picture-3The Conventional Way: Scarcity. You are screwed up.

Before I knew what personal development was, I was reading and working on myself. I was always looking for ways to be better. I immersed myself in leadership books from Steven Covey to Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled.

I was not totally happy and these books offered something in the way of self-improvement. They offered to solve my unhappiness problem.

Years later I would attend a Buddhist inspired graduate school to deeply study myself and to study psychology so as to be more effective in working with others. Part of the core curriculum was meditation. In my very first meditation class the instructor, Dale Asrael said something I will never forget.

She pointed out that most of us are busy “doing” and trying to be better. Meditation is about “being” yourself rather than trying to “better” yourself.  The more you can “be with” yourself the more fulfilled you will become and the more of service you will be to others.

A light bulb went on! I realized that in my innocent attempts at my self-improvement project, I had been adding more and more layers to my already entrenched ego. “This new thing or technique will make me happy,” I would claim. Or,  “Oh wait, I just need to try harder to be happy.” I looked everywhere.

After many meditation retreats, a lot of therapy, men’s groups, workshops and self reflection, I started to surrender and give up the self-improvement project. Man it was hard. I still get hooked occasionally. In fact, initially Revolutionary Man came from a view that men were not doing enough (lack focussed).

But what makes a man revolutionary is his willingness to soul search, to go inward, to know himself deeply– to begin to practice accepting himself as he is so he can better serve the world.

Many people like me (growth junkies) will turn to religion, self help, therapy, coaching and personal development to improve their lives. Why? Because more often than not these fields promise to alleviate your pain and fix your problem. Sometimes it actually works and if it’s good, it might be very beneficial. Sometimes these approaches just feel good in the face of not being able to feel much at all.

But mostly these approaches play into your false belief that there is something wrong with you. For example, if you and your coach or therapist believe your story that you are broken, both of you will try to fix you and eventually you’ll both end up frustrated at the lack of progress at the impossible task of “fixing” you.

The Revolutionary Way: You are okay as you are (i.e. there is nothing fundamentally wrong with you)

This is the big paradox in personal development: SELF ACCEPTANCE.

If you start out with the view as in Buddhism (which is a very ancient way) that you are fundamentally good and worthy of love and respect at your core right now, then the work with a healer, coach or teacher can be radically different.

Now personal development begins to mean growth toward self-acceptance. Or said another way, self-knowledge becomes self-love. And, as Krishnamurti reminds us “Self-knowledge is the cornerstone of freedom.”

We naturally begin to grow and evolve the more we are able to tolerate and embrace ourselves.

The more we practice self love, the more we are willing to let go of the mask and grow in order to become who we really are.

If you can turn your compass away from the view that you are bad or wrong and instead point it toward your own inherent goodness, you might be surprised at what is possible.

 

Comments

comments

55 Comments

  1. Justice Marshall July 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Great distinctions Jayson. Interestingly, as I relax into self-love, self-knowledge and being with… my self-improvement practices, well… improve. In other words, I haven’t abandoned self improvement, I just practice it upon a more enlightened foundation of love rather than a foundation of scarcity or lack. At least, on a good day! Love this topic.

  2. Fabio July 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    Woah, this one hurts a little, it touches at the core. And still I cannot seem to fully grasp the paradox, I want to develop into a better man, but I am basically good and ok as I am. So what’s the point of all this personal development stuff if I am already ok?
    Years and years of traumas have created layers of ego that I am now in the process of shedding in order to reach that core of basic goodness within myself. So what’s the secret here?
    Maybe, accepting myself step by step, just as I am, along the way in this journey. Knowing that I can use some improvement but I Am where I am supposed to be. And truly breath this in, silencing the thoughts :”I messed up”, “look what I did I never get in right” “I am not enough”.
    This is a tough one. This is a journey onto itself.
    Thank s for shedding some light.
    Another great article.

    • jayson July 1, 2009 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the honesty Fabio. It’s true, such a contradiction right? It’s like yoga. If we never went to yoga class, we wouldn’t get anywhere. So, first we need to show up to class. Then we need to exert some effort in each asana, but then accept our body for what it can do and be a yes to the tension we hold there. In time, we naturally grow and develop our practice as long we continue to accept the unfolding process and its rhythm.

