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The Perils of Self-Betterment

One thing that I am apparently quite obsessed with is this path to self-betterment. I am always asking myself what I can do differently. How can I present myself differently? What can I do in this moment to be a better person?

First off, I’m not claiming that I’m perfect or that I have it “all figured out”. I’m far from that, for sure. But in my constant pursuit of trying to be this enlightened, unbothered human, I have spent a lot of time in my head. Probably a bit too much time in my head. I pretty much stay in my head, mostly oblivious to the world around me. In this process, I have hurt and neglected people who I love more than anything. It definitely wasn’t something I was doing intentionally. I’ve realized it was mostly a defense mechanism that I’ve used since childhood to protect myself from being taken advantage of. I never, ever want to hurt those I love, but I’ve realized that in my constant quest to figure out what I’m always doing “wrong”, I’ve forgotten to get out of my head and into the world. I’ve forgotten what it was like to be “in the now” and truly connect with the beautiful people and the beautiful things in my environment. Rotten people rarely show up in my little reality anymore and when they do, I can typically “sense” them from a mile away. There is no need for me to have this constant wall keeping people out anymore.

Sometimes something or someone will come along and just absolutely shatter everything you believed to be real about yourself and the nature of reality. You feel like you’re at peace with yourself and your life and then suddenly you’re shaken to your core and reminded that you really don’t know shit. Then, for a time, it is complete and utter chaos. You descend into this vortex of sadness, shame, and self-doubt. You start to wonder “Am I really just an asshole and I don’t know it?” or “What if I’m not really a good person? Would everyone I know be better off if I weren’t here?”

It is in that questioning that I get stuck in my head once again. It is a vicious cycle that sometimes seems impossible to get out of. There are many who don’t see the benefits of self-love or see it as selfish, but maybe, if I had a larger and truer sense of self-love I wouldn’t spend so much time in my head trying to figure out what’s “wrong” with me. I’d spend less time in my head and more time in my heart. The heart can’t help but love. It loves the owner of the body in which it beats and it loves every other heart that comes within its vicinity.

I will never, ever stop trying my best to be a better person. I will never, ever stop my self-examinations and figuring out how I could present myself to the world differently. However, I want to find balance. When I’m in the presence of others, that is not the time to be in my head, daydreaming and focusing on the next version of myself. I have plenty of alone time for that. Being with others is the chance we have to be “in the now”, to show love and appreciation for them. Time with others is a time where you focus on them and you let them know “I see you. I see your light. I see your darkness and I love and accept all of it, no matter what. You are absolutely perfect to me.”

And when I’m alone, I will say these same things to myself as well.

Cheers,
S.L.

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