A search for authenticity in the world of personal growth
SELF-HELP, PERSONAL GROWTH & HUMAN DEVELOPMENT FOR REAL PEOPLE
Take a quick look around the worlds of self-help, personal growth, and human development. From all the schpiels, schticks, and marketing fluff you’ll see a lot of people who seem to be crushing life, hashtagging their hearts out, living their best lives, and blissed out of their minds. All. The. Time.
As a Coach, there is pressure to fully have my shit together, 100 percent of the time, and to make damn sure the world knows it.
But I ain’t buying that, and I ain’t playing along.
To me, while those uber-positive sales pitches feel tone deaf and fall flat, their real problem is they paint an inaccurate portrait of life. Life isn’t all buckets of loveliness, even when you’ve put in the time and done the work. Every now and then, something gets tossed our way, whether it’s a flat tire, global pandemic or anything in between.
The results I’m after are not to be blissed out all the time: I’m not sure it’s realistic and attainable, and I’m not even sure I’d want that. To me, it sounds flat.
I seek Clarity and Resilience.
I want the Clarity to know what’s most important to me; and I mean the 3 or 4 things that are really, truly most important to me — not a page long grocery list of things I’m tepid about. I want clarity to know when my life and my actions are aligned to those values and when I’m moving in the right direction.
Cultivating Resilience pretty much takes care of the rest. Resiliency is the means to handle what life throws at us along the way. And not just handle it, but learn, respond, adapt, and come out stronger. Resilience is a teachable, cultivatable state of mind and body that makes us bulletproof. Life may knock us down, but resiliency is what picks us up, dusts us off, and keeps us going.
This is why clarity and resilience trumps those hashtagged images of eating fresh fruit on the beach, every time. I want to be challenged, I want growth: to create, to strive, and sometimes even struggle. It’s through these trials, grit and perseverance when life occasionally serves up Humble Pie that I learn the most about myself and about the world. Each time I’m up against a challenge or a struggle, I come out on the backside stronger and better knowing who I really am.
Perhaps more importantly still, and why I’m writing this, is I want you to know: that this is what it looks like to have a life well lived. To learn and be challenged and grow is what we’re here for. That’s the full width of human experience.
I’m writing because I hope you’ll stop beating yourself up over your struggles and trials. To know these are the things that make you human, that help you learn and grow.
The goal isn’t to magically transcend struggles, it is to learn how to live them better. To know who you are in your bones and what’s most important to you. To consciously choose which challenges are aligned with your purpose, and how to build resiliency along the way.
So yes, let’s fully enjoy the beach and the fresh mango! But let’s be honest, authentic and realistic with ourselves and each other. Let’s own the struggles alongside the triumphs. Let’s embrace the opportunity for growth that each challenge brings. Because doing that is #livingourbestlives. And it makes the sunshine and tropical fruit taste even sweeter.
Originally published on Medium.com.