Walking down the self-help aisle of any bookstore may yield you a plethora of book titles and subtitles referencing ‘becoming the best of version yourself.’ You might pick up a book, turn it over to read the back cover and find a series of recommendations from prominent authors stating ‘this book will bring you to a whole new level’ or ‘this book truly unlocks your hidden riches.’ Excited, you might open to the table of contents, hoping to find some early insight or tips on what you can try right away:
“Today’s challenge,” “Who are you?,” “Learning to love yourself,” “Being the best you.” These may be the first few chapter titles you come across, but you may be left with the question, that may not even be answered in the book, “What does it mean to be the best version of yourself?’
A question that many are trying to answer.
I will start by saying marketing a book can be a difficult task. I have been working towards publishing my first book and every publisher I talk to wants to know that title and subheadline right away so they know how easy it will be to sell your book. The insurgence of self-help books has been huge over the last few years. Thousands of inspired and well-meaning authors have felt the urge to write a book, and so they do.
But from my experience, many are repeating what has been learned in one book or another, or seem to be coming from a place of learning, but not quite mastery. Something that shouldn’t stop someone from writing a book, but more so reveals that the advice we’re getting in these books can often be incomplete, inexperienced or based on egoic ideas of the subjects being discussed. This isn’t to say any of this work is bad or anything, just that there is much more to the picture.
Are We Running In Circles?
I have been working on myself for 12 years and have been through many different phases. In no way would I call myself a leading expert in self-help or anything, but I’m consistently let down by the state of consciousness within many of these books. I feel it keeps people running in circles, chasing one thing or the next or it has people feeling like they need to act a certain way in order to appear a certain way. Are we really getting to the core of what we are seeking?
I’ve been writing a book for quite some time and note that there are many important nuances that are learned and expressed with much internal observation and practice. Yet it seems today we want quick fixes and instant healings in order to move past what we feel. Yet I feel in many cases, through the popular work being spread around, we are only temporarily band-aiding the inner aspects of ourselves that are crying to come out and be released.
It’s in the marketing and in the lack of experience that I feel the term ‘live the best version of yourself’ truly comes from. It has an allure that somehow you will find the best aspect of you and live it always. It suggests, vaguely, that perhaps this will unlock your wildest dreams or make you be the best at something. The fact that it leaves room for interpretation is great for marketing, but does it push us towards a goal that is actually contrary to what most of us who end up buying these books are truly seeking?
Scratching ‘The Best Version’ Idea
First off, I strongly feel we need to let go of the whole idea of ‘being the best version of ourselves.’ I feel we’ve played with polarity long enough and are ready for some deeper truths.
What I’m going to share is what I’ve gathered from my own life’s experience. I have been exploring myself, my consciousness and reflecting on how I BE in this world for many years. I have done this with the help of a mentor and many hours of personal reflection. Instead of moving from book to book, I was fortunate to start my journey by simply spending a lot of time with myself, exploring meditation and developing a strong connection to my inner knowing, yet remaining open to asking for help when needed. I’ve remembered that there is no ‘best version of yourself.’ There’s simply you.
You can be a funny word in itself. Is it ‘you’ the mind? Is ‘you’ the soul? Is ‘you’ the higher self? Is ‘you’ the ego? Is ‘you’ your personality? Who are you?!
This is an important place to begin because it changes so much of how we seek to live the best version of ourselves, or as I like to call it ‘our authentic self.‘ Like I said above, scratching the idea of ‘best version of yourself’ is a great place to stop playing within polarity and ideas, and instead recognize knowing and neutrality. Higher consciousness, what many of us are seeking whether we are consciously aware of it or not, plays in a realm of neutrality, where we recognize experiences are what they are, we can learn from them as they take place, and where we don’t seek to see everything as right or wrong, worst or best.
To Be Fair
The actual definition many of these books are portraying for ‘the best version of self’ can be different, and some can actually be quite authentic. However, I still find there is much room to consider re-thinking the subject, or rather, begin feeling about it.
To me, the self-help space could really be summed up as humanity seeking ways beyond our self-imposed limitations, belief systems, and suffering, ultimately seeking to live our true authentic selves. We are, in some ways, a society that does not seek deep truths but instead moves from platitude to platitude as we search for deeper understanding. Like my mentor taught me, taking the road straight to the core is a lot easier and less painful than spending years jumping from trend to trend or belief system to belief system. While my journey has had phases, the core understanding and methods for how I move past pain and challenges has never changed – I go to the core, no band-aids needed.
What does it look like to live your authentic self? It means being aware of how we often operate from our minds, ego’s, belief systems, societally programmed beliefs, patterns etc. and instead begin living from a deeper knowing within ourselves. Something that touches how we truly FEEL about decisions, situations, and experiences in our lives. Not what we think we should do to impress someone, uphold a certain stature or because that’s the ‘smart’ thing to do, but because we truly connect with and feel it.
An example of this is choosing to walk away from a relationship we are not happy in even if it means the other person will have to grow past the initial pain they will feel when the relationship ends. Not only will it be growth for you within yourself, but the other person will also find themselves through the process as well so long as they choose to do the work.
Another example might be learning to move past the complaining we often do about a particular job, to move onto a job or experience we’ve always wanted to do. First off, we may not always be doing ‘the most ideal job’ but it doesn’t mean we can’t find peace and be our authentic self within that job. While there, communicate with others based on your TRUE authenticity, make decisions and deal with challenges in the workplace based on that authenticity. Your actions and ways of being in these situations can bring higher consciousness to the workplace in a deep way. We don’t always have to ‘serve’ by doing work in the ‘consciousness’ space, we can serve anywhere, at any time.
Further to the example above, perhaps we have always wanted to leave our current job, are ready to but are fearful of taking the leap because of what others might think or that we might not make enough money in another position. Living authentically might look like taking that leap past the stories and fears that are holding us back from doing what we know inside is what we want to do. In this case, we’re not judging our current job, hate it or hate the people there, we are simply at peace but fearful of the unknown. A great time to further explore and express our authentic self.
Exploring Your Authentic Self
The examples above give an idea of how we can look at our current lives and see where we are or aren’t living authentically to how we feel inside. Be careful to observe belief systems on this. Sometimes we may still think it’s our authentic self to do something based on a prior belief system we have because we did not connect deeply enough with what we know inside. Sometimes it may take time for us to see this, that’s OK, we are always seeing what we need to in each moment that is exactly what we need for us to keep evolving. The trick is; are we paying close enough attention to move through the signs and knowing that comes from within? Or are we caught up in the mental chatter and daily distraction of everyday life? This is why meditation is key.
Aside from that, you can explore your authentic self, and whether or not you’re living from it, simply by asking yourself reflective questions when you are unsure. Am I truly making a decision based on what I feel? Or am I making a decision based on what I’m defending, trying to protect, or think I’m supposed to do?
These deep inner knowings may not come overnight. It’s a muscle, a practice, and a feeling that takes time to develop. You notice when you are living your authentic self that your life feels different, you are calmer and more in tune with yourself, others and the planet. This muscle takes time to build, and letting go of the old ways of being, states of consciousness and belief systems can take time. Just keep noticing, keep reflecting and keep exploring. There is no wrong in this, it is simply an exploration.
An individual living their authentic self pushes theirself into higher states of consciousness. This makes an incredibly powerful impact on those around us and in our everyday lives. Beyond this, it also makes an incredibly profound impact on the collective consciousness. This is how we go from creating change within ourselves to creating change within our world.
The path to the changes we are all looking for is practicing living our true authentic self.