I am a completely different person compared to who I was 2, 3, 5 years ago.
Not because my hair has changed (though it has many times), or my body (though it has), or my achievements and progression (there’s been ups and downs). It’s because my inside world has grown and taken a new shape.
Where there used to be weeds and cobwebs and darkness and screaming and dangerous swamps and pits, there are now gardens, waters, mountains, quietness, and life. Granted, there are still a LOT of cobwebs and dark corners, but I aim to get to those in time.
You see, I’ve been doing active Self-Work for nearly two years now, I’d say. Some call it soul work. Some call it spirituality, mind work, growth work, or whatever else. I just like to say Self-Work, because it’s about all areas of the Self.
Am I perfect now? No.
Do I hold all the answers to bettering your life and improving yourself? No!
But do I understand myself better now? Absolutely. Do I love myself more? Hell yeah! Do I look at things differently and treat people differently? I believe so; I actively try to now.
And this is all any of us can do: Try. Try to help yourself. Try to work hard towards a healthier, stronger, happier, freer You. Try to understand yourself and love yourself and breathe new life into your every day.
With Self-work, you are choosing yourself with conscious effort each day.
What is Self-Work
Self-work is giving yourself time to grow. Self-work is putting in the energy and effort to do a number of things:
- Know yourself
- Trust yourself
- Love yourself
- Work on yourself
The great thing – also the scary thing – about Self-work is that it is yours. It’s for you to do mostly on your own. It’s personal. It’s a tailor-made action plan for awareness, growth, acceptance, and betterment.
Simply put, Self-Work is working on the Self actively, consciously and with gentleness.
How has Self-Work helped me?
- It has helped me to better my relationships and encounters with others (instead of being moody and sticking to my strict “rightness,” I apologised to my mother for my animosity and said I valued our relationship more than proving a point; we hugged it out and moved on).
- I’m more vulnerable and open now (I’m less selective about what I “should and shouldn’t” say; I speak my truth no matter what).
- I am more aware of myself; what I do, how I speak and the negative thought cycles I get stuck in often (awareness is the first step to betterment).
- I speak to myself with more kindness, respect and understanding (I no longer bully myself relentlessly without realising it; now, if I do, I put an end to it).
- I’m more conscious of intention; I try to live with intention (instead of mindlessly doing, thinking, buying, and whatever else).
How do we do Self-Work?
Firstly, you need to be honest with yourself. What in your life needs work?
Maybe it’s your diet, sleep, exercise, career, relationships, language, skillset, or other. Make a list and always remember to never judge yourself or beat yourself up for anything. This is not about what you lack or where you have failed. It’s about what you want to invite into your life and manifest for the better.
Next, you need to go deeper (sorry!) and figure out why these things have been falling short or need work.
Maybe you are holding onto the past. Maybe you had a traumatic or difficult experience with something (or someone) long ago that you never got over. Maybe you have strong Core Beliefs about yourself or the world that are holding you back. Maybe you need to work on your Ego, perspectives, compassion, empathy, emotional intelligence, or other.
This part is harder to do, as most of us don’t know anything about the deeper issues within. Therefore, you will need to try a few things to get clear on this:
- Get Quiet: Quiet the noise of your life; silence the unhelpful people; meditate or walk or do yoga or something calming and quiet and slow-paced to be able to look within and get answers. Suddenly, thoughts and feelings become more clear.
- Journal: This is my favourite way of discovering otherwise jumbled up thoughts and reasons behind things. It’s not Dear Diary… stuff, it’s “Today I felt low and I don’t know why, but maybe it was…” The more often you do this, the easier it will be to see patterns which alert us to problem areas.
- Speak to loved ones: Sometimes other people see things in us that we don’t see. Maybe they can provide some insight into how you behave and what happened in the past etc. Ensure you speak openly and honestly with people you trust to hold your insecurities with you without judgement.
- Read up: If things pop up for you that seem like they may be problem areas, then read up. It is important to know what you’re tackling rather than running in blind. Knowing the monster is the key to defeating or imprisoning it.
From there, you will need to, as I said before, actively choose yourself. If you’re realising that you seek external validation to the point of self-loathing, unworthiness, fear, trying to fit in, people-pleasing or other, then do not look down on yourself. You’re very much not alone.
We all have problem areas or dark corners; never judge, hate, or bully yourself for your specific darkness.
Give yourself time. Practice kindness. I don’t believe that beating yourself up or telling yourself that you’re a loser for falling short is going to lead to positive results. But of course, this is your journey. Try some trial and error to find what works for you and your specific needs and growth.
Learn what’s out there to help you, but understanding it is definitely the most important step, I believe.
“How do we come to aha moments if we’re not willing to explore and ask questions?” – Brene Brown
You should know, Self-Work is on-going. This can be a bit disheartening, but I see it as liberating. It means I’ve no need to rush to meet a goal or deadline. It means my journey needn’t be compared to another’s. It is personal work that will last a lifetime because we will always change and face new challenges within and without.
As long as each day you are choosing yourself, you are half-way there.
There will be days when you need a different approach. Some days need perseverance and discipline; other days need compassion and kindness. Trust yourself to know the difference. Trust yourself to put in the work to see yourself, love yourself, and grow within.
Check out my next post, where I go deep into my own problem areas that need work.
Also, check out my video for more info…