I just checked back through all the notes I’ve taken in the past year about self-improvement. There are a lot. More than I realized. Most unfinished.
I listened to a shitload of podcasts and youtube videos, and read a few books dealing with self awareness, self esteem, self help, spirituality, addiction, and habit in the past year. I put my best effort into internalizing a lot of the messages pushed by each of these things and scribed as much as I thought necessary. Glancing through my notes, I can already tell I’ve had a mindset shift.
I must immediately digress; this is by no means a victory story. It feels weird, or frankly-dishonest, pushing any kind of “look at how I changed my entire life by listening to a bunch of podcasts!” narrative. However, there is a kind of ineffable truth to that message, even if its only enough for me to notice.
I have changed. Looking at my goal setting (a little of which I mentioned in the last blog), it looks…man. Just like, expectation driven? annnnd just…like…. how do I say?
Ah yes- incredibly naive.
Which is great right? That I can actually recognize this only a year later? Reading through the pages of notes, reminders, and tips- I see now I was desperately searching for an answer. Nothing was quite a home run interpretation of my exact situation. I acquired a lot of great advice, but no magic bullet. I think I recognize now, I wanted that answer so bad I was pretty much ignoring learning how to embrace my true self.
I’m not an expert yet, but I have to admit, I understand myself way better than I did a year ago. What I’ve come to realize is that your real self is a confluence of so many different factors, so many different articulations, and so many different experiences that you are actually forced to deal with reality on this level when you truly want to change yourself. There is no magic bullet. There is not any one thing any single person or idea can teach you that automatically pushes you into a new understanding of yourself. You only truly grow by internalizing things that are important to you and expounding upon in your everyday. You change yourself.
I’ve still got work to do, but I feel pretty confident I can push past things that cluttered my understanding and interpretations of things before. There is a deeper sense of clarity for sure. What is most satisfying are the realizations, even when they’re slight, that I am actively exploring self improvement and seeing results. It really boils down to a mindset shift- you are worth it, don’t be lazy, use your gifts, you are talented, you are smart, you are unlike anyone else in the world…
I cap this off with a quote from a beautiful book called Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (a read I highly recommend if you’re feeling this post right now. Also it was written over 2,000 years ago. Totally mind blowing how topical it remains. Plus! its literally like, $1 on Amazon!!):
“Such are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts. Dye it then with a continuous series of such thoughts as these: for instance, that where a man can live, there he can live well. If he must live in a shack, then he can also live well in a shack. And again, consider that for whatever purpose each thing has been constituted, for this it has been constituted, and toward this it is carried; and its end is in that toward which it is carried; and where the end is, there also is the advantage and the good of each thing.” –Book V, no.16, pg. 32-33