One of those good days…

Seeing the dark side of self-improvement

Get too zoned in, and the big picture fades…

Being human…the very existence of it, is the hardest yet most enlightening thing there is, if we can only see it in the right light.

The 28 years before change:

My mornings were painful. Every single one of them. They were all exactly the same. I woke up with a pit in my chest and a deep hate for myself. I woke up with just enough hope in my heart. The kind of blind hope that comes from the unproved fact that good things exist; that foundational good intentions of the human race are ever present.

I wasn’t capable of hyping myself up. I was never capable of planning good things for myself besides the weekend that would temporarily take away my grief. The best I could do was take a few deep breaths, tell myself the day would end, and maintain a bullshit smile throughout the day(maybe that’s why I couldn’t smile genuinely for pictures).

My eyes opened and my heart freed:

Destruction will always be the greatest chance for change. The only things that keeps us from it, is the fear that destruction is the end. It never is and never was.

Love is a motherfucker…

But the first person that was actually capable of opening my heart was the first ever catalyst that changed me forever. To this day, she will never know what she did for me. A human that tried so hard to love me is the only reason that I truly started to believe that I was worth loving.

It took me just over a year to separate myself from “needing” her. I blamed myself for everything. It was me who lied about being ready. It was me who couldn’t commit. It was me who was so afraid of not being able to give her what she needed…

BTW, I couldn’t give a fuck to anyone that says there’s a set allowance of time for the process of healing from such a thing. And I’ll never make up some magic number of months for anyone either. What matters is that we actively try to heal; that progress is made, until the day we can wake up and no longer need them.

The growth:

When you’re free of attachment(person or otherwise) and you can start to see color in the world again, it’s like your heart is ready for double time and your soul is ready to take on the world.

I realized that I had put so much pressure on another human to make me happy(thanks Hercules and Robin Hood), that I never actually chased anything for myself besides chasing highs and sex. A decade of adulthood used for nothing but indulgence. Oh sweet Zackary, you naïve little monster…

And finally seeing my own limitations, I ran to the world to make for lost time. I chased anything and everything. My mind was full and soaking up everything from nutrition and training to business and brand ownership, and religion and spirituality. I dove into everything controversial and fascinating to answer all the questions that I was too timid to ask before.

I had finally started seeking out my own values and perspectives: What did I think of the world? Why were relationships failing? How could I eat to optimize my training? What were my own personal skills and passions? Who are the people I wanted to be around? Who were the people that used me and exhausted me?

The pressure that builds:

For many of us, this is a HUGE necessary step to our growth. We have to have a step where discovery is priority one. Most of us are so closed off and stuck in our own stories, we have no idea what reality is truly offering.

I think that as we move forward, our brains and hearts pick up on things that we can’t keep ourselves away from. These are things that we are pulled to among the mess and the information overload. The mind works most efficiently when it can create practice and habit on a FEW things.

As the last five years have progressed, I found myself less and less motivated. Or maybe it was just a settling of the heart and soul? Me coming back to reality?

I think we can be so mystified by what we learn that we forget about what it actually takes to make them reality(raise your hand if you’ve been stuck here). So…the pressure builds. We have frustration with why we haven’t moved forward, why we haven’t made and impact, why we haven’t been able to transition our lives or make them progress.

So, what do we do?

We doubt our ability. We doubt our creativity and what’s possible.

This is the ultimate pressure. Where we sit within so much potential and having no idea how to make it work…

The dark side of self-improvement:

  • It can be an excuse to keep up your morale and convince yourself that you’re progressing.
  • It can be an obsession that never gets you closer to your goals. Your goals shouldn’t be the idea of self-improvement, but the idea that self-improvement will get you where you want to go.
  • Get too close, and you may end up focusing only on what you have to fix in yourself, rather than actually working on yourself. You’ll dive into endless questions about what makes you not good enough, rather than proving you are by the actions you take.

Self-improvement is the epitome of human progress.

Think about it…we can only create by improving ourselves. Our relationships will only become more healthy by improving ourselves. We can only change our financial situations and our place in the hierarchy by improving ourselves. We can only contribute to the world by improving ourselves.

However….the dark side of this CRUCIAL mindset, is that we can get so tunneled in to ‘making it’ or “figuring it out’ that we forget what actually makes it happen.

Habit. Once we make what we love a habit MORE SO than the stuff we hate, the better off we’ll be. Feelings don’t matter, the math does. Minutes, hours, and days. Become better. Hone in only on the things that matter to you.

Oh yeah…and stop identifying with your past. Every time you wake up mad that who you are isn’t good enough, is the truth you tell yourself that you’re still your past. STOP IT. You are your future self. Always.

Wake up with fire to the best of your ability and stop your brain from trying to limit you and slow you down. You’ll thank yourself at the end of the day when you’ve stopped your demons from fucking with you.

Love you friends.

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Zackary Henson

Zackary Henson

Podcaster and Writer who questions the fuck out of everything. Truth and love. https://therebelminded.substack.com zackary@therebelminded.com