Why is personal development not working for me?

I’ve been reading personal development ever since I could read. Ok, maybe a few years after that, but I always loved books and movies that would promise a possibility of a different life through inner change. I am still in love with the possibilities personal development opens us to if we are willing (or perhaps a better word would be eager) to look at the ways in which we can change ourselves, and thus change our lives.

I can’t tell you how many personal development programs I’ve purchased and done online. How many counselors/coaches/therapists I’ve shuffled through. How many books I’ve read and reread, really wanting to improve and up my game so that I could better serve the world (ambitious perhaps, but not delusional!). And throughout the whole journey, no matter where I’ve come to, there is the possibility that I arrive at a time and space where I find myself thinking:

Why is personal development not working for me?

I know in my last blogpost I shared that I really achieved a very pure clarity that allowed me to see everything in my life the way it truly was and not as the illusions that made me suffer. And I also said this:

These systems started to work when I applied them in a certain way.

This quote of “a certain way” comes from The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles. I realized that was what happened as I was writing about what I was doing, and thinking about how it hasn’t really been that way since that experience (as I share on this blogpost, I never seem to get things to work out for me). That certain way I guess could be described as “connecting with my soul,” as my previous blogpost was talking about, but that can be seen as airy fairy and really, what does that even mean if you don’t even believe we have a soul, or don’t know what that means?

Well recently I’ve been humbly inspired to another piece of this “certain way” business that really caught my attention. It came from listening to a couple of interviews and rereading the book of Anita Moorjani, Dying to be Me (which to me is a must read!).

Here’s the idea. Personal development is basically “promising” us that we will live a “happier” (or “more successful” or “more fulfilled”) life as a result of doing what they suggest. While a lot of this information is truly fantastic (and true, and very actionable and real), there is a big pitfall in such a promise. That is that we literally, actually, reality-ly, physically, metaphysically, nonphysically, cannot find ourselves in a space of happiness/success/fulfillment if we are looking for the answer outside of ourselves. And this is the state many people are in when they do come to personal development.

We realize that this whole time we’ve been doing things out of fear of something else, out of avoidance of something, rather than out of true desire. And when we approach personal development in this way, we are signing up for failure, every. single. time. without. fail.

Why?

Well if we accept the law of attraction, we know that you attract that which you fear. Thus, if you’re doing anything for the purpose of avoiding something, you will attract that something you’re avoiding. So if we’re looking at how to become financially successful out of a desperation to avoid being a financial failure, if that is what we are motivated by (this is what I mean by “outside of ourselves”), I personally don’t see how it could, metaphysically/physically/nonphysically speaking, ever work out and have us come out as a financial success. At best, it would be a quick fix or create the longterm struggle, produced purely through action.

If we get on the treadmill to avoid being fat, if we take the job out of fear of not paying the bills, if we marry the person out of fear of never being wanted, if we go to a party out of fear of being rejected, if we think positive to avoid negative manifestations, we will ultimately find ourselves unhappy, even if we are able to keep up with the exterior world. If we apply personal development to avoid being unhappy with ourselves or avoiding a certain situation or circumstance, I personally strongly believe that this is why a lot of personal development “isn’t working.”

Quick story to illustrate the point: I have a set of books called A Bug Free Mind by Andy Shaw. The lessons in this book were absolutely essential to creating my first miracle in relationships. It talks a lot about (ironically) why personal development doesn’t work, focusing mostly on the way our minds are working against us. The first time I read this, it was revelatory to me. My questions were answered through this book, and in that “round of realization and miracles,” it was exactly what I needed. Being in control of my mind was the foundation to creating a relationship I desired.

After my clarifying experience through cleaning my thoughts up, I left that space of pure clarity and I instantly recognized, due to past experience, that I was not in control of my mind – because I had figured this out the first time, and that had been the problem. I was thinking “Oh GOOD, I get to shortcut it this time without going through the worst experiences – let me just get my bum back to cleaning up my thoughts and controlling my mind!” Yet, I went through crappy experiences again. And that wasn’t because of the information (very seldom is it really about the information itself – I won’t say never though because there is some crap out there). It was because I was completely motivated by my fear of wrongthinking, messy thoughts, lack of structured thinking, being out of control of my mind, being controlled by my ego, and living a life I didn’t desire, that I kept reaching for these books and desperately tried applying the lessons! And guess what I got?

(Are you one of these people too?)

Another example is meditation. I see things like this all the time: meditation gives you more time because it relieves your stress and makes you more productive, and you get to connect with answers that you otherwise would spend days figuring out. What is this, the overfunctioning burnt-out workaholic’s special? Where we feed only more of the ego in the promise that we’ll make more things happen and gain more prestige and more money and more more more… (not saying there’s anything wrong with making things happen, prestige, money, or more, but chasing these things certainly doesn’t give us the experience of “having” them!)

