go deeper

You don’t need validation. You don’t need rules. You don’t need to feel better than everyone else. Just do whatever it is you’re trying to do in life. This is a message for all of the higher thinkers. Don’t be turned into a robot, or an egomaniac, or a narcissist for the sake of success. Just be yourself, do what makes you happy, and go with God. There’s peace in that. If you’re constantly breaking your back to do these things for validation, the ego boost, or to feel like you’ve completed each step of the way or rule, then you’ll never be happy and you’ll never actually be successful. Success is defined differently by everyone; everyone has a different image of what success is, based on how they were raised, what they want, who they want to be, etc. But the truth is, success isn’t fame, wealth, spiritual purity, or any of that. Success is contentment. Success is making a positive difference in the lives of others. Success is love. Love for yourself, and for others. Real love though. Not loving yourself only because of what you have achieved, or what you own or because of how others admire you. That’s not true self-love, it’s just an attempt at placating yourself against insecurities, past trauma, etc.. Love yourself for who you are, and what you’re going to do and how you go about doing those things. Love yourself because you’re already qualified to do the things you want to do, so you don’t need to be validated by others or get a fancy degree or use other people in order to do it.

 If you can love yourself that way, unconditionally and completely, then you can begin to love other people that way as well. It won’t be about what they can do for you, or how they can fill your trauma-induced voids, or how they contribute to your mission. It won’t be about exploiting their marketable skills and talents, or their penchant for listening to your problems and giving you advice. You won’t use them up or burden them, or become a stumbling block for their journey. You won’t feel outraged that you’ve done all these things for them and they haven’t returned the favor. You won’t feel like no one else is on your level or that nobody understands and therefore, you’re all alone. You’ll just appreciate them for who they are, even when they make mistakes or hurt you in error or fall behind on their own journey. Because you’ve had so much practice loving yourself in a gentle, but firm way, you’ll be able to spread it around without working at it. 

Once I learned about the differences between unconditional love and conditional love, and success vs. self-actualization, I set out to do everything I could to embody these more spiritual and holistic approaches to life. But I learned, recently, that it doesn’t really work that way. Sure, you can make sure you are positive in every interaction you have with others, and create healthy boundaries to prevent the cycles of abuse from happening again, and support others and try to push them towards a greater life and self-perception, but it will always feel like work and will always result in a loss or anguish. In fewer words, doing all of these things with your mouth and body but not actually doing it for yourself (in your soul) will always prove to be futile attempt at reaching success and contentment. Even if you do achieve “success” as you’ve defined it, you’ll never feel content and become the person you were born to be, if you don’t start with yourself. Also, learn to be gentle with yourself, but keep it real. Be your own validator and greatest supporter. Be your own critic and mentor. That gentleness helps in the beginning, and when times get hard, but it eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of mediocrity and always allowing other people to cloud your judgement and direction. 

Stop focusing on doctrine, your intended life’s mission, or being seen. If you want to succeed, focus with tunnel vision like strength on the things that are within your control: how you see yourself, how you treat yourself, and how you work on yourself. If you’ve been looking everywhere else for that feeling of wholeness, I’m here to tell you that the answer is inside. It’s not in the Bible, it’s not in Church, it’s not in your relationship, it’s not on Twitter, and it’s not at work. It’s inside. Stop asking God the same questions over and over about your future and what you need to do and how you can be successful. You already know what you need to do. Stop expecting your partner to guide you to who you are or team up with you to achieve greatness. Team up with yourself. Stop expecting your friends to get as excited about your plans as you are or to fight for your dream with the same intensity. Be excited for yourself. Fight for yourself. Stop expecting strangers on the internet to tout your great talents and support you. Be proud of your talent for yourself. Support your mission, for yourself.  Be quiet and listen to your intuition. If you’re looking for a way to your destination, know that every step, direction, and assignment is right there on the inside of you. Go deeper.

Daily Devotion: Shake it off/Take off your weights, run the race!

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

1 Corinthians 9:24

Think of the people in your life. Are there people who you consistently work hard to help, teach, heal, console, etc.? Now imagine that you’re running a race with all of them on your back. That would make it impossible to win, right?

The race is your journey to success and self-actualization. Do not let anyone slow you down or replace you at the finish line. Do not try to drag them behind you or carry them across the line–even if you finish, you’ll suffer too many injuries and be too exhausted to even enjoy that you finished the race, let alone the disappointment of running so hard to end up not winning.

Take off your weights! Run the race! The most valuable people in your life or who you haven’t met yet, will be ready to run alongside you on their own two legs, or to sit in the bleachers cheering you on relentlessly.

just take space

they will find other sources, hopefully
stay away from those that need you

to fill a void or
validate or facilitate
things that they should be able
to do themselves

love them anyway
though they keep distorting you
into that old role
they don’t mean to

stop allowing it
you have too much to lose