3 Things You Need To Know Before You Embark On Self-Development Work
As a Reiki master and energy intuitive, clients come to me for guidance and energy work as they navigate their self-development. Some are at their personal rock-bottoms and are just embarking on their path, while others have been chipping away for years and need help releasing pieces they can’t tackle alone.
Through my professional lens as well as my own foray into the depths of inner work, I’ve come to know one truth. There are countless resources out there for people who want to change their lives, but what is lacking is an honest conversation about what you can expect once you start this work.
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Difficulty in Self-Development
Self-development, especially in a spiritual nature, is incredibly difficult. If it were easy, the self-help industry would not be nearly as robust as it is. Many professionals are in the business of making money, so why would they be upfront about the fact that the programs they offer can quite literally bring you to your knees?
When you start to go below the surface, you’ll immediately withdraw from the process because what comes up can take you by surprise and make you want to run back to your comfort zone.
Because I have been through the trenches myself and received fair warning about what I was getting myself into, I anticipated the temporary meltdowns and self-identity crisis that stemmed from my inner work. Note that I used the word temporary, because what you will experience is just that. Here are three things you need to be aware of before you embark on self-development work, because if you go into the rabbit hole armed with this information, your chances of coming out on the other side with renewed clarity will be much greater.
From Worse to Better
At some point, things will feel like they are getting worse before they get better.
If you have ever modified your skincare regimen to something more rigorous, you’ll know that there’s often a purging that happens and your skin will get worse before it starts to clear. Spiritual self-development can often show up in a similar way; the first few layers will be met with enthusiasm, but once you commit to the process, you may feel like your life is unraveling.
When we do heavy spiritual work, we shift our energy. We’re actively releasing stagnant energy, ideas, and behaviors that no longer serve us, and when that happens, our energetic systems go through a recalibration. The structures we have spent years building and maintaining as a way of protecting ourselves will start to crumble.
This is when most people take a look around and run in the opposite direction. If you do not go into the process with this in mind, you’ll assume you did something wrong and it’s already terrifying to dive into these depths so running will feel like the best option. If you notice that this is happening to you, know that you are engaging in a method that is highly effective and worth your time, so hang in there. Don’t be afraid to lean on a professional for tips or validation if you are going at it alone, and if things feel too intense, it’s okay to slow down.
All of Your Relationships will Change
Again, because you are shifting your energy, you’ll be affected in a different way than you would have been even one month before getting into this work. People you could tolerate in the past will likely feel unbearable. Relationships that were hanging by a thread will no longer be able to survive. This can be jarring, but in the long run, life is too short to feed into people who do not nourish your soul. Release can be painful but remember that holding onto someone who depletes you doesn’t just hurt you, it hurts them, too.
On the other hand, the relationships that don’t drift away will start to thrive. You’ll find that you are able to more deeply connect with certain people and the quality of those relationships will increase tremendously.
You’ll go through a period where you’ll question your identity.
When we think of self-development, we usually think of enriching our lives and getting to the root of our authentic selves. What we don’t typically reflect on is the fact that, in order to get there, some things need to first get stripped away. Even though you are walking away from people, behaviors, and thought patterns that don’t serve you, these things made you feel safe and brought you comfort, negative or not. You’ll need time to explore what brings you joy and to test how these new things coalesce with your recalibrated energy.
The best thing you can do is keep an open dialogue with your body and be honest with yourself about what genuinely feels nurturing and expansive.
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