Last week, I wrote about a tough pill to swallow: that to whatever degree self-actualization is lacking in your life, is the same degree that self-abandonment is happening in your life. [If you missed it, click here.]
As I re-read what I wrote, I dropped into a deeply reflective state.
Sitting in one place, I stared into the distance for I-don’t-know-how-long while silently reflecting on thoughts, questions, and emotions about some of the circumstances that have happened in my life that have shown me where self-actualization is lacking and – with that – where self-abandonment is/was happening.
I always gain immense clarity from this confronting-but-productive self-inventory … inevitably noticing ways that I am acting in cahoots with patterns of self-abandonment.
Areas of dissatisfaction come to light.
I notice areas where some of my needs have gone unmet.
I notice where, not only aren’t I getting what I want, but where who I know myself to be is feeling stifled or being dishonored in some way.
From such awareness comes the recognition that IF I DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING to make improvements to these areas … I am essentially denying myself these things.
Settling for less than you desire is a form of self-denial.
Such evidence-based self-inventory isn’t for the faint of heart because there’s no room for pretending in the relationship between you-and-you.
It boils down to this:
Either you decide to consent to self-denial, self-abandonment, and self-neglect that impedes your own self-actualization, OR … you do something about it.
We impact our circumstances with our choices. There’s a point at which we can no longer hold others responsible for our own experience or blame circumstances for what we aren’t experiencing.
Doing something about it can take many forms. Giving thoughtful attention to the circumstances, doing what you know how to do to remedy the situation is generally best, followed by patience and time to see the impact of your actions, hopefully for the better.
BUT – what happens when actions fail?
It’s not always true that when we ask for what we need, or set a boundary in a relationship, or express ourselves fully, or take time to heal and be self-responsible … that this is the ultimate answer or remedy.
In the midst of even the most complex circumstances or the most challenging relationships, we each get to choose how – and for how long – we invest our energy into finding the right solution.
But, when all of your best efforts don’t work and something carries on for too long or in a way that still isn’t satisfying or supportive, what then do you DO?!?
When noticing such a pattern in your life and in yourself – assuming you are committed to making the necessary changes to remedy it – you can interrupt the pattern in one of two ways:
(1) By doing new things, initiating NEW action
(2) By deciding what you will STOP doing
NOT DOING can be a powerful pattern interruption.
Not everything requires more effort.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is STOP participating in a conversation, a situation, a relationship, or a space – creating a disruption in the already established dynamic.
And unlike the time and energy that efforts behind new habits or new actions need to “kick in”… while making the initial choice can be laborious, once made, NOT doing can often bring instant relief.
Do not underestimate the power of reclaiming your energy, calling yourself back to yourself, by doing less of what isn’t aligned.
I need these reminders from time to time, and perhaps you do too:
⭐ Abandoning yourself in order to tolerate circumstances that aren’t a match for you is an expense of precious life force. If maintaining the status quo requires that you abandon yourself to perpetuate it, and you STOP doing this, your circumstances will inevitably change.
⭐ Abandoning yourself in order to maintain connection with others isn’t healthy. If what is holding a relationship together is you abandoning yourself, and you STOP doing this, that relationship will either change or fall away.
⭐ Last but not least, abandoning yourself in order to do things you find utterly draining and misaligned is an affront to your soul. If continuing to do these things requires you to keep selling a piece of your soul, and you STOP doing these things, your stand for who you know yourself to be will give your highest sense of Self the opportunity to surface and take the lead.
Taking an honest look at areas where change is calling and where you’re being asked to step up, is both empowering and daunting.
Making intentional changes in the direction of self-actualization is what I’m here for and what I’m committed to.
One key is to BECOME an embodiment of the person who LIVES your dreams, who HAS your dreams, who knows it’s certain and steps into that, day after day.
You must ‘self actualize.’
What do I mean by self-actualization?
