concepts/darkside.txt · Last modified: 08 May, 2019 @ 4:19pm by Jan Viljoen | Approved (version: 1)

The Dark Side of Self-improvement

When we need, want and/or wish to changeImplying anything from self-actualization, growth & development, self-empowerment, improved psyche management to healing psyche wounds, avoiding traps, overcoming barriers and limiting derailers. something in our life - which we all doSome individuals just more often than others! - and we find that the time we have spend on and the effort that we put into our change attemptI.e. to deliberately develop, evolve or grow from where we currently are, to where we would like to be in future. are pretty frustrating, quite difficult and find that the result or outcome of our efforts are largely disappointing, it is quite likelyI.e. something that occurs more often than not. that we were lured to and functions in the realm of the dark side of self-improvement.

This transpire because of a deep seated and fundamental belief that there are something wrong with us and we are obliged to either repair or fix it. Often we ain't consciously aware of such a belief, but it is there and it effects us in everything that we do and attempt. It is a painful beliefApart from from creating an active Newton's Cradle Trap that normally results in future shock, such a belief also frequently manifest - in some kind or form - as an acute psyche wound. to hold. Fortunately though, this is a false belief, and unless we knowThus, being aware of, understand it in context and actually belief it to be untrue! that it is a false belief, we will remain in the dark of who we truly are and oblivious of what is actually possible in our life's.

When we belief that there is something wrong with us, we have a overpowering impulseAn impulse which - incidentally - is also enthusiastically encourage and promoted by society. and uncontrollable inclination to either fix or repair the problem in a futile effort to prove to ourselves - as well as to other other people - that we really are OK, worthy and that we have what it takes to be successful in life. Unless we become aware of and choose to change this false belief, any attempt to bring about change in our life's - regardless of what we are currently doing - will only leave a bitter taste. We, therefore, have to realize, understand and belief that no fix is necessary… because, we are NOT BROKEN, we are whole and…

The egg are not less whole than the chick, which - in turn - isn't less whole that the chicken, they merely are in different cycles of development. Thus, we ain't less wholeI.e. being broken and needing repair or fixing. when we feel unfulfilled, frustrated or less content in certain areas of our lives, we merely are at a point in our life's which either compel, call or appeal to us for greater self-fulfillment. We are whole, worthy and of course we have what it takes. We have what it takes to learn, grow and develop on a…

  1. physical,
  2. mental and
  3. spiritual level.

This is how we were created, it is our authentic beingness, it is in our DNA. We might be…

  • different
  • unique and
  • uncommon in many different ways…

BUT WHAT WE ARE NOT …is broken!

When we unconditionally cling to the false belief,That there is something wrong with us, that we are broken and in need of repair and/or should be fixed. any self-improvement initiative based on this belief will inevitably and subtly force us to entered the dark side of self-improvement. Within this realm of self-improvement, we are unbalanced and all kinds and various combinations of psyche barriers, life traps and self-actualizing derailers will manifest, flourish and have free rain to bamboozleThe so called Murphy's Law, which states… 'if something can go wrong, it will and usually at the worst time'. The identity of “Murphy” is unknown, but the saying was first used during the 1940's and may have originated with members of the armed forces in World War II. our life's. We think, assume and actually belief that the answers and solutions, to all the problems that we experience, lies outside of ourselves. This view of life, and foundation of our current GPS, in fact compels us to abandon ourselves…

  • our inner wisdom,
  • impulses,
  • hopes,
  • aspirations and
  • dreams.

Instead we go outside ourselves for solutions and place all our trust in the advice of others, especially specialists and professionals. We categorically accept and abide by common knowledgeCollective acceptable ideas, views, opinions, recipes and formulas. , rather than our own uncommon inner wisdom, we disregard our…

As a matter of fact, we fully surrender and give our personal power away to others and/or things around us. We eagerly take the necessary, needed and required step for self-development and -growth, but we feel hollow inside, unfulfilled, empty, devoid of purpose and meaning. Because we have abandon our true selves, we aren't fully aliveMerely a survival existence, which is characterized by stagnations and derailments and a job-centric umwelt. , things become hard, is difficult and - generally - it doesn't work particularity well for us. We have effectively dis-empower ourselves, when we choose to follow someone else's or a predefined path in life and not our own. This dis-empowerment is a sure sign that we have entered into and are stuck on the dark side of self-improvement.

