For years, I tried to improve myself. I read hundreds of self-help books and put some of the advice into practice. I felt that I had improved myself to a certain extent but I was still falling short. I continued to struggle with many issues and felt unworthy and inferior to other people.
Then, I read a book called The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice, in which the author Deborah Adele said she often met people who couldn’t see what beautiful human beings they already were…people who said they needed to improve themselves yet couldn’t see that they were complete already.
This resonated deeply with me because I recognized myself as one of those people who believe they are imperfect and are constantly trying to change themselves.
Imagine You are Complete Just as You Are
At the end of the chapter, there is a task that asks you to imagine that you are complete just as you are.
You don’t have to be anything more than you already are or do anything more than you already do. You don’t have to put yourself under pressure. You just let that feeling of completeness rule your life.
I decided to give it a go. It was very liberating.
I realized I didn’t need to act in a certain way to give the impression that I was a certain type of person (which deep down I wasn’t). I just needed to be myself.
I realized I needed to stop feeling guilty for doing things that I wanted to do for myself. For example, spending a little money on myself when my budget was very tight.
I realized just how hard I’d been on myself for many years. Just how strongly I’d criticized myself. How much I’d judged myself. Why had I been so tough on myself? I didn’t need to do this anymore.
This was the start of loving myself and accepting myself just as I am.
Liberating Your True Self
Perhaps we’re all free to be the person we were meant to be, but we just don’t see it. We build a cage of negative thoughts around our true selves.
Other people make this cage bigger by adding their negative comments about us and, as we take them to heart, the cage gets larger and our true self gets lost behind all that negativity.
So, we need to pull away that negativity piece by piece to reveal our true selves. It‘s an ongoing process. I’m still learning and practicing every day.
Some days, I get it right and am free to be myself. Other days, I get it horribly wrong and feel the weight of negativity pulling me down.
I now know how important it is to understand that I am complete in myself. I don’t need to change myself fundamentally, but I do need to live a life that is in alignment with my true self.