What If You Can’t Fix Yourself?

Self-help gurus, personal development pundits and even psychologists say you can change your life. But what if you can’t?

Image of a blue plate smashed on the floor for article titled “What If You Can’t Fix Yourself” on The Reflectionist

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Self-help gurus, personal development pundits and even psychologists say you can change your life. But what if you can’t?

Welcome to The Reflectionist, a daily dose of reflection on the nature of the self, personal reality, creativity, life and work, submitted to the public record for posterity. Read personal essays and articles on the psychology of creativity to help you nurture and broaden your creative prowess.

I think it was 2009.

Standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom, frustrated with my personal and business conditions, I screamed at what was looking back at me.

Joanne and the kids were out so the pretence I had been maintaining could be dropped for the night.

I’ll write on this extensively one of these nights, but for now, suffice to say I embarked on a journey to achieve goals, head goals, and failed.

After that, I went on another escapade, but this time I wanted to save myself.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can see today that all the effort I made to change myself, to rectify my conditions, failed.

In fact, my effort just made things worse.

The harder I tried, the deeper I dug the hole I found myself in.

So I then did the only thing I could.

I stopped.

I gave up.

Then circumstances began changing for the better. It was a spontaneous sequence of occurances that gradually over days, weeks, months and years, began to get better.

Interestingly, the doing of stuff, the attempts to fix me were working counter to how the experts said they would work.

Those fuckers didn’t have the answers that I thought they had, that they thought they had.

I had them.

Or rather they were they available to me and all I needed to do was nothing.

And so the realisation of the paradox occurred to me.

As the poet William Blake said;

The fool who persists in his folly will become wise

In the same way that we can’t pick ourselves up by our own shirt collars, we cannot fix ourselves.

The reality I have come to know is that there is no separate good me that can fix bad me.

The notion is absurd.

We can speak theoretically of these separate selves, but the fact of the matter is that there is just me — a single entity. And my observation of myself is me too; awareness.

Change is spontaneous, so give yourself a break.

And when you figure that out you’ll laugh your head off.

Spontaneous Laughter
Spontaneous laughter came on me
The evening late as I contemplated thee
Alone in the quiet of my solitude

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