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June 10, 2024

Why Self-Creation is Life’s Best Kept Secret.

 

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“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” ~ Carl Jung

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While I resonate with Jung’s quote, throughout my life, I’ve landed on something even more terrifying: the notion we must “find ourselves.”

My experience with such guidance stems from personal development work; honestly, the concept always baffled me. What exactly am I finding?

As someone who is now closer to 40 years old than 30 (eek! How did that happen?!), I often draw on the analogy I heard in the finale of “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.” Buffy states, “I’m cookie dough. I’m not done baking. I’m not finished becoming whoever the hell it is I’m gonna turn out to be.”

I’m with Buffy: I am not done baking, and I doubt I ever will be. I no longer resonate with the concept of “finding myself” as this feels like a passive approach that often leaves me feeling stagnant and confined by what reality has become.

As I’ve engaged with mentors who feel streets ahead of me, I have realised the opportunity to create ourselves is priceless. Few people talk about self-creation, but consider the empowerment of shaping your identity and having an active say in your destiny (which most of us reading this have). This way of moving through the world feels far more empowering to me personally. (I suspect Michelle Obama would say this is the process of “Becoming.”)

Life is an unravelling

In many ways, self-development is a process of unravelling and unlearning, peeling away all the layers until we reach our core. We’re born into the world; if we’re lucky, we have caregivers who attempt to meet our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs to the best of their ability. Most caregivers do the best they can, but as we all know, life happens. Few people emerge from childhood and the teenage years without “stuff” to work through.

When turning away is no longer an option

If you’re anything like me, you spent years ignoring and turning away from the past until turning away was no longer an option. For whatever reason, when I turned 30, my mind, body, and spirit forced me to stop going through the motions and revisit all of my life’s chapters up to that point. From memory, the signs were subtle at first. I’d hear tiny whispers such as, “Sometimes you have to look backwards to move forward.” When I ignored the whispers, the Universe ramped things up, and I vividly recall waking up in the middle of the night on several occasions, sweating and with a “knowing” that ignoring the signs was no longer an option.

The essence of life is about creating ourselves

As I continue to engage in more inner work, I am mostly replacing beliefs and ways of thinking that no longer serve me. I feel great pride in knowing that people who knew me 10 years ago know nothing about me now. Life is all about evolving, changing, and having the guts to pursue what once would never have even entered our realm of possibility. So, how can we start from a place that elicits just the right amount of fear and excitement but not so much that we feel completely overwhelmed? The following approaches have helped me greatly.

1. Control what you can and let go of everything else

I am a control freak. However, when you think long and hard, most things in life are outside your control. “Good” things happen all the time; “bad” things happen all the time. It’s a shocking realisation, but the most important things in life are largely outside our control. While it can be easier said than done, I do my best to focus on what is within my power and let go of anything that isn’t. I’ve found anxiety to be a massive block at times on this journey, and while it’s incredibly tiring and can be all-consuming, anxiety ultimately achieves nothing.

2. Think big and go bigger again

Many people don’t think big enough, and there are many reasons for this. When we tend to be on the more introverted and reserved side, we often try to “logic check” ourselves with thoughts like, Who am I to [enter the blank]? Well, who are you not to? The concept of thinking bigger applies to every aspect of our lives. Before embarking on anything meaningful, I find doing an audit of my life incredibly helpful. Some good starting points to consider:

>> Your environment (where you live, who you spend time with, what you are taking in regularly, and so on)

>> The tiny moments of daily self-betrayal most of us engage in (a simple example most people will relate to is aiming to go for a walk and putting it off for so long that the day eventually becomes done and dusted)

>> The constants in your life that are consistently energising and draining you

3. Seek to create a life based on your own deepest desires

Most of us simmer in a societal soup that feeds us what a “good life” looks like. Typical examples include many friends, a partner, children, and whatever the latest fads are from a materialistic perspective. None of these things are “good” or “bad,” however, not all are for everyone. Something I do weekly is strip back the noise in my life and, through journaling, actively consider what would make my life better, and nothing is off limits. When we don’t have a solid grasp on the life we want to create, we tend to pour our energies into creating the life we think we “should” be pursuing.

The secret to a fulfilling and meaningful life lies in the continuous process of self-creation. If you find yourself reading this in a state of overwhelm and confusion, perhaps this is all that is ever really needed: When your heart is your compass, you cannot ever be lost.

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