Self help or self esteem or any buzz word that deals with the concept of improving yourself is always something that I have recoiled from. This is mostly because I don’t like the idea of looking to the universe or deep within for motivation. This concept of “you have the power within”.
I have always liked the idea of just pushing forward, trying harder or “pulling up my bootstraps” as the saying goes.
The problem I run into often with these approaches is that I will enjoy and get comfortable in ruts and settle for less than thriving. Focusing instead on things I have done or held in for fear of expressing or sharing what I am thinking or struggling with. See, the issue is that when we don’t reach out and we keep everything in it becomes toxic. We need to constantly learn how to lean on others, to share our needs, hopes, fears, frustrations in a safe place. This makes sense to me. This shows me that it is not about “inner power” it is about “relational power” it is not about self esteem or self worth rather “communal” or “relational” worth. I recognize that there are relationships and people that will destroy that. We need to seek the community and relationships that build and do not destroy.
We know as humans we are not alone, we are not islands in and of ourselves. I have recently begun listening to podcasts and reading books that have poured into me. They have challenged conceptions I had about development and improvement in my life. The truth of the things that have been spoken however reaffirms that it is not about this idea of finding the power within. It has challenged me to see that it is about looking to others for strength, help, hope, encouragement and support. This is not simply “pulling up my bootstraps” and working harder. This is about saying honestly and vulnerably that I need help. I am not meant to be on this journey alone or to wall myself off from people and relationships. I may know this intellectually however many of us make decisions constantly that would tell us we disagree with the idea. We don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We tell ourselves that people couldn’t love us or care about us if they knew what we were thinking or how we were feeling. We don’t need to accept an identity that says we are damaged.
Allowing ourselves to fester in this never ending spiral of shame is not what we were meant for. We were meant for greater things we are meant to encourage and sharpen one another. “As iron sharpens iron, so one sharpens another” this Proverb speaks volumes about our need for one another. However, we should always remember that being around the wrong people can dull us also.
So, I hate self-improvement; I know that I need it. I know that I need to be working always to never simply remain where I am but strive for more knowing that every step is not accomplished alone. I make every step with and for those that are around me. I am not all that I should be, but I am grateful I am not what I once was either.