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The opposite of this (the certain way!) is to be motivated by desire. This is the complete opposite to doing something to avoid something you don’t want. They may be the same things, for instance, getting married. But one being done out of desire to be expressing life with another vs one being done out of not wanting to feel like an old bag are completely different things!

Reading more and more personal development out of fear of the unhappy life just isn’t going to get you the happy life, as weird and meta as that sounds. Connecting with desire will. Maybe at some point I will pick up the personal development books and programs that do serve me, but it will be after I let myself come from a place of desire rather than avoidance.

Connecting with desire isn’t a difficult thing either; remembering to do so may be, just as creatures of habit, but you instinctively know the difference. A tip is just ask yourself whenever you’re aware of it: am I doing this out of the desire in my heart, or am I just trying to run away from something else?

Always let your heart decide, and get clear on what that means. Trust me, you don’t want to waste your time TRYING SO HARD to APPLY THESE DARNED PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLES and GOSH DARN IT WHY IS IT NOT WORKING ALREADY?? Yeah, it’s not pretty. I’ll take that emotional craziness for you and encourage you to connect inside starting now, so that you don’t have to do that emotional craziness I did.

And if you’re thinking of applying what I’m writing here out of avoiding not getting what you want in personal development..well just think of what that’s creating!

xxx,

Catt

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Evidence of Appreciation and Positive Energy

I’ve been wanting to write this post since it happened, which now is around a month ago!

The first time I heard about words affecting our wellbeing and physiology was when I was 16 years old. I was an intern at the headquarters of Starbucks on the Operations/Customer Service department in Taiwan. It was the classic “Dr. Masaru Emoto” water crystals thing everyone keeps bringing up as “proof” of the Law of Attraction or whatever they’re trying to prove about energy affecting us.

If you don’t know what it is, briefly, Dr. Masaru Emoto took very pure water from clear springs or double distilled water, froze it, and took pictures of the crystals they formed. He then started exposing them to various things, including words, photographs, and music. The crystals that were formed were different based on what they were exposed to. Here are some of them (you can also go see them on Dr. Masaru Emoto’s Website):
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I saw an interview of Dr. Masaru Emoto and the interviewer gave an example you could try at home, filling jars with cooked rice and water and taping “love” on one and “hate” on the other and visiting it everyday sending the jars the respective energies (so on the love jar, you tell it how much you love it, the hate one you judge and criticize). I never wanted to try this experiment not because I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t imagine the things growing in those jars and the thought of cleaning it up after made it not worth it for me lol (maybe get my fiance’ to do it? 😀 Honey!!!).

Well one morning I woke up a few days after my monthiversary with my fiance and he sends me gorgeous flowers every month. 🙂 These were the lovely March flowers:

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I had been practicing myself into a feeling good place especially every morning, as I mentioned in the last blogpost on setting the vibrational tone for your day, and this morning I woke up and started flowing appreciation to one of the daisies. I remember it very clearly, remember exactly which daisy it was, and I definitely “knew” that this “experiment” was going to work because I trust the power of energy and words and etc. I must have sat there in straight appreciation without entertaining anything else for three minutes straight. It was a powerful meditation for me because I was feeling so good after that, and I felt so much love for the beauty of this daisy!

I didn’t do anything special to these flowers, they all got the same amount of water (all the stems were in the water), they sat on my windowsill and had the same amount of sun..besides they’re kind of cut already so they’re just decaying anyways. This is what happened a few weeks later.

15 days later:

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The daisy I flowed appreciation to is thriving while the other roses, carnations, fern, and other daisies are wilting.

18 days later, at noon:

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This is where I was starting to be like “whoa!!” This is so clear!! The other daisies are like so sad and it’s still going well!

Same day (18 days later), in the evening:

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This is a photo of the entire bouquet, the whole vase. The other flowers are clearly not doing as well as the appreciated flower.

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And here I took a photo upclose of the other daisies versus the daisy I flowed appreciation to.

I love this stuff! I love how words and emotions affect us and we can even play these energy games like this!

So much fun.

 

The takeaway? Think, Talk, Act only on what you desire and what feels good! Feel good! That is always the bottom line. I loved this “energy experiment” because I didn’t babble about what is right and whether Dr. Masaru Emoto did the “correct” scientific procedures etc, it’s just something I did myself and I know how well it works! It gives me a lot of trust and peace in the Universe and knowing that this is where I want to be.

Happy Appreciating!

-Catt xxx