In my time studying self-development the 10 years, roughly, I’ve learned a few things that I wish I had known when I was a teen-ager. If I had known then what I know now, my life would have been a lot different or at least more productive.
I don’t have to start over each time
When I made a mistake in the past, I interpreted, or rather misinterpreted that I was “bad” “undeserving”, and it meant I had to start over from scratch. Each time. No matter what. That’s a complete fallacy. I don’t have to start over; I can start from where I am. Where I made the mistake. It’s not being “a bad girl/woman”, but I just made a mistake. Nothing more to it than that. I shouldn’t have to punish myself and start all over again. That’s not realistic, and I don’t think anyone should be required to do that.
So where did this belief come from? It wasn’t from my family. It was from shame, embarrassment, humiliating myself. It wasn’t cognitive, but I think that I felt that if I could have done it all over again, I’d do it differently, and there it was. I have to do it all again.
Our culture is a shame-based one. We are taught that we are “nothing but sinners, the scum of the Earth.” What does that treat a child, let alone someone who was sensitive? To someone who became, over time her worst critic, her own worst enemy. We are ashamed of everything, body-modesty, making mistakes, seeing it as failing.
I’m OK as I am
This does not mean that there isn’t room for improvement. Quite the opposite, but to start out with, as a baseline. I’m OK. Maybe not great, but OK. I don’t have to hit a home run every time I do something, but I’m not garbage. I just had to step back for a better perspective on life. I know that someday, I will have improved to be even more OK with who I am. Am I perfect? No. But that’s why I’m here on this Earth; to learn so that I can evolve mentally, emotionally and spiritually. That I can move on to the next “grade” or level of this “school”.
It’s OK to want a better life
I was taught by example not to want anything, or that I shouldn’t want all the creature comforts that come so easily to other people. My folks called that kind of daydreaming “fantasizing”. I can want a better house, not to have to worry about where the money was going to come from the next financial emergency. I want larger, better than what I have now. And the world doesn’t end somehow.
It’s not about modesty, I think. I think people are just taught by their parents that God/The Creator will give you what you need, not what you want, and to “want” something is presuming to know what’s better for you. But who knows better than us what is best? Yes, God knows what’s best, that Being doesn’t always tell us, or when it’s coming, And in my experience, if we go without, we can end up coveting what others in our family have, what our neighbors have that we don’t and that’s not healthy either.
No, we shouldn’t obsess over it, but to daydream occasionally what we’d like our life to be like and look like is OK. God’s not going to punish us for wanting things. In fact, this being may put it in our heads is “How do you plan to go about getting it.?” And we are taken on the next step. In my case, I can get more inspired to see if there’s a way to save the money, not the easiest thing for me to do. In fact, it’s hard. I can be inspired to live a better life and be more proactive about my present so my future can be better.
It’s when I see things I want, but see it out of context, out of balance that I get into trouble. It’s when I think constantly of what I don’t have so I appreciate what I do have that gets me all tied up in knots. That gets me envious, not grateful or seeing the blessings of what I do have.
In conclusion, because I’ve learned these lessons from self-development, what can I learn going forward? It certainly makes me want to find other gems. If I can have a better mindset, then I can be more ready to see what else I can learn.