  3. Luis Solis July 2, 2009 at 1:19 am - Reply

    Well, I may beg to differ gents. It is less that we are broken,
    thusly, that we need to be fixed. From my view, it is more that we
    may possess untapped potential…..only hard work … only self-doubt and massive efforts to step it up on our won terms… will help us
    evolve into all that we can be, in our fullest state.

    Please give this lens some consideration.

    Tiger Woods is not broken when he fundamentally changes his swing stroke. But he does change it, to achieve yet higher levels or stages of golf excellence that he is capable of…that he desire to achieve…not because anyone expects him to, rather, because he wants to and challenges himself.

    I do think there is another view…for all of us to consider!!

  4. Joshua Gribschaw-Beck July 2, 2009 at 1:38 am - Reply

    I echo Luis’s statements….this is what I was saying on our Revolutionary Men’s call a few weeks ago! :O) Weather or not I am in full self acceptance and am embodying that fully is another story. But I accept that part of me ;o)

  5. John Vaughan July 2, 2009 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Jayson is in good company – here is an excerpt from today’s Writers Almanac by Nobel Prize winning Hermann Hesse

    In Siddhartha, Hesse writes:

    And he found: “It was the self, the purpose and essence of which I sought to learn. It was the self, I wanted to free myself from, which I sought to overcome. But I was not able to overcome it, could only deceive it, could only flee from it, only hide from it. Truly, no thing in this world has kept my thoughts thus busy, as this my very own self, this mystery of me being alive, of me being one and being separated and isolated from all others, of me being Siddhartha! And there is no thing in this world I know less about than about me, about Siddhartha!”

    http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2009/07/02

    I can strongly identify with what Jayson is saying here, I’ve been through this and I am still going through it to some degree.

    I think what Luis and Joshua are describing is just a different point on the journey. Let’s say you are OK with the Self. What then?

    Perhaps you move on to what you are here to do. Play professional golf, or write a novel. At that point you are honing your swing, or working on your craft. This could be viewed as “self improvement”, it certainly falls under that umbrella. Perhaps now you are engaged with your purpose, and you are working through the details.

  6. Brad July 2, 2009 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Like the Tiger Woods analogy. Woods is fundamentally sound, which more safely allows for exploring new ways. If the new ways don’t build upon his fundamentals, then all is not lost. He simply returns to his original, good state. Jayson, feel free to advise on my interpretation.

  7. jayson July 4, 2009 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    I agree with you Luis. We all have untapped potential—this is the nature of who we are. The more we “let go” to who we are, the more capacity we have as humans.

    However, your sports analogy deserves a comment.

    In terms of the Tiger Woods, you are talking about the ego realm. Of course he wants to change his swing, work on his mental game, all to be a “better” golfer. It all equals more fame, money and love from the outside world, which may or may not help him love himself. We can name plenty of high-level athletes who are masters at their game, but are a mess inside. Same with business or politics.

    Most politicians, athletes, rock stars etc are building the “self” up. What I am talking about is dis-identifying with the “self” and surrendering to the “Self” (big S, our true essence).

    When a high caliber athlete like Woods is attempting to better his golf game he has to practice and achieve greater levels of mastery of a skill, but this is still the ego realm.

    What I am suggesting is NOT about mastering business or a trade or a sport.

    I’m talking about self-realization in the fullest sense. To realize one’s true nature, we have to accept reality as it is, accept ourselves as we are with all our unfinished goals and ambitions. If we are constantly waiting to accept ourselves until we are better at X or Y, then we are not embracing this moment at all.

    If you like your ego and are very identified with it, more power to you. After all, we all need our ego to function in life and even provide us with a good lifestyle. However that is not the path I am on. In fact, that was my path and it led me to feeling more and more hollow inside and further from the truth of my own existence and the love that was waiting for me.

  8. Dan September 13, 2009 at 7:02 am - Reply

    Jayson, I love this post man. It really struck a chord with me because I’m just like how you were. I constantly feel the need to “fix something wrong with me.” On a surface level, I totally understand and agree with what you’re saying.

    But here’s the biggest challenge I face. I’m already catching thought patterns running through my head of, “Okay, so if I fully accept who I am, I’ll end up fixing myself.” That’s the bitch that is the paradox :) and I’ll be the first to say that I tend to struggle holding two contradictory concepts in my mind.

