Honour the Journey
Sometimes it is in hindsight that we realize how far we've come.
In some way, I believe all people are on a journey of self-development. For some people, this happens incidentally, through the process of living. We have all experienced this type of growth; when through the experiences of life, we learn and develop, and later recognize that we have become capable of more. To me, this is the definition of self-development - to become more capable in myriad ways; more confident, more resilient, more loving, more compassionate, more forgiving, more inclusive, more connected. Self-development can be physical - becoming stronger, becoming healthier, or building new skills in a particular area - but much of self-development is internal, involving inner work. Inner work is a step up from incidental growth. It is more intentional.
There are a number of aspects of inner work. I like to think in terms of shifting mindsets. For example, we acquire many of our mindsets during early childhood as part of the socialisation process. Some, we absorb indirectly, and others are deliberately taught by families and teachers. As adults, we may wish to change some of the mindsets that are no longer serving us, so we can move forward in our lives and achieve and experience new things. For many people, lack of money can be a barrier. For example, we may have the belief that people who have money are dishonest or corrupt, and therefore, unconsciously, we will push money away. Unexpected expenses may regularly arise, we might settle for a low payrate, or we may spend or give away our money quickly or consistently.
Like anything that is worth doing, inner work takes time. Some people talk about the concept of quantum leaping - making big breakthroughs very quickly - while others disagree with this strategy. Although the idea of quantum leaping sounds exciting, I veer on the side of slow, steady progress. A house built on sand cannot last, but one that is built on a strong foundation will. I have found this in relation to all aspects of my life. Intellectual breakthroughs come often - our mindsets shift as we encounter new information and ways of being - but it is only when these new mindsets truly become part of us, that we know we have made real progress. Until then, our actions will often deviate from our newly-acquired understandings. Intellectually, we might now believe that financial abundance is beneficial for our wellbeing and for the good of the world, but until this is ingrained, we might keep slipping into our old patterns of pushing money away.
In my opinion, there isn't a quick fix for this, although the timing for changing mindsets may vary. Acquiring some mindsets may only require a shift in perspective, while others may involve a more in-depth type of inner work which can be called shadow work. Looking at our shadow is often necessary before we can make changes. A person might intellectually embrace the view that he or she is deserving of strong relationships or friendships but might continue to push others away due to fear of abandonment acquired in childhood. The person will need to examine the origins of these feelings and ingrained patterns before they will be able to be resolved. For people who choose not to look at their shadows, growth may not occur. They may simply continue making the same choices and repeating the same undesired patterns.
As humans, I think it is often the end result that inspires us. We are motivated to reach the desired destination, but lose motivation when it comes to the work that is needed along the way. The antidote is to reflect on past experiences. Looking back, we can see where we have grown and the positive impacts this growth has had on our lives. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle. There might be any number of things that we would like to change about ourselves or our lives. It can take a lot of courage to look at our shadows and a lot of persistence to continue to do the inner work when we don't see progress. In my experience, however, awareness of breakthroughs will come suddenly. After long-term, consistent effort, I will suddenly have the realization that a change in mindset has become part of me. No longer is it something that I wish to acquire, but it has become how I live - it is fully assimilated into who I am.
There is nothing more exciting to me than the times when these realizations hit. There are so many things that I struggled with in the past, that I am now free of. This feeling of freedom is the best ever. Then, emotion is no longer wasted, but can be directed elsewhere. I feel like a new person each time, as I have cleared old patterns and expanded aspects of myself. With each shift, I am capable of more, and can navigate life more easily and joyfully. This is why I'm so passionate about self-development; because life becomes better when we put the work in. Some changes might take years, but they are still worth it. So many times, we may feel that nothing is changing, but if we hold fast to our intentions, regardless, the rewards will come.
Here are some strategies for building momentum towards self-growth:
1. Set intentions - Know how and why you would like to change your life. Reflect on what you would like for your life. What would be your ideal lifestyle, your ideal job, or your ideal relationships? Why are these important to you? Why would you be happier if you had these things/people in your life? Write these down so they become concrete to you. Regularly read them to remind yourself of your intentions.
2. Choose new beliefs - Examine your past and current mindsets to determine what your new mindsets will be. Write these down so that they become concrete. These can become affirmations that you can read and repeat. Write these in present tense to reinforce to yourself that the new mindset is already assimilated. For example, if you would like to improve your money mindset, you might write:
There is enough abundance in the world for everyone to enjoy. I am worthy of an abundant life. I love money and it loves me. It is safe for me to have money. Abundance enables me to provide for my health and wellbeing, and to share with others. It gives me the freedom to live a balanced life, where I have time and energy for friends and family, creativity, fun and relaxation. Abundance enables me to enjoy a wide range of experiences and live in surroundings that inspire me. Everyone around me benefits when I am abundant, as I am happy and stress-free, and have the time and energy to contribute to the world, creating and building wonderful things that will benefit myself and others. My happiness overflows to others, lifting their vibrations and inspiring and motivating them to allow this abundance for themselves.
3. Practice thinking differently - In addition to repeating your affirmations, it is also important to become more aware of thought patterns. Often we don't realize that we're repeating thoughts in our minds that are not supportive of our growth. If we keep saying to ourselves or to others - ''I can't afford it'' - most likely this will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If this thought comes up - rather than being frustrated at yourself - honour the journey and consciously swap out the thought. Instead, you could say, ''I am abundant'', or ''There's plenty more where that came from''. Awareness of our thoughts has to happen before we can shift them. Just simply notice the thoughts as often as you can. Pretty soon, you will notice them almost every time. And then, you will no longer think them - new habits will have been formed. Eventually, when these new habits of thought are firmly in place, they will become strongly-felt emotions and beliefs, and they will become who you are.
When we hold strong, emotionally-supported beliefs that become who we are, we will attract experiences that mirror these. If our beliefs relate to abundance, being abundant will be our new reality rather than our desired one. Opportunities will automatically arise that enable us to access abundance. Our income might increase or our expenses might decrease. The only thing standing in the way of our not receiving what we desire, is that we are not in the mindset to accept it. With a different mindset, we will be ready to receive. Then, to be truly happy and trusting of life, we will allow divine timing to work its magic, and continue to enjoy the moment and appreciate everything that we are currently experiencing.
One of my intentions for the past year was to release any negative feelings towards my body and be free of a lifetime of thought and behaviour patterns that didn't support my wellbeing. Outwardly, I look the same, but inwardly there is a massive shift. I can barely believe how different my thoughts and feelings are compared with a year ago, and I am so excited about this. There are other mindsets that I'm working on, but I fully believe that I will crack these too. We all can if we are committed to growth and freedom. Don't give up; just remember that with consistent practice, these will fall into place, and sometimes when we least expect it.
I used my personal experience in changing mindsets to create a card deck for learning to love your body - Available on Etsy Love Your Body Card Deck | Etsy Australia
I will attach a free copy to my subscriber email, and will happily email a complimentary copy to all new subscribers over the next month. This is tailored to women - my apologies to my male readers - however this is a tool for changing mindsets that can be applied to any area of life - money / relationships / career / living situation - so please have a look anyway (or pass it on to the women in your life). Posters, screensavers, vision boards, etc., can be used similarly for reinforcing new thought and belief patterns. You could even write stories, poems or songs reinforcing your new beliefs. Consistent exposure to what we are wanting will help us in assimilating and embodying our desired outcomes.
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