Yesterday I was talking to my therapist, Brian. I explained that while I’m proud of all of the personal work we’ve done that I still have so many things about myself that I want to improve, situations I’d like to handle with more grace, and areas of my life that I’d like to fix. He got quiet and said one of his magical phrases: “Let me give you a framework that I think will resonate with you. Working on yourself is a gift.” And that’s exactly what I needed to hear.
Most people never dig down into who they are. They stroll though life and get by, but don’t actually ever live. And I don’t blame them one bit – working on who we are and improving our character is the hardest work we can do because it forces us to see what we don’t like. And once we see it, we can’t unsee it. We actually have to do something about it. We have to change, and change is hard.
In the times when that work is most difficult, when we’re really looking at ourselves honestly to see ourselves in our entirety—the good, the bad, and the ugly—this kind of framework helps. It’s not easy nor comfortable for anyone to engage in self-improvement. But it’s worth it to see our grace grow. It’s worth it to see kindness and compassion trumping inferior actions. It’s worth it to hear the ego’s opinion and let it recede. We benefit from this work, and the world around us benefits, too. Everyone we come into contact with in any capacity is impacted by the work we do on ourselves. It’s the gift that keeps on giving to everyone. It’s a form of service. Yes, we’ve got to work for it, and with time and dedication it works for us, too.
So if you’re deep in the weeds of self-improvement and trying to figure out how to hack your way through the tangled jungle of fear, doubt, and frustration, just know that I’m right there with you. We can and will do this together.