    Also, it’s one thing to tell yourself, “Okay, I’m going to accept myself as I am,” but it’s another thing to ACTUALLY accept yourself as you are. For me, this means actually believing 100% “I am enough,” and if I just tell myself “I am enough,” it feels like I’m faking it. In your experience was accepting everything as it is a “fake it ’til you make it” game?

    P.S. I’ll see you on Tuesday in New York

    • jayson September 17, 2009 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      Dan,

      Great to see you in NYC.

      No, I don’t see self-acceptance as fake it till you make it. That wouldn’t work. I have to genuinely believe that “I’m enough” and know that it is true. Once this happens, natural evolution occurs. There’s nowhere to “get to” b/c I’m already there. The irony however, is that I transform.

  9. ricardo September 14, 2009 at 6:16 am - Reply

    a question for jayson.

    do you tinhk that mastery in any field needs first an internal master state necesarily? or only the superficial ego can motivate that kind of public success?

    (sorry for mi english)

    • jayson September 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Ricardo,

      It depends on how you define mastery. Men can “will” themselves to make large sums of money and act successful. Does this mean they have “mastery?” Doubtful.

      To me the key to unlock everything is your inner psychology. J

  10. Yogananda September 15, 2009 at 4:54 am - Reply

    Hi Jayson, I really liked this post, I consider my self a growth junkie, after reading this post about the paradox and talking with Josh Beck, I am really ready to let it all go, and practice what I already know about focusing within. I just like to indulge in the anal need to conquer the human being from the human side rather than from the real me. I am still on to participate in the 108 day retreat which probably will help me to reintegrate my sundered self into a ONE POWERFUL ME. Thank you all for being available so we can step into our true reality.

  11. Damian September 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Great article Jayson. I find this a great explaination of why every single dating company claims to have THE solution to all of your problems, even though it rarely works, unless you’re lucky enough to stumble accross someone who can pinpoint for example a negative belief of yourself and help change it.

    I’m also curious about what Dan’s asking though. Accepting yourself is much easier said than done, and admitting that you haven’t yet accepted yourself could be just another one of these “problems” that you tell yourself that you have, which needs to be “fixed”.

    • jayson September 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm - Reply

      You are most right Damian. Part of accepting yourself is about accepting and embracing this moment exactly as it is, so we don’t have tension against “what is.” The more we accept right now, the more we make space for our own transformation. Transformation then becomes a natural outpouring of embracing us as we are.

      And, it’s okay to want to change and be different. But some of us personal growth junkies get addicted to being different and it becomes very self-aggressive. Relax, relax.

  12. Alex September 18, 2009 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    very cool! I’m finding it hard to accept my unacceptance lol. I am definetaly a personal growth junkie.

  13. Phil October 16, 2009 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I see it simply as recognising that everything you want or need from life is already there within you.

    Power, confidence, and everything else is all there within you.

    The key is letting go … Letting go of all the stories, all the false ideas and limiting beliefs that are in the way of you experiencing what is already there.

    There is nothing to learn, there is just quite a lot of “stuff” to unlearn.

  14. Kyle October 16, 2009 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Very insightful article, also exactly in-line with what I am going through right now in my life. I just began studying Buddhism at a local Tibetan Center, also began seeing a phsychologist, and began a DVD program for improving inner self/way of being, with a particular focus on how it deals with your relating to women. I must say that all of these have a positive goal, but sometimes I have also seen the contradiction between Buddhism’s practice of just being in the moment with no expectations, seeing the true nature of reality, seeing things as they really are, rather than the perception that the mind tacks onto them, versus the goals of self improvement, which says you need something, or need to change something. I told this to my phychologist, and it actually stumped her a little bit. Her response to this paradox was to work on the things that you have the power to change, and do not stress over those things you cannot change. One interesting thing I have noticed is that you look at a self-improvement junkie, they are often some of the most motivated, hard working people you will ever meet, yet they often still seem unhappy. Then you contrast with a laid back person, who does enough to get by, but is happy, and just doesn’t seem to care about self improvement as much (either because he doesn’t know about it, or is just geniunely happy with things/himself just the way they are), and this person just seems so happy, so energetic, so good at making friends. I belive the second person just does not have a problem with himself, so he focuses on enjoying life. The self improvement junking could gain some insight by studying/being around this type of person. To sum up, this article did a great job at pointing out that if you accept yourself the way you are, it takes all the pressure off of your self-improvement efforts. You can then do them becasue you want to, because you are happy doing them, not because you feel like you have to, which usually makes you unhappy. If you can get in the mindset that I’m gonna be happy and have fun and enjoy my life no matter what happens, and that everything else is just icing on the cake, it can work wonders to improve your quality of life.

