Written by: Vasundhra Gupta, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
A client recently asked me why she had to do all the “inner work”, while everyone else around her was busy living their lives, had nothing to do with personal development, and yet seemed happier than her. She was feeling frustrated about how much care she had to put into her emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. She wondered out loud whether she was weak for needing all these tools, resources, and coaching sessions.
Can you relate to that? I certainly can. And here’s what I shared with her.
When we set out on the path of self-development, it’s not that we create more problems to be solved. The journey opens up a pandora box of outdated behaviors, thought patterns, and unresolved emotions - but they were all, already there. We simply develop a heightened sense of self-awareness that helps us recognize the contents of this pandora's box and work on it.
I then asked her to take a closer look at the people she was comparing herself with.
Here’s what we learned:
Their idea of fun usually means fuelling their “guilty pleasure”, like late-night partying, having one too many drinks, or going on extravagant shopping sprees that can burn a hole in their pocket.
Their way of coping with stress usually involves blame or denial. It’s either life itself or someone else who is at fault for their stress, or they simply escape from and ignore the problem and hope it will resolve on its own. This usually involves unhealthy coping methods such as emotional eating, addictions, and so on.
Their idea of success has little to no room for rest or contentment. If anything, it usually comes with a “suck it up” attitude with highly critical self-talk, a survivalist competitive mindset, and a never-ending pursuit of the next big goal.
As much as she loves those people, she doesn’t relate to any of those things, anymore. The initial envy she had turned into the realization that none of these people’s lives were truly inspiring to her anymore. So, what this confirmed to her was that we can seem to be happy on paper, but when we look closer, a lack of self-development usually indicates stunted human potential.
In other words, when we don’t hold ourselves accountable for our thoughts, feelings, and actions, we limit our ability to live a wholesome, joyous, and expansive life.
We then explored the five following nuggets to help alleviate some of the frustration she was experiencing:
Healing and self-development work are NOT meant to feel like a chore. If you’re experiencing frustration with yourself that you’re not healing fast enough, take a pause and notice this inner critic masked as a noble advisor! Also, notice how this voice judges other people’s progress in their journeys and creates a false sense of urgency for everything to be better, quicker, and perfect.
When you keep pursuing your “next best self”, it can feel like you’re running on a hamster wheel with no end in sight. So, spend more time celebrating how far you’ve already come. Reflect on how this journey has been improving the quality of your life. This is also the perfect antidote to the aforementioned inner critic.
Tune into your nervous system and learn how much it actually needs to heal. I’ve spoken about this in length before - healing fatigue is real and you might be doing yourself more harm than good by forcing yourself to “get better”.
It’s okay to not be the bigger person every time. If you spend a lot of time having compassion for others and trying to understand them, then you might be also experiencing compassion fatigue. The purpose of self-development is acceptance, but not at the expense of our own needs. So, this may be an opportunity to reflect on how you are suppressing your needs or your voice, for the sake of being the bigger person.
Practice NOT healing. There’s a beautiful meditation taught in my spiritual community that asks us to tune into something here (call it the soul?) that accepts us for just the way we are. As we slow down and feel that neutral, observer energy, it becomes easier to see that we are not defined by our thoughts, feelings, or actions. That we are eternal, limitless beings simply here to experience the duality of life and that truthfully speaking, there’s nothing to heal because we are not broken. I’ve put together a masterclass on this metaphysical teaching which you can explore here.
It actually takes enormous courage to change anything about ourselves. We are literally going against our old neural pathways and rewriting the script. So if anything, a person on the path of personal development is very brave. I’d even dare call us trailblazers because when we heal, we also give everyone else around us permission to let go of old ways and heal with us.
So keep doing what you’re doing – you’re awesome!
Vasundhra Gupta, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Vasundhra Gupta is the founder of My Spiritual Shenanigans, a unique resource for mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. Her work as a writer & life coach has touched over half a million lives worldwide. This journey began when Vasundhra saw 11:11 on the clock and mysterious things started happening to her. Ever since, she is on a mission to help herself and others create a life full of purpose, connection, and growth.