Another important - self-improvement dark side tell sign - is the absence or lack of self-fulfillmentI.e. optimal self-actualization. . Any self-development and growth initiative, that no longer is directed by who and what we truly are and based on a belief that we are broken, becomes fixated and focused on the needed or required “FIX”… the end point, the goal the pre-defined outcome, the formulated expectation. We strive towards reaching that end point, because then we will experience - or so we falsely conclude - satisfaction and fulfillment, depriving ourselves from experiencing satisfaction in the here and now. And because of the false conclusion, we tend to compare, judge and criticize ourselves every step of the way - often unfavorably I might add - in terms of the end goal that we haven't reached yet.

When we deeply and unconditionally belief that - inherently - there is something wrong with us, we will continue to create the experiences that will re-enforce what we belief. It is depleting, diminishing, place us on a path of derailment & stagnation and a self-fulfillingfs x-small>I.e. optimal self-actualization.</fs> life path of development & growth, merely becomes an Utopian 'wishful-thinking' 'out-of-reach' fantasy.

But there is another way.

Remaining stuck on the dark side of self-improvement - as things usually goes - is a matter of personal choice and cannot be blamed on any circumstances, other people or events.

Please read the following “case studycarefully, because it is an explanation and illustration of the reality and toxic impact of the dark side of self-improvement…

Joe PublicA name often used to refer to or represents a hypothetical every man/women. was extremely unhappy in his present job, and - subsequently - with his unfulfilled life in general. He was frustrated with being stuck, when comparing himself to the many 'happy' and 'content' people around him. He believed that there was something wrong with him. He assumed that when he can find work at a company - who's vision and mission is more aligned with what really matters to him - that he would find life more fulfilling and meaningful.

So Joe promptly starts a job change process by taking all the required steps that most people collectively agree should be done, such as…

  • conducting a SWOT-analysis,
  • update his CV,
  • tweak his résumé,
  • compile a cover letter,
  • signing up for as many online job boards as possible,
  • contact and visit plenty recruiters and recruitment agencies,
  • create a LinkedIn profile,
  • select and contact family members, friends and colleagues to inform them that he is looking for another job,
  • attending different networking events and
  • make use of social mediaFaceBook, Twitter, Google+, …etc. to aid him in his job search strategy.

Joe actually dislikes conducting this job change process, especially attending different networking events, and would much rather follow a different kind of strategy. But - despite disliking it - he puts his nose to the grind stone and tirelessly muddles along, because he sets himself a goal of finding another job and was equally determined to achieve that goal as soon as possible, so that he could have a more fulfilled and meaningful life. Thus, to fix what was broken.

He finds the job change process interfering, difficult, frustrating and was overwhelmed and consumed by looking for and analyzing the many possible job prospects, submitting CV's and waiting/hoping for/attending job interviews. Joe got lost in the process, indicating that he lost the connection with himself, his longings, dreams, aspirations and - worse of all - the present moment. He was unable to actually seize the moment, because he was too worried about and focused on the future, and his thoughts was flooded with what kind of job he will be able to or might not be able to find, when, where and at what compensation. Joe was in a panic, stressed, felt helpless and extradited to circumstances. So, Joe decided to take some time-outA brief suspension of activities. and suspend his present job search efforts, allowing himself the time to deeply go within himself to reflect and to conduct a personal reality check. When he did so, he discover a few essential things. Joe realized that what he really wants - deep down and at that time - was to support his parents in the final stages of their lives. He remembered that he loved teaching, assisting and guiding people, and that he would like to do more of that. And most importantly, he realized how hard and unfair he was in his judgment of himself. Joe did see himself as a failure and that he should be doing things much better, a whole lot faster and more of what others regard as appropriate, fitting or effective. At that moment Joe grasps and understands that this line of thinking, will never get him where he would like to be… not EVER!