  15. A-ron October 16, 2009 at 9:52 am - Reply

    I have to admit that I’ve been a self improvement junkie. I made the realization, just like you did, a few months ago and now see the “self improvement” community like the pharmaceutical industry: wanting to help, but only if there’s profit involved. The whole notion of being broken is ridiculous. How can a person be broken?

    I think we have this idealized view of how we should be, according to religion, marketers, the media, etc. It’s as if it’s not OK to be yourself, you have to be like someone else and if you’re not, then you need fixing.

    You’ve really simplified the solution, which is going inward instead of looking outward. I call it strengthening my gravitational pull. If my pull is strong, I attract what I want in life and can better serve others. If my pull is weak, I become an orbiter whose existence depends on someone or something else.

    And taking this path doesn’t mean that all the nasty emotions and bad feelings go away. They’re still going to be there. It’s impossible to avoid them (unless you completely shut yourself out of life). But now, my emotions don’t control me because I recognize them for what they are. In other words, I’m more centered and purposeful.

  16. Bryan October 16, 2009 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Gestalt offers a twist. The more we accept ourselves, the more we can change. So what if accetance is one of the better vehicles to change?

    Oh, and the idea that some of us don’t have brokenness is too simple. Integration would say that as practitioners we can fully accet our clients while recognizing that some of us have parts that are broken… which means that healing can occur. If you were raped by your Father at the age of 9 or your needs ignored while you raised your sick mother at the ago of 8… or were born with bi-polar I (which if you have a dear friend or family member) is not a figment of their story… then true love can heal. And to do so acceting ones brokenness on some level can lead to change ;

  17. Nadya October 16, 2009 at 10:21 am - Reply

    “But mostly these approaches play into your false belief that there is something wrong with you. For example, if you and your coach or therapist believe your story that you are broken, both of you will try to fix you and eventually you’ll both end up frustrated at the lack of progress at the impossible task of “fixing” you.”

    I’m not sure about this. Doesn’t make sense. None of my therapists told me there is smth wrong with me, none of them told me I was not love worthy or implied I’m not good enough. They just help to point out those core believes that obscure your goodness (and I’d say Godness). they encourage to work with those but it doesn’t mean that right now your life is miserable as you are not perfect yet.

  18. Brett Dupree October 16, 2009 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Beautifully said. We are perfect whole beings as we are now. Yet we are also always changing. Like the old zen saying, “Always being, always becomming.”

    Personal growth for me is an interesting double edged sword. It can bring one out of the darkness, yet it can create an entirely different darkness for the person to be in. Not that it is a bad thing. My darkness of personal growth happiness was much more fun than the darkness of personal growth saddness.

    The part I am still working on accepting is the fact that it is knowing less, and not more.

    I loved your post.

  19. Larry October 16, 2009 at 10:23 am - Reply

    I strive, I reach out; rejected I withdraw, empty and defeated.
    Alone with my thoughts; this is who I am, this is what I have, I have reaped what I have sown, the seed was planted so long ago that there is no knowing now. To touch, to feel, to share!
    How can I Love the unloveable?

  20. Chris October 16, 2009 at 11:21 am - Reply

    This is something I have been considering a lot myself recently. Exactly WHY do I do the things I do?

    When I really examine my motivations they are almost always about fixing a part of myself that I “believe” is broken.

    We may deny it, especially those of us that are more “evolved”, but we have been brainwashed by our culture that we are only OK if…

    …we have more muscle
    …we’ve had more sexual partners
    …we have a bigger cock
    …we have the best social skill and on and on.

    No matter if we achieve these things, there will always be the “what’s next on the list to fix” question. The real answer to this question of course is to fucking WAKE UP to the fact that we are OK as we are.

