Pursuing Self-Realization

My focus since first creating this blog has shifted somewhat as I’m now more broadly focused on getting better not just as a father, but as a human, with much of the foundation for that pursuit being that it will open the door to me becoming a great husband and dad. I am actively working towards the idea of Self-Realization. What is Self-Realization you ask? A simple google search will tell you: "fulfillment of one's own potential." 

Pursuit of Self-Realization
Pursuit of Self-Realization

As a 27 year old dude who is happily married and a father of a two year old, I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last 2 years. I’m more resilient then I believed to be. I don’t require nearly as much sleep as I used to convince myself I needed. But the most important idea that I’ve really grabbed a hold of as of late, is that I NEED to work on myself. I have spent years of my life trying to be the best employee, the best student, the best son, but have neglected the root of what would allow for me to excel in those different areas. ME. For too long I let my mental, physical, and spiritual health get sidelined due to a variety of excuses and reasons, none of which I now believe, were valid. Sure, each and every excuse served its purpose and felt valid in the moment, but looking back and re-evaluating my own movement through life, it is obvious that they were simply excuses. I built up paper thin foundations for WHY I could continue to break promises to myself. Not only did I allow myself to suffer and stagnate as a person, but frankly my wife suffered alongside with me as I wasn't being the most supportive, loving, or kind man that I should have been for her. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, it wasn’t until I started listening to a podcast that discussed how our mindset programs our body, builds our habits, and eventually trains up our personality traits, that I surmised that I have a lot more control over my own mental state than I give credit. The simple epiphany that I have the power to direct my thoughts, control how I perceive the world and my interactions with it, and ultimately shape my own reality by maintaining positivity in seasons of difficulty or distress, has been a revelation of fresh air. Excuses be damned I was finally hitting a stride in my thought pattern of accepting my past grievances and starting down a path of self-reclamation.

Having the epiphany most certainly feels like the easy part. But again we are all at different stages in our pursuit to be better. I understand the struggle of those who are still searching for that epiphany type moment. The fact that you are looking at yourself and evaluating your own thoughts and efforts is a sign that you are taking major steps in a positive direction.

But for me the epiphany came and went with ease, giving way to the much more challenging prospect. Following up on that moment of clarity with an attitude of positive energy, a willingness to begin the “real work”, and patience/understanding that nothing worthwhile would be accomplished quickly.

A realization does not equate to TOTAL transformation.

And actual Self-Realization is a constant pursuit and not a final destination. 

So that’s where the legwork for me has started. I figured something out (yay me!). But if I don't build upon that understanding with action and consistent effort, then I'll all too easily fall back into my old/bad habits of self-neglect, apathy, and lack of strong direction in my routines. So how do I avoid my previous pitfalls and really establish a new, life loving identify for myself that will stick around into the long-term? 

For starters, I’m writing on a near daily basis, studying other writers, reading more, and listening to successful people who openly share their experiences. I do this so that I can continually work on training up my thoughts and align those thoughts with real, practical action, and in the process attempt to mimic some of the behaviors of the people that I am hoping to one day emulate. We can’t all be Mother Teresa. But maybe by trying to adopt the positive behaviors and habits of good people in the world, by listening to their stories, and allowing their experiences to serve as a map in our own lives, we can teach ourselves to be better humans.

I am evaluating how I interact with people to try and cut out the “junk”. What do I mean by junk?

Drama, negative or hateful conversation, sulking, complaining, gossip.

I am trying to spend more time having thoughtful conversation when an opportunity presents itself whether it be with a stranger in line at Chipotle, a co-worker, a fellow church member, or just my Mom on the phone when she is calling to check up on my daughter. When I have a bad day or a discrepancy between where I am aiming to be and where my spirit is actually located, I am trying to address that gap with positive energy and well controlled thoughts. Will I have mornings where I feel like dog shit and don't want to roll out of bed?

Of course I mean we all felt like crap after finishing the series finale of Game of Thrones right? (side note - do I need to write a super late review on game of thrones series finale to add my voice to the chorus? Just kidding.)