Self-actualization is not an arrival. It’s not a fixed point. It is not a place at all. It’s an expression. It’s an evolutionary unfolding. A process of not only becoming, but creating your life to reflect that becoming.
The fullness and manifestation of self-actualization can be measured by how much of your life mirrors the magnificent, embodied, unapologetic, expression of YOU that you have become.
Your life is either full of evidence of a high degree of self-actualization, or it is full of evidence of a high degree of self-abandonment. This is a spectrum that leaves little room for gray because your emotional guidance will tell you clearly which one it is.
While not a fixed arrival point, self-actualization will bring countless savory moments when you kick back, drink in your life, and say to yourself, “f*ck yes.”
“This is MY life and I adore living it. I am so incredibly proud of everything I’ve created and how I’ve grown and what I’ve learned in order to get HERE. And now, here I am. I am here. Here is good, and luscious and I love it. I am SAVORING this delicious waking moment … because it is beautiful. Not perfect, mind you, but utterly aligned nonetheless. Beautiful in its unique-to-me expression, and in this, I also acknowledge my own beauty and imperfect perfection. Gratitude for this one incredible life fills my soul, created as only I could, as the one and only me. This life is so on point and I am lit from within about it, while also excited and inspired about all that’s in process and all that I’m creating next because I know that, it too, will only heighten this expression, this beingness, catching up with the latest parts of me that are surfacing and igniting the next levels of my expression. And should I die today, I will do so knowing I died happy, delighted, and inspired.”
When you look at your life and see the many many ways it reflects the beauty and truth of who you are … that’s your evidence of self-actualization .
Nothing is more gratifying.
It’s the kind of joy that fills you up, that lights you from within.
In contrast to this, when you look at your life and think “no, this isn’t right’ ‘I feel trapped’ ‘this isn’t the real me’ ‘I don’t want to do it this way’ ‘how did I get here and how do I get out’ ‘this doesn’t align’ ‘this isn’t who I am’ ‘this isn’t it for me’ ‘‘where the heck is the I in this life I have?’ ‘how do I get where I’m meant to be’ ‘I wish someone would save me’ ‘I’m so tired’ ‘my soul aches’ ‘when does my life rise up to greet me and welcome me home, to myself?’… then (obviously) this is not ideal. It absolutely sucks. I know because I’ve been there. To stay, to keep going, to keep doing the same things in the same ways for another day, perhaps with the same people, is one more day of self-abandonment.
^ This is the polar opposite of self-actualization.
Spoiler alert! Your life will always be lagging a bit behind your becoming. Since as long as you’re alive you’re creating, there’s always more to recalibrate and adjust to best reflect what you’ve discovered or revealed or uncovered about your beingness. There’s simply no way around this.
BUT – when you’re in a space of confident self-actualization even the lag time feels welcomed, glorious even, because the process of creation is an art form that you enjoy.
You know that arrival is a myth, and that evolution is ongoing.
You embrace and delight in the unfolding and trust the outcomes completely.
You are not suffering or surviving in the interim.
You are engaged and inspired.
You are alive in the ALL of it.
You are thriving.
There is always more to discover, create, and be. As you seek on a quest for a meaningful, joyful, impactful, satisfying, successful life (one that you aren’t aching to escape to Bora Bora about) … it’s an expanding spiral upward, a helix of becoming who you are meant to be, self-actualizing and living a life that is so aligned and joyful it IS the expression of the WHO that you’ve become. And as you become that WHO even more, new levels of desire are revealed and deepened, and expansion and new possibilities become possible for you.
PS – If you are ready to become the person who LIVES your dreams, apply now for my FREE Top Shelf Session with Tara Assessment, a 1:1 conversation where you will gain clarity on your dreams and how they reflect and empower the person you are becoming, insight into what’s been holding you back, and a renewed sense of hope about how to courageously break free of obstacles to achieve what you want with a customized strategic plan for your desired future.
PPS – Not quite ready to talk about actually living those dreams? Not sure what your dream life even would LOOK like? I have something for that too.