Hello lovely ladies!
I had been a personal development junkie for decades and never once had I questioned the worthiness of pursuing self betterment. For surely without a desire to better ourselves, I reasoned, we won’t achieve our goals, be successful and enjoy happiness?! If I don’t push myself to constantly improve, I feared the natural result would be that I would regress to a lardy-arsed couch potato who watches soaps and scoffs chips all day. (Which, in fact, is just fine, if that truly makes you happy).
So what realisation has caused me to ditch self improvement for good? Well, I was doing a values exercise and my values list looked all very admirable with such glowing attributes as:
Values I move towards:
- Self Improvement
- Personal Growth
- Fun & Adventure
- Variety & Stimulation
It wasn’t until I wrote out my second list, of feelings I tend to avoid, that I noticed a startling and disturbing correlation:
Feelings I avoid or move away from:
- being controlled, powerless, trapped
- monotony, boredom, depression, lethargy, unstimulated
- rejected, unnoticed, unloved, unwanted, not enough
Nearly all of my values had not, in fact, been consciously chosen, but rather were an unconscious reaction to the feelings I had tried to avoid! My value of freedom was to avoid being controlled, my values of passion, fun and variety were to avoid feelings of monotony and boredom and my values for love, intimacy and self improvement were to avoid feelings of being rejected, unloved and not enough.
It was a powerful moment when I realised that, for me, my valuing of self improvement and personal growth was actually rooted in a lack belief of being unworthy and not enough. It was that wolf of perfectionism dressed up in the sheep’s clothing of personal development.
So I decided to write out a consciously chosen list of values that feel in harmony and alignment with my Higher Self or True Nature. At first I felt a little hesitancy in letting go of the big guns of Freedom, Passion and Personal Growth that I had become so attached to. If I don’t value these things any more will I suddenly get trapped in a boring life going nowhere? I think not! But funny isn’t it, all the sneaky ways our fears can call the shots and run our lives. The values that I have consciously chosen to express and embody are:
These feel so good! I feel so much lighter since I stopped trying to constantly improve myself. And what do you know, achievement, growth and success still happen – just a whole lot easier and more blissfully now :-).
Why don’t you try the exercise for yourself and see what it uncovers for you?
Let me know in the comments below what learnt value you’re ready to let go of and what you’d like to replace it with instead. I’d love to hear from you!