspiration alone?
Because real change means confronting the ego, and that is no easy task. The ego is a very crafty force that will keep you exactly where you are until you can find a way around it, almost as though you are manipulating yourself into keeping the limits.
Meanwhile, the higher self beckons us to keep growing. It supports us in generating the continuous, real change that shows up as new careers, new places to live, new friends or taking new risks. Then, right at that point when we’re considering new action, the ego shows up as fear, attachment and very logical reasons why everything should stay exactly as it is. It will allow us all the grandeur of pontification, but no actual forward movement.
The balance between these two forces leaves us with a “better version of the same life.” The circumstances of life stay basically the same which makes the ego happy, while the tools and inspiration we find in books and courses help us find more peace and happiness with the life our ego has chosen for us.
It’s a bold and challenging prospect, but take a look at your goals for self-improvement. If you have what you want, then keep doing what you’re doing. If, on closer inspection, you find that nothing is really changing and you wish that it would, do something different. I propose that self-improvement is much like do-it-yourself home improvement – you can probably change some light fixtures on your own, but you’ll need a professional to add a new kitchen.
Find a skilled healing professional with a track record for generating real change (like me...) and let the rubber meet the road!