The Illogical Pursuit Of Self-Help
The world of self-help – whether you are attempting to be more productive, reduce stress, overcome anxiety, lose weight, make more money, accomplish goals, fix bad habits, be healthier, etc. – can be boiled down to one overarching goal:
We want to feel better. We want to feel OK at our most fundamental level. This is the promise of self-help.
Life is full of ups and downs. Beautiful and challenging experiences. From this conditioning, it makes sense that finding a consistent way to feel better will give us a consistently better experience.
Note the first conditioned belief: that it is necessary to have better feelings in order to have a better experience.
And the second: that the only way to find these better feelings is to change ourselves – or those around us.
From the conditioned logic of self-help it makes sense to focus on changing our feelings, thoughts, bodies, or environment. We find techniques to practice, coping skills to learn, or immerse ourselves in deep spiritual philosophies.
None of this is wrong. In fact much of it can be quite useful.
Yet it is important – critical actually – to realize that there isn’t a strategy, technique, or practice out there that addresses the fundamental flaw that these self-help approaches are based upon.
See the Illogic
If you continue to operate from this conditioning you could easily spend a lifetime chasing down new goals, greater productivity, more money, better habits, more positive thinking, a healthier body, your ideal mate, etc. in an attempt to find better feelings – to feel OK.
Circumstances, thoughts, feelings, bodies, productivity, money, relationships – everything is in constant motion. Up and down.
So if these have to be a certain way for you to feel OK – it makes a lot of sense you’re your feeling of OKness would shift with the ups and downs of your experience.
Given what we’ve been taught, the only thing we know to do is to set our sights on the next goal to accomplish, habit to fix, practice to perfect, person to change, attitude to master, thought to reframe, etc. in order to find consistently better feelings.
It’s an endless cycle. Culturally we’ve conditioned ourselves to chase a moving target that can’t be reached.
Let’s be clear. You can’t get enough done, you can’t lose enough weight, you can’t break enough habits, you can’t fix yourself or others to the point where you always feel OK.
If it worked that way it would actually work that way. It doesn’t.
There is no logic in pursuing better feelings. There is no logic in attempting to control what can’t be controlled.
Recognizing this conditioning begins to unravel its grip on your experience.
You start to catch on to the basic assumptions, beliefs, ideas that you have been operating from that were previously invisible to you.
Without the need to change anything. you start to see greater possibilities for who you are and what you experience.
You stop pushing so hard to make things happen and start noticing when they already do.
You get more done in deeper alignment with who you fundamentally are.
A greater sense of well-being – regardless of how you are feeling in the moment – begins to pervade your experience.
Let’s be clear.
None of this you have to do.
You can’t shift perspective. Shifts arrive. They occur.
Just like you can’t run thoughts and feelings. They arrive.
And you certainly can’t run awareness. It IS.
See the Logic
Who are you beyond feelings?
Who is actually feeling the feelings?
There is more to you than your experience.
There is more to you than thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
There is that which contains all.
Consider the weather.
Rain. Sun. Clouds. Storms. Snow. Wind.
They move ceaselessly through the sky.
Yet the sky remains untouched. The sky is always OK.
The sky is an inseparable container of the experience.
In the same vein – your experience of thought and feeling are like the weather.
Yet your fundamental nature – who you are beyond thought and feeling remains untouched. Just like the sky.
The weather of life can’t impact your fundamental self.
We only think it can.
From here it doesn’t make logical sense to spend time and energy attempting to change the weather when we know it’s changing in every moment on its own. By design.
The same is true for you.
The weather and your fundamental nature aren’t two separate experiences – it’s all unfolding together.
Just like you can’t separate the weather from the sky. It’s inseparable.
The you isn’t separate either.
You are the container in which all experience occurs.
This isn’t a place to get to.
It is who you already are.
I’m not offering this logic as a way to bypass, ignore, or avoid the challenges, problems, or circumstances that need to change.
I get there is life to be lived and that includes a host of things to deal with, figure out, make happen, etc.
What it is on offer is the amount of time and energy that would be available to you if it no longer looked necessary to manage the “weather” of your experience.
What would be possible if you could feel what you felt without the need to change it? Or even without the need to change that you wanted to change it?
When you don’t need to spend so much time navigating thought and feeling – making it different, fixing yourself, you end up more often in the present moment listening to the unfolding rather than attempting to direct it.
From here the obvious next step shows up.
This obvious next step might be to make dinner, create a plan, or call a friend. It could show up as a perfectly-designed-for-you “self-help” strategy, technique, or practice.
No matter what arises, listening to this unfolding offers an entirely different experience of whatever it is you are doing. Rather than pursuing “self-help” – or life for that matter – as a way to get somewhere better, it becomes far more useful to see you are already there.
The possibilities that are created from this recognition are endless.
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