In the recent years I’ve noticed a huge rise in popularity when it comes to boosting self esteem, coaching for growth, motivational speakers and whatever gets you out of the rut and into being ‘positive’.
I’ve also noticed is that positive thinking is just a temporary solution.
Making yourself feel better by focusing on the good things in life works, I’m not denying it. But it only works for a period of time. It’s like a bandaid put on an open wound. It can help temporarily stop the bleeding but without the stitches the wound will eventually open up again. And you most likely risk getting an infection and ending up with nasty scar.
There are layers and layers of your thoughts and emotions, and emotions and thoughts. And many experiences in between those layers that were driven by your thoughts and your emotions. Experiences and situations re-affirming that one belief hidden somewhere deep in the darkness of your ego. Changing a negative thought floating on the top of this haystack into a positive thought through affirmations, visualizations or other, otherwise helpful, tools will not make much of a difference in the long run.
Just a bandaid. With a virus lurking from underneath it.
The phase of unlearning untrue beliefs, boosting your confidence and making yourself grow as a person is necessary. Only then, when you think you know who you are and that you’ve reached what would make you happy, you can realize that it’s not what you’ve been looking for.
You have to dig into the layers that you so carefully put together. Dig in and search for the thought behind the thoughts, that some call ‘a core belief’. I think there is something even deeper behind it. Some kind of suffering of your Soul, a longing for something that once got lost, something that made this life make sense.
There is a place within each of us that we must reach at some point during this everlasting journey through lives. Go past the fears, and pain, and sadness. Past the thoughts, emotions and beliefs. Go through all of our layers and reach deeper than we’ve ever imagined possible. Into the cave that’s hiding the essence of our suffering. We have to. It’s inevitable.
On the road to self-discovery you go through years of therapy, counseling and inner work, uncovering layers after layers, releasing one trauma after the next. And when you think you’ve dealt with them all, the biggest test comes – the test, which, when passed, will allow you to be in that good, positive place without effort. Because this blissful state of inner peace is what we long for so deep inside. And it’s the ultimate reward.
The test will be different for each of us. But in a way, very similar. It may be a time when you lose everything that you worked for in a material world. Or you get really sick. Or abandoned. Or maybe your goals and dreams get ‘taken away from you’, once again.
For so many years you’ve worked hard on your beliefs, self-esteem, assertiveness, staying positive, and you thought that you’ve finally reached a place of peace and content. But no – all hell breaks loose and the skies tremble on top of you once more. At this point you start to question whether all that effort was worth it. Did it make any difference at all? If it did, then why can’t you just live in peace? You start losing faith in all that you did and worked for.
And that is your test. In this lowest of all low moments, you ask yourself: what have you been really doing so far? What did all that inner work give you? Was it peace and happiness? Or was it control?
Self-development taught you how to control yourself and, partially, your environment. How to control your emotions, choose your thoughts, expect recognition for your achievements and rewards for your good deeds. You learned to appreciate yourself for what you’ve accomplished. You added reasons to why you deserve things and why you should love yourself. But those are just words, concepts. Do you honestly value and love yourself? Or do you just repeat affirmations without believing in them? Would you value yourself without all your achievements and material objects you’ve accumulated?
Work. Achievement. Control.
Life became all about doing things, that would justify your right to exist. You talk yourself into believing that your life is good, because you’ve done so much inner work, you’ve read so many books, attended numerous therapy sessions, workshops and seminars. You’ve worked so hard on becoming this positive, happy person. Are you really happy? Or are you just a really good liar?
Deep down you know that you cannot reach the inner nirvana by holding onto things. And I don’t mean only material things. You are attached to a concept of yourself that you have created based on the illusions of the system that you live in. Based on what you’ve come to believe is good and bad, and what you should be like to be happy. You’ve accumulated skills, characteristics and ideas about yourself that add up to an image of who you are. But the image is not you. It is only another illusion.
True inner happiness can not be attained by learning to control. The only way is to let go of all that you’ve created and allow your true self to emerge.
Let go of the ideas you have about yourself. When you take off your clothes and stand naked to face the Universe : who are you?
Feel yourself. Feel your Soul. Allow it to tell you what it wants. Stop thinking and start feeling. And allow the life to happen.
Let go of the need to control your life and life will bring you all that your Soul needs to be happy. And you will walk your path with peace in your heart and smile on your face. Isn’t that what it was all about from the start?