Let's be real. 3 reasons why 'Self Help' can be a trap

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I have spent a lot of my life as a confessed self help addict.

Since I was 17 and picked up my first self help book - Louise Hay’s; ‘Heal Your Life’ - I have had an affinity with learning about the self, the universe, and really getting deep on how to create my dream life.

Growing up I never had access to this sort of empowerment, and across my late teens and early twenties, I got a real kick off getting more connected, seeing my manifestations appear quicker than ever, experiencing greater health, better relationships, and a passion for life I didn’t know existed.

This self empowerment journey was (and still is) incredibly helpful for my evolution, however I have observed a flaw in this self empowerment obsessed industry (and that I have been guilty of too).

Firstly, there is no one size fits all.

I see this with my clients also. Each person has a unique upbringing, has a different reason to be here, a unique purpose and our own journey to experience. We come to earth with our lessons and karma to move through.

There is never going to be one magic guru that fixes us, but why would we want to give our power away to one person anyway? Without sounding cheesy, we really are our own guru. This is one of the most important truths. We should never hand our power away to anyone. Without a doubt, there will be guides who lead, inspire and expand us. I wholeheartedly believe in coaches, experts, authors and healers, who provide a framework and toolbox that allows us to remember who we are at the core. I don’t believe that there is ever any ‘quick fix’ or ‘one size fits all’ approach to creating our own version of success.

I believe that we must honour what we have learned so far on our path, observe what has worked for us, and continue to accumulate tools that inspire and motivate us. We will get to a point where we outgrow the tools that worked before, and need new ways to move forward and stay inspired. When this happens, let the tools go and lean into the discomfort of ‘not knowing’ what we need next. We are going to need different tools to expand to a new place than before, it’s important to honour this process. I have observed frustration when the tools that got us to great places before,, are not working anymore. Would you expect a 5 year old to play with the same toys that they loved when they were 3? We outgrow tools and need new challenges.

Secondly, you are never broken.

Naturally, we move towards expansion. Naturally, we crave growth. We are born to create, to ask questions, to gain clarity, to move forward. The work is never ending, we came here to evolve. The things that we ask for, will always be changing and growing as we expand beyond shadows.

The self-help industry can empower us, but should never make us feel like we need to do something in order to be fulfilled. We should never feel like without taking this ‘course;’ or thinking a certain way in order to achieve fulfilment, success, abundance, means we are not going to make it in life.

You do not have to manifest like Tony Robins. You are not a failure if you don’t live in a luxury mansion with a Maserati. You do not have to quit your corporate job in order to travel the world as an influencer, amazon reseller, or remote consultant.

Of course, if that is what lights you up - then go for it. But you are not immediately a failure for not wanting it. You can create your own version of success doing anything - do not let others define what success means for you.

Thirdly, let yourself feel.

Scream and shout if you want to. Be angry, say what you really think, and let that shit go.

Anything that makes us feel like we can’t be sad, or we have to hide the ‘negative’ emotions is not creating self expression, it is asking us to hide parts of ourself. It is asking us to pretend we are okay. Which is only creating further shadow. Labelling emotions as ‘bad’ only creates separation from our true self.

We all have shadows, we have parts of ourselves we don’t we don’t want to look at. The highs, the lows, the ugly parts are all part of our human existence. Ignoring the ‘bad’ parts doesn’t mean they don’t exist anymore, we need to embrace and love our whole selves - not part of it. When we love only part of ourselves, we can only show up as a fragment of our entire self. When we embrace our flaws and our beauty as a whole - we experience life fully.

Seeking ‘personal growth’ can become a trap to looking externally for safety, validation or happiness. Part of the process is finding love for where we are now, love for where we have been, where we are going, and everything in this moment.

We really do have everything within. We hold the answers when we let ourself listen.

Self empowerment resources are incredible, and I am a huge advocate for taking power over your own life. But don’t let self empowerment become a reason not to experience life’s quirks. We are not here to avoid pain, we must let ourself process and expand. Our imperfections make us beautiful.

Let's take our power back

Love, Olivia

5 ways to Build Self-Awareness

How do you see your world?

How do you see your world?

The term ‘self awareness’ has really been on my mind lately. It is something that I have wanted to understand on a deeper level, because I believe authenticity is becoming increasingly important in a world where we have the ability to ‘portray’ an idealistic or curated life very easily. It makes me wonder about what is going to be important in the future. ‘Pretty images’ are becoming boring, and ‘real, honest, truthful content’ is becoming what everyone is seeking to relate and connect. The beauty of this, is that we are being challenged to actually be vulnerable, let walls down, and face our own shadows.

Where this leads me to is self awareness, and how we can deeper cultivate our own sense of character, emotion and identity, in a world that is hyper ‘image’ focused, and hasn’t allowed us to feel safe in these ‘real and honest’ places before. For our own emotional health, we need to be able to really understand ourselves on this level, so we have the resilience to deal with challenging situations. If we aren’t taught how to feel strong and safe within ourselves, over time we let challenges define who we are, rather than having the capacity to deal with challenges from a place of understanding and resilience.  Self awareness is important as it expands our capacity to deal with situations, without being a victim of circumstance. We are able to take a step back from situation and see it for what it is, take the lessons and leave the rest, without the overwhelm or discomfort controlling us.

