The Danger on Focusing on Yourself (I Rarely Hear About)

 
Half-Moon Bay, California, U.S.A

Half-Moon Bay, California, U.S.A

Working on yourself is a great thing, but when focusing on the ‘I,’ ‘Me,’ and ‘Mine,’ don’t forget about the people around. Remember to continue to love, care, and set time for others too, especially with friends and loved ones.

It is a hard pill to swallow when my imperfections are highlighted. It’s normal to go into self-denial and maybe even anger or feel insulted when someone feeds me a dose of truth about myself that I don’t like to hear. It’s hard to sit still and take it in, especially if I am in the mindset of the victim and in the mindset of being attacked. Naturally, if any living thing feels like they’re being attacked or threatened, our innate instinct is to protect ourselves; even plants have immune systems to protect against pathogens and bacteria. It is in our instinct to protect ourselves in the way we see fit.

Here’s where my hard truth hit me. If I take the time to consider the perspective of the other person, if I take the time to see things through another’s circumstance and place myself in their shoes, then I will realize and empathize with the truth of their circumstance and how they are experiencing things. Coming out of denial is an incredibly hard but humbling task, especially when leaving denial meant facing my ugly truth and admitting I was wrong.

In my experience, it is important to realize where these truths are coming from. If it’s said by a negative person or an enemy of some sort, there’s probably little truth to what they are saying. But, in my case, when I paid attention to the source of my truths, these truths were said by those who love me most. Accepting these truths was my wake up call.

In my precision and focus to find happiness in myself, to improve myself and my life, I had completely lost myself in the ‘I,’ the ‘My’ and my world of ‘Me.’ I neglected to take notice of everyone else around me. I didn’t even considered what their experience was like on the other side. It was about what I want, how I’m feeling, how I’m doing, and nothing about what they want, how they're feeling, and how they're doing. There is a level of danger in magnifying the self and here is my reminder to myself.

Everyone has problems of some kind or another, everyone has a world of considerations, thoughts, emotions, plenty of experience, suffering, and unexpected turns thrown at them, so don’t think for once that I am the only one going through something because I am not. Especially when going through something with others, remember to look up, look around, and consider what other people are going through or what they are experiencing because maybe listening to what others are going through and finding the shared experience in whatever it is I am dealing with is where happiness in myself, happiness in relationships, and happiness in this world is found.

 

 

Life Is Full of Imperfections

 
Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Living in a world where we are bombarded with messages, visuals, and the demands for perfection, it is easy to forget that nothing in this world is actually perfect and that all things are imperfect in one way or another. If we observe the world truthfully, we will see that reality is far from perfection and that the world is inhabited by imperfection.

If life was perfect, change becomes unnecessary. If life was perfect, there will be no reason to grow, learn, or improve. What is even perfection if in absence of that which is imperfect?

Life is imperfect for a reason. Imperfection rewards me with the space to continue to strive for better. Imperfection leaves me room for change, to better myself and my situation. Life is not static.  

In the acknowledgement and acceptance of imperfection, what I am left with is a decision about how to interact with the imperfection. If my imperfections take form in a mistake, then what are the steps I take now in realizing my imperfections.

What's important in life; which I seem to lose sight of, especially in troubling times, in the face of challenges, or when encountering pain, is accepting the reality of the imperfect world we live in. Imperfection is what makes me human and it is what makes the world unique. Mistakes are part of the standards of imperfection. Mistakes is what can catalyze positive change. Mistakes is what can help me accomplish my mission towards the best version of myself. 

Whether mistakes were made, whether wrongs happened, whatever my past holds, there’s no way to change what has happened. Imperfection is a reality to embrace, as perfection in this world is impossible. Even with the conflicting messaging culture and society glorifies, being a perfect human all the time in all situations is an impossible task. The good news is there’s a lifetime of opportunities to improve from the wrongs of the past.

 

What Self Work Is Like

 
Aboard Le Pirate Explorer somewhere in Komodo Islands, Indonesia

Aboard Le Pirate Explorer somewhere in Komodo Islands, Indonesia

Self work (or working on yourself) is easier said than done but to me it is about making a conscious commitment to myself, to devote my energies to my well-being, and to strive towards a goal to develop myself in the best way possible. I believe self-work takes a level of isolation as I am the only person in this world who is truly in touch with my own self and if my goal is to arrive at the best version of myself, most of the work I do for this journey should be done alone.

I aim to get to know myself as much as I can so that how I value myself, how I see myself, and how I think about myself is not dependent on other people. The extreme is where I am completely confident in myself and are so sure of who I am, that no one and nothing can change how I see myself; but of course this is an unhealthy extreme if attained. The people around me, my ever changing circumstances, and my ever evolving life should make different impacts along the way, whether positive or negative. My main objective here is to remember to look inwards amongst the commotion in order to have the space to develop myself authentically as an individual.

My aim is to get to a level of certainty and confidence in my own self, to a point where I know what is right and what is wrong devoid of the people and circumstances around me. What I want is to be able to stay true to who I am as an individual despite what the world throws at me. I liken this goal to an immovable water buoy, I may sway with the currents and be changed by the winds but no matter how turbulent or strong they pass through, my core values, vision, and self remains.

I don’t believe there’s a way to short change this, if I want to know myself, I must know who I am when I am alone. I must understand what drives me, what discourages me, what distracts me, what brings me a sense of adventure, or as simple as what do I want to do in my spare time. Sure, I can learn a whole lot from friendships and relationships by understanding how I am in the context of others, but I see these learnings from others as indicators not as what defines who I am.

What I think is paramount is to first understand myself without the disruption of the needs, wants, and desires of others. Only then can I give back in a healthy way into my friendships and relationships, which are crucial to our very human need for social connections.