Last month I was on the receiving end of a technique meant to help people feel better about themselves and their lives.
Well, maybe technique is the wrong word. You could probably call it a movement, since it’s gained many followers. And I was game to try it, at least once.
So there I was: Answering the questions. Committing to the process. And eventually coming up with the requisite insight.
But the thing is, the insight didn’t last. Not because I lost awareness of it, but because another insight floated up right underneath it. And then an inner voice called out: This is all about fixing you. And you don’t need to be fixed.
MAKING THINGS WORSE
So much of the self-help and personal growth industry focuses on what’s wrong with the human machine and how to fix it.
Got a screw loose? You better tighten it.
Engine running rough? Let’s tune her up.
Fluid leaking? There’s a quick patch for that.
But what if trying to fix ourselves actually makes things worse? What if it leads us into the trap of believing that there’s some right answer, a right way, to deal with the challenges of life? (Trust me, there’s not).
THERE IS ANOTHER WAY
Recently I learned that Carl Jung, the founder of archetypal psychology who was, somewhat ironically, also a significant influence on the field of personal growth, wasn’t too concerned about whether his patients overcame their problems, in the traditional sense.
Simply put, he couldn’t care less about techniques or tools or strategies or fixing things.
But he was interested in helping people look within to create deeper connections with their inner lives. He cared very much about heart and soul and relationship: transcending the boundaries of conscious life and getting to know the buried wisdom lurking way down in the psyche.
And, no surprise, with this approach people did change. But not in the self-helpish way we’ve been conditioned to think about change. Not in the I’ll-learn-to-stop-procrastinating way. Or the I’ll-whip-my-worry-into-submission way. Or even the I’ll-finally-get-myself-organized way.
No, this was different. This kind of change was about deep transformation, self-expression, and self acceptance.
And to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart, it was about embracing this truth:
It doesn’t take much to see that our problems don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that. Here’s looking at you, kid.
WHEW, WHAT A RELIEF
Let me tell you, from my perspective as a procrastinating, disorganized, worry-wart, this is indeed a relief. But it’s not really a surprise.
Because I remember that my procrastination takes a hike when I trust that my intuition will pull me through. And my disorganization doesn’t matter much when I’m in the flow of my creative nature. Not to mention that my internal worry-wart recedes into the background when I focus on the heart-centered bond I experience with clients, friends, and family.
To be sure, the problems don’t go away. They don’t get fixed. But if I’m honoring the inner life of my intuition, creativity, and heart, they don’t need to be fixed.
And they certainly don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Kid.
So here’s a question to ponder: which of your problems don’t amount to a hill of beans and don’t need to be fixed?
p.s. Here’s looking at you!