The phrase self-work has probably come into your awareness by now – it’s actually quite a popular endeavor these days, which (provided it is done properly) can’t be a bad thing! For some, self-work conjures visions of gritty, grueling inner weeding… dredging up old sorrows and traumas, facing your demons, etc. For others, the concept might bring up notions such as positive self-improvement, career successes, and better relational capabilities.
The truth is that genuine self-work probably entails a bit of both; if anything, the first concept might be stage one, and the second, stage two. There is no rulebook on this stuff, but there must be a reason why self-work is a popular endeavor these days, right? There’s a market for it, that much is clear.
Whether you plan to invest in a heap of self-development books, follow a guru, or hike your uncharted inner terrain alone, self-work can yield very positive results in your life. Let’s take a look at how and why that is:
Most of us collect a bit of metaphorical baggage along the way. Traumas, disappointments and hard knocks are part of life for most people. From a higher perspective, these experiences are our biggest teachers and motivators… so they are not ‘bad’, per se. Yet it can take quite a few years and repeated cycles to recognize that.
Let’s use personal fears as an example of baggage. We can take life’s knocks pretty hard at times, and the resulting fear has us building protective walls around us; sometimes even forts. Self-preservation is sensible in some circumstances (hence your innate fight or flight response), but it is all about balance. Shutting people and opportunities out due to fear leads to diluted quality of life and missed experiences.
Self-work means critically analyzing the motivations behind our decisions, so we can pinpoint where and when fears developed. Shining a light on these arms you in better decision-making. For example, you might realize that no experience or person ever turns out to be exactly the same as the one that kicked off your fears, and you stop projecting negatively and stagnating.
When we decide to drop some baggage – especially in the form of fear – the need for self-preservation wanes, and we instantly open ourselves up to a whole new world of potential. In other words, facing your demons leads to freedom.
When you embark on a journey of self-work, you start to see the workings of those internal cogs more clearly. Projection onto others is a pretty standard reflex in those who haven’t done self-work; i.e. you see that which you reject in yourself in others, thus demonizing them instead.
Self-work means accepting details such as personal limitations and mistakes, but doing so with forgiveness rather than shame or resentment. It’s very easy to see the shortcomings of others, but when you work on yourself, you see similar shortcomings in yourself. It may be part of a process, but when you finally accept these things in yourself, you can much more easily accept them in others.
Consequently, your relationships improve. You become more understanding, more forgiving, and more easily able to put yourself in the shoes of another. You realize that nobody is perfect, and this is by design; we humans also reflect the duality of life, and all possibilities exist within us. We usually have the freedom to choose what manifests, and self-work serves as a guide.
During the phase of self-work in which you become more accepting of others and yourself, you also have an opportunity to see what you’re really good at. It isn’t all about dredging up seemingly unpalatable qualities and putting them through the wash. You also have the opportunity to see what you’ve done well, which positive tendencies you have, and the innate traits other people love about you.
You are more apt to recognize your own talents and utilize them without playing them down – or shutting them down! This can play out well in terms of career choices or even simply artistic expression that brings you joy, thus improving quality of life.
By developing the bravery to go after what you want and need in life, you position yourself for success. Not everything will go as you intend it to, but your gradually developing faith means you’ll pick yourself up and dust yourself off, rather than erecting another wall. Over time, you can’t help but trust yourself to not only survive but to thrive, regardless of adversities. In short: self-work leads to self-confidence.
To conclude, as previously mentioned, there is no rulebook on self-work. It is mainly a case of making a commitment to becoming the best version of yourself possible, for the benefit of yourself and the world. You don’t change the fundamentals of who you are, but you become self-honest and accountable. It’s more like a cleansing and polishing job.
To use an analogy, any untended garden is going to grow a few weeds. With a shift in perspective, some of those weeds may even be pretty, or beneficial to the ecology of the garden. However, some are a nuisance and need pulling out to make way for fragrant and colorful flowers.
Self-work is not about ‘perfecting’ oneself, as that attitude stems from self-rejection. It is about accepting what is innate, overcoming the negative impact of external influences and your inner demons, and phasing out what does not serve you.
The XOH!DNAIR website may contain links to other sites and resources provided by third parties. These links are provided for your convenience only. This includes links contained in advertisements, including banner advertisements and sponsored links. XOH!DNAIR has no control over the contents of those sites or resources, and accepts no responsibility for them or for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of them. You access such third party websites entirely at your own risk and subject to the terms and conditions of use for such websites