  21. dk October 16, 2009 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Interesting.. I think about this a lot actually.. when it comes to relating to women..Inner game.. I think you will see I am living the paradox.. I do believe women appreciate and are attracted to authenticity and dislike it when they notice you are trying to be something.. but is that really true? I have no problem meeting women and opening.. i lose them, I believe when they start to get the sense that I am not really that cool..Not that macho or together..now, if you follow the article’s point of view.. i lose them because maybe I realize that I am not “all that” and I am trying to put on a show which they see through.. possibly..only thing is.. I really am comfortable with the fact that I am not all that and just let myself be exposed which turns a lot of women off. I find that we are all programmed to want to the fantasy (think advertising) looks, great bodies, or even a false sense of positive self confidence.. so which is it?

  22. dk October 16, 2009 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Oh Geez.. I write that last post and the 1st thing I see when I go back to my home page is this..”Sometimes people can gain influence by expressing uncertainty, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.” To summarize the article.. it says..
    “Participants found the restaurant review more surprising and unexpected when a novice reviewer expressed certainty, or when an expert reviewer expressed uncertainty,” the authors write. “Investigating further, we found that when the level of certainty expressed was incongruent with the source’s expertise, it increased involvement with the restaurant review.”

    “In the context of product or service reviews, being confident in your opinion does not necessarily mean that you’ll be perceived as more convincing,” the authors write. “Paradoxically, an expert or “gold star” reviewer on a website could draw more people in to his review if he was willing to be modest or admit uncertainty about his views. But for all that attention to pay off, he’d have to ensure he had good strong reasons supporting his opinion.”

    I think my point about being confused in this discussion is the last line which is..” But for all that attention to pay off, he’d have to ensure he had good strong reasons supporting his opinion.” What if my reasons are not really that endearing ?

  23. Cullen October 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    I admit my ego gives that unworthiness trash talk very often. I can lean on it and tap into aggression to give me strength. But I think I can balance out the paradox of loving yourself as you are and wanting to improve yourself.

    Consider this which machine gives you more problems….

    A Calculator….Or A computer?

    Right the Computer. WHY?

    Because the computer is more sophisticated, more complex, it has many more overlapping functions, but also more use, and more capabilities.

    Human beings are amoung the most complex things in this known world. So it is only natural that we have the most problems. But we can also do things that nothing else can.

    But I digress, The key to this whole paradox is APPRECIATION. Love yourself as you are but acknowledge that you are changing and improving.

    Be like “I am amazing the way I am, and today I’m going to get even better.” Or “Wow I’ve never done that before, I discovered a new talent.” Or if you’re having a bad day think “Well this is an oppurtunity to grow.” Or “I’ll start that over with a clean slate”

    That’s the way I see it.

  24. lars October 16, 2009 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Nice insight, very beneficial…

    This concept you are presenting is a central part of Islam as well.

    What you are talking about is called the “fitrah” in Islamic thought… it is atrem derived from the Quran and Prophetic tradition… fitrah means, roughly translated, the “inherent predisposition towards good”… Muslims believe that ever human is born not in a blank slate “tabula rasa” state, but actually hardwired towards good… only by having ones “fitrah” mutilated through the course of life do people become sick and twisted, or unhealthy you could say…

  25. Adit October 16, 2009 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    Thank you. Exactly what I was looking for.

  26. Damian October 16, 2009 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    I’m starting to see it now. Accepting leads to evolution, and the seeking of a quickfix can lead to change (for better or for worse =S). This reminds me of Richard Dawkins’ analogy of Mount Improbable. At the end of the day, you can only get to the top through slow change or “evolution”, rather than just everything happening at once in one giant leap, like quickfixes.

  27. Antonio October 17, 2009 at 4:07 am - Reply

    This was my therapist’s mantra to me, “Accept yourself , with all your faults, just as you are.” He’d repeat it over and over in response to my endless venting and intense self-analysis. He sited a famous Psychologist’s alternative doctrine (whose name escapes me), “Love your symptoms”. Meaning, I am who I am precisely BECAUSE of all the stuff that has happened (or hasn’t happened… as I tend to focus and obsess on), and all the problems that come with it. “God loves stories”, is another good one he’d say.

    Therefore LOVE it all! There is nothing to “fix”. The thing is, we are men, and we like to fix things. But regardless of gender, the pain of dissatisfaction is what motivates me to try to change for the better. So not accepting myself at the moment is an inherent obstacle. Not feeling “normal” is a source of such great sadness, and yet, I LOVE being unusual and different! If a parent emotionally abused their child with, “There’s something wrong with you!”, the child might spend his entire life trying to gain love and acceptance by “fixing what’s wrong”.

