Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter
We all have the capacity to acquire wisdom and integrity of character if we work for them. In fact, the human body was designed to do exactly that. We are the happiest when we are setting and achieving goals. Normal functioning people work hard to not only acquire wisdom but also to understand they are deserving of the value it brings. They not only look for opportunities to improve and grow, they embrace them.
How We Can Hinder Our Own Growth
We can easily get “stuck” in our character development and emotional development and maturity when we are blinded to opportunities that will benefit us. We may not set and achieve goals because we may not believe we can achieve them or are worthy of achieving them. Opportunities for learning that can bring much value and personal growth and development are lost. What are these barriers that can blind us and prevent us to become the best we can be? Here is a list of some of not all of the common ones we all frequently deal with:
- Comfort with status quo
- Familiarity/normalization of discomfort/dysfunction
- Fears such as fear of abandonment
- Egoic needs
- False beliefs related to personal power and resilience
- Inability to manage pain-based emotions
- Inability to problem solve
- Skewed perception
- Lack of resources
- Lack of a support system
- Need for acceptance
- Character disorders
- Low “selfs:” Low self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect
- Unhealed childhood wounds such as toxic shame and grief
How Faulty Thinking Sabotages Our Happiness
Once our souls are nourished, we feel complete – happy – content – valued. We know how being liked, loved and desired makes us feel. We set and achieve goals because we know how achieving them makes us feel and that we are worthy of the outcomes. We know we can rely comfortably on our abilities to deal with obstacles we may face.
However, too much emotional toxicity or pain along with distorted thinking can starve the spirit for nourishment and exceed the pain threshold our brains were designed to handle. We get stuck in a fearful pain-seeking and pain-avoiding state rather than use the experiences to benefit ourselves. We become emotionally malnourished. And when our souls are not nourished or are depleted such as from abuse, overwork, and invalidation, we feel trapped, inadequate, weak, and become unhappy, emotionally fatigued, depressed, sad and, even worse, traumatized.
Faulty thinking about our power and worth can cause us to routinely choose one harmful experience over another rather than focus on challenging ourselves and pursuing joyful ones we deserve. We then learn to survive with less than reliable skills, knowledge and abilities that we replace with easy options such as self-gratification and superficial relationships. While these may bring immediate relief and temporary satisfaction, they do not contribute to long term sustainable happiness or personal growth and they do not help to build self-reliance and resilience we need to survive. The mind and spirit will become traumatized and malnourished and you will become emotionally fatigued, exhausted, stressed, or depressed. The brain has remarkable plasticity but it is not good at spontaneous healing.
When our souls are routinely starved, we also run the risk of four things:
- Believing falsely we are the source of the ensuing pain and discomfort; and/or
- Blaming something or someone else for them;
- Believing falsely we cannot deal with pain and discomfort; and/or
- Feeling unsafe in our own bodies.
All harm us more because they cause us to feel more pain and stop us from taking action that we need to learn from and that nurture us and sustain our survivability, joy, and growth. You cannot heal at the same level of thinking that causes your chronic emotional pain. Sustained emotional stress also results in more physical damage to the body because the human body is comprised of integrated interdependent systems. The neurological system is connected and interrelated to all the body’s systems, hence, healthy body, healthy mind and vice versa. In essence, when you mess with nature, you mess with your own divine authentic and integrated design. To be happy we have to learn and embrace a healthy life style that includes not only our physical fitness but also our fitness related to our achievements, critical thinking, relationships and our emotional health. Our bodies and souls contain our coded truth. Our jobs are to search for and discover that truth, to become who we uniquely and divinely are.
Learning to become the best we can be is a life long process and takes hard work and courage. Read more on authenticity and building character in The Five Pillars of Personal Worth, Power, and Authenticity.
How Do We Convert Work and Pain to Wisdom
Notice that all of the items in the list above relate to perceptions and beliefs related to pain, fears, and discomfort and one’s ability to deal with them. So this is why it takes hard work and courage to build character and to heal, to change, to adapt and to be able to source and build your authentic personal power. Don’t forget, folks, that we are born with only two fears, fear of loud noises and fear of falling. All other fears and neuroses we learned and if we learned them, we can unlearn them.
We convert our work and our efforts and our discomfort into lessons of wisdom that we use to drive our decisions and beliefs and chisel our characters that we source for power and resilience to set and achieve goals that we are confident we can attain and are worthy of attaining. Making mistakes and facing our fears head on along the way and course and thought correcting are how we develop and mature our personality and character qualities and the corresponding belief systems on which they rely. So the integrity of our beliefs impacts our character and vice versa. This is how we become who we were put on this earth to be and how we learn to integrate into society, work, and relate to ourselves and others in healthy ways. In the process, we learn to develop, rely, build, and sustain our authentic power and resilience and draw on them confidently when any challenge that warrants it arises. This “process” of individuation, of self-actualizing allows us to act on our legal rights and free will to pursue unhindered what makes us happy.
We must not only work to acquire wisdom. We must work to take down the barriers that lie to us and tell us falsely we are unworthy of better and are powerless to the barriers or to whatever triggers our pain. Yes, we should have been taught to deal with these emotional unpleasantries in childhood so we had a mature and effective toolkit of coping skills we could pull from to deal with adversity, however, unfortunately many of us, and I would say most, were not. Our own emotions can go haywire and become toxic. We, instead, maladapted and unknowingly learned to sabotage our own health and happiness.
Remember. When we know better and that we are worthy of the knowledge then we do better. This is also why working to build self-worth and self-compassion, which many of us are unfamiliar with and in childhood may have even been punished for or discouraged from learning, can open the flood gates to healing and personal growth and development.
You can read more here on why self-compassion and self-care are so important to emotional health.