When Self-Development Turns into Self-Indulgence

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Self-development (self-actualization) is a journey and not a destination. We’re all on a path to self-development in one way or another. Some people are conscious of this journey and others have less awareness.

So, when we enroll in a workshop, read a book, or meet a group who focuses on self-development, we want to share what we learned with family and friends. But there is a difference between sharing with people open to making changes in their lives and sharing with people who like themselves just as they are and don’t want to change.

There’s a danger with the self-development path of trying to populate your path with family members and friends–against their will. The person who does this comes off as a know-it-all or at worst, they come off as self-righteous. No one wants to be told they are lacking in a personality trait or intelligence. And people are most likely doing the best they can with what they know.

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With the Aries Season of 2023, the air seems to be charged with an energy to change. But the problem is most humans would rather not change, even if they know that it’s in their best interest. After all, change is scary. It means you have to leave one life behind in favor of another. It means the time arrives to walk an unknown path and that takes a great deal of humility and confidence, not to mention trust.

The shadow of Aries is arrogance and I could add pushiness. Suddenly everyone deems themselves a life coach or a motivational speaker. They know what’s best for everyone, or think that they do. They try to get their parents on a new diet plan or their friends to join the gym or a yoga studio. It’s time, they think, to promote self-improvement.

Instead of using the act of persuasion, work on yourself. Focus on your own growth in different areas of your life. When you seemingly have it all together, that’s when you will inspire others. Become a life coach and promote yourself to people looking to make improvements in their lives and leave the other ones off the hook.

Self-development is a beautiful and enjoyable path. We measure our emotional growth in a way that is similar to a child measuring their height by a ruler attached to a wall. But the balancing act happens when we work on ourselves and serve others (not to get them to change but to help them where they’re at).

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As we change our diet and our lifestyle we have energy to burn. Use that energy to volunteer in the community or start an information video series to offer to the public. Never push your message though. Understand that everyone lives their life at their own pace and in their own way. When someone interested in your offering greets you on your path, teach them what you know and then let it go.

Self-development becomes self-indulgence when we lose our focus or the reason we are on the path in the first place. We get triggered and go into overdrive maybe focusing too much on ourselves or going overboard while playing the role of an improvement committee. At some point self-development becomes self-acceptance and even self-forgiveness. When we reach that point, others can only be inspired by our actions.

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Published by pnwauthor

I'm a former Washingtonian from Washington State, not Washington DC. I currently reside in Pennsylvania, even though my dream was to live and work in Vermont.

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