    Self-Acceptance requires loving yourself UNCONDITIONALLY, even if no one else ever has. ESPECIALLY if no one else ever has.

  28. Ian Alexander October 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Feels to me that there’s a simple correlation based around personal perspective and the results that has in our bodies and energy:
    If I go around feeling broken and like someone needing to be fixed, that creates an attitude of lack of acceptance for myself, and others pick that up.
    If I go around feeling excited and happy with myself and nonetheless eager and excited with the road of expansion and learning I am on, then others pick that up.
    From the perspective of a breathwork facilitator we are trained to see that people hold restrictions in their body as a result of previous trauma and conditioning (breath, bloodflow, muscle ease restrictions of the body that reflects old habits of being).
    So yet another perspective is that we are all perfect in potential and a lot of self-development is about removing or by-passing old patterns of negative conditioning (rather than creating anything new).
    Finally, learning is learning no matter how ‘perfect’ you are. No amount of meditating will help you to be better at Particle Physics, and going to theatrical improvisation classes will assist many people to be far better at interacting socially with confidence.

  29. Owen Marcus October 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    It does seem ironic that we work hard a being; I know I have. When I started in my early 20’s, I am now 56; I need remedial help. The simple practice of mindfulness and acceptance wasn’t getting me there. My first action was to judge myself for how little I was changing. Then I started to look around. I wasn’t the only one slowly moving forward.

    I decided to cheat. I began using things such as Rolfing and other bodywork approaches, shamanism and holistic health to breakup my tension. It began to work. Being aware and accepting became much easier.

    It does all come down to acceptance. Working to be better only makes your worse. Getting help letting go is work that will produces sustainable returns. When I was in my 20’s I wish I had someone telling this – if they were, I wasn’t listening.

  30. Fouda October 19, 2009 at 11:13 am - Reply

    I found this through the AMP newsletter. Great post i might add :D

    It was clear to me a while ago that the biggest problem i had was believing that there shouldn’t be a problem (I kinda forgot it though lol more concerned now with “fine-tuning”,if you know what i mean)

    When i stopped to label things i’m feeling or noticing about myself as “problem” or “wrong” or things that shouldn’t be there and, instead, try to understand them more

    This reflected (or vice versa) on my view of random people around me in the subway…etc as i started to see them simply as “different”…what i didn’t expect is that i would start to see myself for who i am as a result

    Self-acceptance = Acceptance of others i assume :)

  31. Chris_in_Denver October 19, 2009 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Very insightful article and comments, thank you all for your revealing introspections. I honor and respect all of the wisdom presented thus far.

    There is a catch to accepting oneself “as is” that I feel was not addressed in the article or comments… In order to accept the idea that one needs no improvement, one must also accept one’s life “as is”. All aspects of one’s life, without exceptions, exactly as they are now. This is the Buddhist concept of detachment, as I’m sure many of you already know.

    However, I don’t believe this is true for me. Instead I choose to appreciate my desire to self-improve and by its extension, change the aspects of my life to meet my imagined needs. I say “imagined needs” because, in truth I believe all needs are ultimately illusions.

    But in appreciating my role and play in the illusion of getting my needs met, I enjoy myself. In other words, if you are a self-improvement junkie, appreciate that in itself and only quit when it no longer offers you enjoyment. But to quit in the pursuit of “getting it right” continues the entrappment within the context of being broken.

    Identify your true desire and align your actions to them while retaining the understanding that in truth, it’s all just for the experience of it.

    I’m not sure how clear I just was, but I hope that it makes sense to some of you.

    “The world is perfect exactly the way it is, including my desire to change it.”-unknown

  32. Rashuad October 21, 2009 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    i knew it it all goes back to nature its a matter unlearning
    EXACTLY!!!

  33. Barry November 8, 2009 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Nelson Mandella to me says it best;

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate..our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
    It is our light not our darkness that most frigtens us.
    We ask ourselves,who am I to be brilliant,gorgeous,talented and fabulous? Actually,who are you not to be?
    You are a child of GOD.Your playing small does not serve the world.
    There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
    We were born to manifest the golry of God that is within us,it is not just for some of us it is in everyone.