But even in those rough mornings, afternoons, or evenings, I can be actively pursuing a healthier train of thought to redirect my mind and work to get back in a place of positive reflection.

What else? 

I’m drinking more coffee and eating NO bread. Keto diet don’t play no games ya’ll. I’m trying to purposefully consider my own actions on a day to day basis, and how my daughter perceives them, as I’m becoming more aware that the manner in which I engage my wife, is setting the tone for how my daughter will expect to be talked to and interacted with boys as she gets older. My wife and I are having more conversations! Sometimes it is over contemplative stuff. Sometimes it's just silly memes and laughable Facebook rants. But even for the silly stuff, I'm trying to be more engaging and active in how I listen to her and respond. I fail at this still, all the time. But the whole point of trying to get better as a human, is the trying. You or I will never execute our actions at a 100% success rate. It’s just not possible. But if we are sincerely putting in our effort and continuing to try and grow each day then we are making a positive move towards being our greater selves.

Some nights, I just go out on the back porch once the sun has gone down, strum my acoustic guitar, and embrace the silence under the night sky. Planes flying overhead and distant stars, my only companions. Even the simple act of breaking away from the day to day distractions, is part of this process of growth and development. Give it a try...

Another fun exercise? Writing out what you are trying to accomplish. Make it real stuff. 

"Pay off the credit card by the end of the year”

"Sign up for the business class or small business seminar"

"Stop eating Chipotle" (just kidding I will never give you up CHIPOTLE!!!)

BUT honestly, when you allow yourself to really sit down for a minute and just take a moment to press pause on social media, on TV time, on work gossip, and try to sit and write out just what all you are trying to accomplish, it feels good. Is that just me?

It reminds me of the first time I made a call to setup an appointment for therapy. Just that one call (not even therapy but the call to try and coordinate a meeting with a therapist), gave me some relief. Just the release that I was no longer holding on and trying to fight my battles alone, that I was relenting and allowing someone in to help, brought me so much internal ease. Same with sitting and writing out our goals for life. 

The cool thing about maintaining consistency with new habits that you've adopted in your pursuit of Self-Realization, is that at some point things start to click and the conscious choices you are making start to become unconscious. Instead of fighting the urge to eat bread and drink beer, I have gotten used to Keto and just inherently know that it's off limits. 

So much of what we do as humans is subconscious or unconscious behavior that when you take a second to really analyze that behavior, you get a glimpse of how insane it is that WE as HUMANS exist. The universe is a funny place but time is in short supply and it can’t all be memes and games. I get ONE life on this planet. ONE! And to be entirely honest and transparent, I don’t think I’ve spent the first quarter of my lifetime, fully appreciating that one life and giving it my full attention. I have become desperate to change my approach in a fundamental way because I want to grab every last inkling of time that I have in this world, and know that I LIVED IT.

I don’t want to wait until I’m 30, or 40, or 50, or 100! I want to start right now. And to accept lesser from myself or compromise on trying to become the best version of me, just feels lazy. LAZY. I hate that word because it’s something my Mom would use against me whenever I came up short in high school. But she was right! I was lazy then and I’d gotten too complacent in the last 5 years. It just took being with the same lovely woman (my wife) for the last near on 10 years, having a daughter, and getting knocked on my butt by life’s circumstances to WAKE ME UP. I’m sorry that it took this long. But I am so aware, so awake, so ready to take action now.

I feel like I’ve had a beckoning in my life and I am making moves to follow that calling. The most exciting part about the idea of the universe having a “gift” for me, is knowing that I have no idea what that really looks like. All I can do is what I feel God is putting on my heart. All I can be is obedient and trusting in his vision of my life. All I can offer is myself, in full pursuit of becoming a better man and working for a better tomorrow, now.

I hope reading this entry can serve you too in same way and encourage you to follow a similar path of self-betterment and self-realization.

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If you want to keep reading more from likelyfiction check out my post "Fighting In The Trenches" where I discuss climbing out of the holes we dig ourselves into and setting our sights higher to reach our own potential!


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