Searching for the Holy Grail of Self-Improvement

I love patterns, especially when they invite me into deeper exploration. Recently, several of my coaching clients told me the same exact thing:

I’ve heard all of this information before, I guess I just have to keep hearing it over and over before I internalize it, right?

I could sense their deep frustration, shoulders slumped, a look of tired resignation on their faces. Why do we keep receiving the same messages, yet keep resisting change and growth?

Why doesn’t it ‘sink’ in?

For example, we first learned about nutrition back in elementary school (the infamous food pyramid) and how great vegetables are for our bodies. We’ve read countless articles about the same subject, magazines at the grocery store check-out scream in 48 pt. text: GET SERIOUS THIS YEAR ABOUT EATING HEALTHY! We may have even decided to hire a nutritionist somewhere down the road. Why then, a month later, can we find ourselves overindulging on sweets and fats and caffeine?

Here’s another one widely touted in the personal growth field: practice positive self-talk. I understand intellectually you’re telling me it’s better to say kind and loving things to myself than beating myself up inside. Okay, I’m committed to this. Three hours later our inner critic rears his or her ugly head and we feel like we just slid back to square one. Please note, I’m actually a big fan of positive self-talk. (If you haven’t seen the Saturday Night Live skit with Stuart Smalley, check it out, it’s a classic).

So what are the factors that keep us in a negative holding pattern? Is it our biology? Is it our willpower, or lack thereof? Could it be our commitment? Please, just tell me what I need to know so I can move forward already!

Maybe I should read one more article that starts off with, ‘9 steps to fill in the blank…’

Countless authors, researchers, psychologists and let us not forget, talk show hosts, have tried to answer this nagging question. Desperately trying to find the holy grail of self-improvement.

My experience? It’s quite simply hard ass work.

Yep. That’s why we often avoid or procrastinate or backslide because stepping into long lasting change takes strength, self-discipline, courage, support, time, energy and attention. Sometimes when we’re hurting, we believe, well at least it’s the hurt I already know. It can be overwhelming to imagine what it’s gonna take to push our boulder up the hill.

What if instead it’s about continuously tweaking, making minor shifts over and over? Practicing recognizing our behaviors, thinking patterns and emotional tendencies. Giving ourselves a break when we mess up, brushing ourselves off and getting back on the horse.

What if there’s no magic formula, no miracle personal growth pill? Could it be as simple as just keep trying every day to live the best damn life you can?

What if the process of hard work is actually the holy grail we seek? What if it’s true, as the saying goes; it’s really not the destination but the journey that matters?

Knowledge is the key to finding the door, opening that door, going through that door, and continuing to walk down a new road on the other side of that door…Once on that road, a simple prayer given to clarify “Why and how I found that door?” “Why I went thru that door?” “And now what must I do on this new mysterious road?”
- Patricia Summers, The New Message
Are you stuck in that strange in-between space or experiencing a difficult life transition? I invite you to explore Sensitive Wholeness, a unique program that connects you with a small community of other sensitive people while also receiving one-to-one coaching support. Let’s talk about how I can support you to make conscious choices that nurture your sensitive soul.