When is it time to give up self-improvement? ‘Evolve or improve?’ is a worthwhile question on the path of love and freedom. Could our desire to learn and improve be a major obstacle? Lean into your edge where improvement stops and evolution begins.
Improvement is something we do when learning a skill. As part of human growth we get better at things when we learn and practice. So, it would make sense that if we apply this to our own personal growth it will work out the same. We believe that self-improvement will bring self-mastery, enlightenment or relief from emotional pain.
We explore spiritual paths, workshops, psychology, energy work, embodied practices etc. And yes we do gain awareness, open our hearts, take risks, expand our bliss and creativity. It does work, up to a point….
“I’ll be freer, richer, happier, more popular, sexier”
Then we may start to be aware of a self-improving ‘identity’ that is trying to improve because deep down we don’t accept the way we are. If only I can be more aware I’ll be freer, richer, happier, more popular, sexier, more attractive to others…. Or we want to improve because we are fundamentally afraid of just being. This identity can produce a lot of stressful busyness, yo-yo dieting, excessive fitness routines, prolonged relationship talks or serious pushing into spiritual advancement. It generally takes different forms for masculine and feminine essence. He will self-improve to be more successful, aware, confident. She will self-improve to be more loveable.
In relationships, you may find yourself constantly needing to improve the relationship, or your partner. They can do better, be their best selves, be more masculine or more feminine etc. And while that may be true, pushing for this entrenches resistance and blocks evolution into higher states of love and freedom.
Yes, ironically, the desire to self-improve, which does produce some good results, for a time, eventually gets in the way of evolving into a phase of acceptance and allowing. Where we are not so interested in improving the self, but rather on opening enough pathways to allow the natural evolution of love and freedom to flow through us. To experience a motivation that is more focused on the other(s) than on the self.
Recently in a workshop I was talking about this, and in answering a question I said “It takes a lot of self-improvement to let go of self-improvement.” And that’s the truth of it. If we let go of improvement too soon we don’t crystallise ourselves enough, we are undeveloped and unaware. If we wait too long it becomes a limiting identity that rushes around with an urgency that is coming from fear rather than love.
Once we have crystallised the self, then we can surrender into being love and being freedom. Otherwise it’s like a marshmallow surrendering – not much impact.
“We move into a let-go, trusting our intuition”
Does this mean we then degenerate into slothful creatures devoid of passion and self-inquiry, with no desire to grow, transform or learn? No, it means getting out of our own way so we can naturally evolve rather than being pushed from behind by an unconscious energy. Without the stress and tension of a self-improving identity we move into a let-go, trusting our intuition and natural rhythm. Going where we need to go in order to evolve, with self-acceptance and humility.
From that place we may ‘know’ less, but we have deeper ‘knowing’. Our authentic gifts become apparent and can be utilised by others. The barrier of self-improvement drops away as we accept ourselves just as we are, while being open to transformation. One that is not fear based but love based. We can be less busy and more confident. Less strain, and more depth. In love with life and beingness.
Do you recognise any of this in your life and relationships? If you suspect you may be over-doing this self-improvement energy in your life, take a moment to relax and imagine you are absolutely perfect just as you are. Imagine connecting intimately with others from that place. Imagine the ease and flow and depth that could occur. Imagine the spirituality and sacredness that is right there, right here, right now. Beyond self-improvement, beyond the self, and yet fully in the self.
With love and appreciation,