Joe begin to systematically change his perspective, and adopt the opinion of and relation to himself accordingly. Joe “discovered” how to…

  • listen to himself,
  • respect himself,
  • trust himself and
  • transfer his emotions and feelings into information that he can use.

He also understands that the ongoing habit of self-judgment, -doubt and -mistrust, is just that… a habit, a habit that is no longer serving him. He graduallyI.e one step at a time. learned to sense what is right for him, rather than to force himself to unconditionally adhere to a predefined formula of finding and securing a job. In essence, Joe discover how to stop pushing himself forward in unwise directions …and… realize that he has to patiently nourish himself forward.

In short… Joe's strategy WORKED!

Joe is now at peace with himself, genuinely happy and spend quality time with his parents. Joe founded, the shift that he underwent, to be profoundly healing and discover that journaling (i.e. writing) was amazingly satisfying and he even consider creating a blogA regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. or writing a book about the “transformation” he has experienced. An idea that he never would have entertained before. Because Joe no longer is in a state of panic, much more aware and present, he was able to recognize, make use of and benefits from opportunities that cross his path and fits him like a glove. For example… he realized, that with some basic training, he will be able to work as a human resources officer at the same company he is presently with. After a couple of meetings and a few discussions later, he took the leap and he is loving every moment of it and excited by the many challenges it offers. Although the salary isn't as high as he hoped for, it is more than enough to cover his basic necessities.

Joe Public's secret …?

Joe realized that there was nothing wrong with him, that he wasn't broken and that there was nothing to fix. He only needed to slow-down and listen to his own inner guidance, and stop forcing himself to do what others think is the best formula to follow.

When Joe was helplessly muddling along on the dark side of self-improvement, he believed that a new job would miraculously and instantaneously fix him, his life and that he would find and secure a dream job by doing the same things that everybody else does to find one… just a little better and faster than the competition does! But in the dark Joe couldn't see clearly, continuously judge himself as lacking, his progress as slow and way off the expected standard.


Joe re-discover and affirm how talented and passionate he really was, realized that his happiness and fulfillment - for him - by far exceeds the limiting opportunities offered by his job. Joe learned that his best guide to self-actualization and -fulfillment was himself. John is the expert and authority of his own life, just as we all are the experts and authorities of our own lives.

The self-actualization path that each of us follow in life, is completely unique and different from one another.

This doesn't mean that we cannot learn from other people… of course we can. Specially those that have already succeeded where we would want to succeed. We thrive when we connect with one another and are able to share knowledge, experiences and wisdom. But there is one important and crucial difference between learning from and surrendering our power to another person's formula for success. The first comes from a balanced sense of self-worth, and the latter stems from a sense of lack and a subtle not-being-good-enough conviction. We dis-empower ourselves, when we judge, perceive and regard ourselves as lacking and this self-created enslaving mind-set is serving others much better than it actually serves us.

Therefore, rather than asking yourself 'What do I need to fix?' …pause & reflect… and rather ask yourself…

  • What do I need/want to create?
  • What do I need/want to experience?
  • How do I need/want to grow?

When we are growth oriented, instead of goal oriented, we do experience happiness and fulfillment each and every step of the way, because we are gradually and steadily transforming into our own unique magnificence. While taking each growth step, we must be guided by our inner sense of what is right and what isn't right for us. We should really listen to our inner voice, always telling us what we actually need …and… we must continue to listen, because we really have what is takes to succeed and we already are what it takes. Just keep in mind that… We cannot get a plant to grow any faster by pulling on its leafs!

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  • Last modified: 08 May, 2019 @ 4:19pm
  • by Jan Viljoen