    As we let our light shine we unconscienciously give other people permission to do the same.

    As we are liberated from our own fears,our presence automatically liberates others.

    No one is broken, we just are here liberating one to another!

  34. Jayson February 27, 2010 at 12:39 am - Reply

    Well said Kyle. All true and valuable comments in your example of the two people. However, it begs the question about what is genuine happiness and is that the goal? Moreover, what is that happy person doing to enrich the lives of others or increase consciousness?

  35. Jayson February 27, 2010 at 12:41 am - Reply

    Brilliant A-ron. Good stuff and congrats on busting out of the mainstream mentality! Keep me posted on your self-acceptance path.

  36. Jayson February 27, 2010 at 12:45 am - Reply

    To me it is not “what if.” Acceptance = change is what happens from my experience. Acceptance = evolution of consciousness. Until I embrace it it will not or cannot transform.

    Your examples are helpful. Yet another one is a rape victim. To them, accepting their perpetrator and what happened to them is a fat bypass. It would be ignoring and invalidating their trauma and hurt. However, the victim is a victim, but does not have to remain one. That only becomes another ego trip which perpetuates stories of brokenness.

    Thanks bro!

  37. Jayson February 27, 2010 at 12:47 am - Reply

    Right, that's why I said “if.” Sounds to me like you had good help on board. MAny conventional therapists will indeed believe they are fixing you and that if you only just changed this, then you would be so much better off. That buys into your broken, not whole.

  38. Jayson February 27, 2010 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Thanks Brett. I appreciate your personal experience of darkness. Curious how it is today a few months after you wrote this.

    Jayson

  39. Jayson February 27, 2010 at 12:49 am - Reply

    Larry. You sound very identified with your story. Is that still a truth you carry a few months after you wrote this?

  40. Jayson February 27, 2010 at 12:50 am - Reply

    Chris, that is the real question for sure. How is it today a few months after you posted this? How is your buying into the brainwashing going? Have you broken out of that yet?

  41. Jayson February 27, 2010 at 12:51 am - Reply

    Sounds like you care way too much about what women think of you.

  42. Jayson February 27, 2010 at 12:52 am - Reply

    answer your own question. once again you are looking to someone else.

  43. cabinetman April 15, 2010 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Putting it simply…You must love yourself before you can make positive changes in your life. That voice in your head, the one that may be bringing your down, needs to change. Certainly if I meditate on the positives about myself I can change that inner voice to help me make those changes and move forward in a path I deem to be more positive for my life.

    I am on the edge of figuring this out. For years I thought I was not good enough, never did enough, and while I was doing plenty the world came crashing down around me mostly by my own doing. Now I am starting to realize, with a lot of help from others, that I am a good person internally and I deserve happiness in my life. It is very much a battle as sometimes it strikes me that I dont “deserve” to be happy because of my mistakes. Guilt is a killer. Those are the voices that have to go away in order to move forward to be able to make positive life changes for me and for those around me.

    Enjoyed your site and I am looking forward to more of your insight.

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  46. David Sals October 29, 2010 at 11:22 am - Reply

    So the question then becomes, how do you sell “there is nothing to fix, you are okay just as you are” to a culture obsessed with magic fix-it solutions?

    • Jayson November 3, 2010 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      you don't sell it, you live it.

  47. Jayson November 4, 2010 at 1:27 am - Reply

    you don't sell it, you live it.

  48. Esther April 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Ahhh yes I know about this paradox! Isn’t it crazy!!! I did lots of self-help seeking too. Lots and lots and lots of hard work and trying. Who knew all I needed was love! ha! I think of it real simple. My job is to love and accept myself unconditionally and the improvement just kinda happens all on it’s own. I have noticed that to be the case with parenting too. At least that is how it has worked for me. I am just finding this blog and I am enjoying it immensely!!!

  49. Rob November 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    excellent…thanks for this. you described me, Glad I’m not the only one, except I never did the Buddhism thing, but from what little I know of it, always thought it resonated more than any other “way’…As I get older, and have always been on the personal growth band wagon, I’ve come to realize much of what motivates me, and most folks for that matter, is a desire to count and find purpose….underscored by powerful biological drives for food, sex and ego….thanks for this…Rob

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