Stay with me here. ‘Self awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognise oneself as an individual separate from the environment, situation and from other individuals.’ - Merriam Webster. It is the space between the situation we see in front of us ‘stimulus’ and our response (fear or love based reaction). The space between these two places, is the observer, where we dwell in a space of choice and perspective. In this in-between space, our subconscious mind wants to automatically respond from similar past events, in order to keep us feeling safe or protected. For example, if we are at a work meeting and our presentation doesn’t get the positive feedback we were hoping for, the subconscious immediately offers a fear-based reaction, we experience this situation as ‘rejection’ and the correlating emotions are released; pain, sadness, fight or flight response. The subconscious mind related this experience to the ‘rejection’ when your Father didn’t congratulate your prize in primary school, and the same emotions were released in order to keep you small and safe – a survival mechanism that we have hardwired into us.

Learning how to cultivate and expand self awareness, gives the power back to the observer, where we can choose our reaction from a place of confidence, truth and identity rather than past subconscious conditionings.  

1.    Breathwork (Pranayama), Wim Hof or Conscious Breathing

Breath as a tool is by far the most powerful way to bring self awareness and space to the conscious mind. It is also the fastest way to gain control over the ‘monkey chatter’ and gives the power back to the observer. From creating this space we can it, notice, and over time subtleties become more prominent. Subtleties in our emotional mind and our physical, external environment. Our minds can be our best friend, and also our worst enemy. From my experience, building a connection with our mind through breath can be life changing, especially with a long term commitment. Committing to a small, regular practice is key.

Check out this 5 minute Nadi Shodana practice to balance left and right hemispheres of the brain.

2.    Meditation (Silent retreat, Guided Practice, Yoga Nidra practice)

Choose the meditation that you are most drawn to. My favourite way to connect back in after a busy day is the following; Sit in a quiet space, set timer for 10 minutes, and just notice what comes up. Don’t force thoughts out or in, just observe and let go. When you simply notice what clutter wants to be released, it lets us know what is sitting under the surface of the mind. Let the mind rinse out pressing matters, and sit and indulge with the silence when it comes. The more silence there is, the most space you are creating for self awareness.

3.    Observation, notice yourself, catch yourself before responding and notice where your mind goes

In situations that you know are challenging, for example; Family dinner with in-laws, a challenging work dynamic or a tricky friend situation. Go into it with an open mind of challenging what your subconscious reactions are. Notice if your response is from love or fear, and notice if you are choosing your reaction. Are you letting past pains direct your current engagements? Are you letting your subconscious rule your mind? Just observe, and ask what your confident, safe and happy self would respond with.

4.    Switch off, have space

Turn off everything. TV, phone, music, activities. Stop doing and talking. If possible, have complete silence from people and stimulus. Just sit in the space, be with yourself, and honour that this time is sacred. It is a form of meditation, don’t let yourself overthink or ruminate, just observe what comes up. Journal, lie in the sun, watch the rain, connect with nature. This time is a beautiful way to connect with yourself, to build self-awareness.

5.    Self worth: Notice where do you self sabotage, and where does your confidence lie? Is your subconscious mind tricking you into thinking you need to play it small?

 Often we are confident in some areas, and over compensate in areas that we feel are lacking. We don’t like people seeing our weak spots, so we build facades around that parts that are vulnerable, and pretend things are great, but it only takes a little poke to that sore spot to trigger a fear based reaction. Take time to notice where you are vulnerable. What parts of yourself are tender or lacking in love? Where do you avoid confrontation, where do you pretend things are okay? And what childhood situations are triggered? On the flipside, where are you confident? Notice how you show up in these areas too.

This leads to the next questions; ‘Ok, so if I start becoming the observer, build self awareness, and create space between the stimulus and my reaction, how do I raise my confidence? How does this lead to a greater sense of self and empowerment?

Where we dwell in consciousness, is where truly dwell. When we create mental capacity, we give ourself (the creator) the power to choose from a place of authenticity and self-worth. It allows our truth and identity to be in control, rather than our subconscious. When we combine this practice of self awareness and space, with boundaries, self care and leaning into what makes us happy, we create new neural patterns of natural confidence and expand what we are worthy of. We attract experiences from where feel truly worthy, and raise our vibration.

Would love to hear how you experience self awareness and what works for you, comment below.

Love, Olivia

Stay tuned for my next blog post: 5 Ways to Raise Self Worth.

 

3 things to remember during hard times

Sometimes our worthiness can take a bruising, and it can take some time to rebuild the trust and faith to believe we deserve the best possible outcome. Sometimes we forget that we can achieve our dreams. When we get knocked down, it is easier to think and play small, afraid that if we move boldly ahead we will get struck down again.

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