Can you tickle yourself and make yourself laugh? No... Can you know yourself from within yourself? No. Can you describe who you really are from the ever drifting definition of who you need to be and want to be? No. This is the reason we must reach outside of ourselves in order to truly know ourselves.
Self #1. The reason self help fails is that there is no real self to help.
I spent the first 20 years of my personal development career creating new costumes to wear. I started off wearing the "sporty" costume and then went to the "entrepreneur" costume. Then I wore the "gee I'm a great dad" costume and then "hey, I'm invincible" costume. I then put on the "Look at me I drive a Porsche and have a millionaire lifestyle" But, eventually, all those costumes fell off. Life just wouldn't let me get comfortable in any of them. Divorces and health problems, business challenges and financial struggles stripped those costumes of fake self help off me. So, I went the opposite direction and created the just as fraudulent, "Hey, I'm spiritual costume." A mask of wellbeing, peaceful repose and "supported by the universe" idea that if I sat on my bum and meditated for it, then it would automatically happen like a miracle to a person who was so spiritual that they deserved special concessions from the creator. Well, that costume caught fire and burnt me too.
Self #2 Nobody Does to You More Than You Do to Yourself.
I can't apologise for it, but I've hurt allot of people along that first 20 year journey of my self help life. Personal development can be a selfish path where there's a belief that if I hurt people, they'd learn from it. But somewhere deep inside that rhetoric doesn't sit well with me. I hurt people and gave it to the universe but I held onto that string and felt awful in my heart of hearts. I realised that my heart doesn't follow the laws of the universe, it follows a different drum beat, one of kindness, compassion, love and thankfulness. My heart is a human heart. It feels, it cries, it loves and it wants to do right. This heart humanises me. It is in conflict with the universal laws. In the universal laws, life and death are one, but in my heart they are not. So there is a negotiated peace between the two. I try to do the right thing, my intention is always from my heart, so if there is a pain I cause, I know it is the universe, not me, at the cause of it. Nobody does to you more than you do to yourself and so, sometimes what we blame another person for causing, such as pain, is not them, it is nature, creation acting through them. To know yourself - you must know God. To know God without organised religion as a go between, you must understand the universe, or a molecule.
Self #3 You Are the Environment You Create.
I sat in an beautiful office 25 years ago surrounded by the sounds of steel being hammered and welded, proud of the building that housed my great company, concentrating on designing my next work of art in the field of Environmental Protection. My business was saving communities, whole cities from the pollution that spewed from all the worst airborne sources, Aluminium smelters, coal fired power stations, cement plants, lead smelters and worse, tea factories (carcinogenic dust from tea). Aside from this grand story, my wife hated me, my kids were confused, my business partner didn't trust me and the factory floor wouldn't respond to my requests. Suppliers hated dealing with me and as I raced my cars, competitors would do all they could to smash me. I gave up my heart and soul, to create a goal. I loved the life, hated the rejection. A complex dilemma. I certainly would not have traded the two. But what I wanted was both. A way to achieve and be in my heart. It took me $35 million, 15 years and many untold failures to realise, "I am the environment I create." If I can't see love in the eyes of another human being, I cannot love at all. If I cause others to lose hope, forget their dreams, forgo their visions, then I have done bad and I will feel it. Knowing yourself is not about yourself. There is no "self" there is only other. And how you measure your "self" is by the environment you create for other. You are the environment you create.
Self #4 You are Everything - including Nothing
There are seven areas of life. Nothing is ever missing just changes in form. You are therefore everything. You have nothing missing in your life, nothing to feel sorry about, sorry for. Your health may not be what you want but you have your health in a different form, maybe healthy heart, maybe your body is healthy in parts, maybe your love is healthy, or your job. Nothing can be missing and with that realisation, which often takes a few weeks to sink in, then there is no self to help, it's fine. It's this shift that wakes you to a new insight, the poverty of independence. You are not you alone, you are connected. What you repress as unlovable or corrupt, your friends, family or partner will express. You don't feel good enough and hold back, and suddenly your partner or kids jump in life. If you individualise you will think "I must catch up" but if you open up and truly know yourself, you are everything and everyone, and their success is yours too. Pain in Africa is your pain, joy and suffering at the Olympics is yours. We are interconnected, and if you cause the wrong thing to others, you cause it to yourself. If you do the right thing to others you are doing the right thing to yourself. There is no "I". And yet, for success, identity is essential, we must be branded, project an image in which we feel discomfort. To do the right thing we must often make the sacrifice of comfort and put in its place the work required to do the right thing: to express our inborn talents, to make a difference in the world which may, from time to time necessitate a bit of tough love to those who would prefer we do the wrong thing and value their values over our own.
The day you can rest and know there is nothing to change in yourself but there is an opportunity to do the right thing by others by defining yourself as the environment you create, you will develop all the greatest of your skills and assets to express yourself in the best possible ways.
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