5 Ways to Support yourself on your Self-Development & Wellness Journey. | elephant journal

5 Ways to Support yourself on your Self-Development & Wellness Journey. | elephant journal

There is always seemingly “more stuff to work on,” that is constantly affirming, “I am not there yet.” 

But guess what? You are here now and there is a lot to celebrate in this moment. Berating yourself about how much more healing you need is a sure way to feel disempowered and make you want to hide under the covers.

The world is challenging enough right now with its many changes and it is has never been more important for you to know and affirm you are okay right now.

1. Acknowledge that the self-development path is on ongoing journey.

Celebrate that you are consciously choosing to work on yourself. You are choosing to create new patterns and behaviors and that is amazing! I don’t think any of us (okay, maybe except for the narcissists) will reach a point where we feel we have “arrived” and know all there is to know.

Life is unfolding each day in many ways and you are doing the best you can from that space. You are gathering tools, and it takes time to integrate these tools so they truly do become second nature, replacing how you might have reacted before. Love yourself now and take some time to give yourself gratitude for recognizing you want to make your life easier.

2. Recognize how far you have come and celebrate your successes.

You have made it through challenging times, learned tools, and wouldn’t be here if you had not shown up for yourself repeatedly. How have you changed and grown? Take some time—even two minutes—to close your eyes, put your hand on your heart, and give yourself credit for some way you have changed in the last decade.

I had an aha moment in the shower recently. For some reason, the hot water was disappearing and I was in the middle of a spiritual exercise that has a beginning, middle, and end. I was in the beginning of the middle and it would be another few minutes before the exercise was complete.

I truly despise cold water, but as the hot water was disappearing, I knew I wanted to finish my practice (I am a big believer in spiritual practices in the shower), so I consciously decided to stay put. I chose to be present with the cold water and tell the Universe there must be some reason the water was now cold and maybe I needed that refreshing feeling.

I know “old Jenny” would have been flailing, would have jumped out of the shower, cursed, and been upset that I could not finish what I had begun. But I patted myself on the back noticing, even in a condition where I felt extreme discomfort, I chose to be present and be okay.

You have done many things on this journey that deserve to be celebrated. You know if you did something you wanted to beat yourself up about, you would have taken that opportunity to do so. Why not take time to truly sink into a way that you have grown?

If you are always affirming you are not there yet, it is possible you are blocking the abundance, joy, and life awaiting you. Know that no matter your past, traumas, and life experiences, you deserve joy. If you are on this planet, you have had trauma.

As we work on ourselves, we truly are like that onion peeling, getting deeper and deeper to our soul at the core where that unconditional love always exists. Know you can tap into that unconditional love now instead of holding it as some “prize” you have to obtain when you have “done enough work.”

I have had trauma in my life and have heard of atrocious traumas through my clients, and we all deserve joy. Most likely, you have punished yourself enough for the past. You have allowed yourself to replay moments over and over that are uncomfy to say the least.

I would love for you to take some time, close your eyes, and put your hand on your heart, and bring to mind a time when you felt loved— maybe it was a pet that was cuddled up to you, perhaps it was a relative, friend, sibling, or significant other who made you feel you were special. It could have also been a moment in nature when you felt at peace and connected. Feel the love of that moment going deeply into your heart. 

Know you are worthy now, be grateful for showing up for yourself and the love you have experienced, and whisper to yourself, “I am worthy.”

Life is supposed to be fun. Somehow waking up every day and telling ourselves we are not there yet can dampen that sense of fun! 

Believe me, I have been there: six spiritual development books on my nightstand, three spiritual classes I am registered for, and an overwhelming sense of “duty” to work on myself. It can truly feel like a j-o-b!

If that’s all we focus on, that is not sending the right energy out into the world.

How can you bring joy into your life? Are you signing up for classes, reading books, and learning tools that excite and enliven you, or are you doing it because maybe this one will have the tool needed to “fix you?”

I often tell my clients that more important than the inner work is giving yourself permission to experience joy! When we experience joy we are saying, “You know what Universe? Life is pretty darn good here.” We are connecting with our soul and nurturing that part of us.

Please write a list of 10 things that bring you joy. This could be putting on a favorite song and dancing to it. It could be making yourself a cup of tea and reading a chapter in a book; it could be watching silly pet videos for 10 minutes, or going outside and taking a few deep breaths or going on a short walk.

When you make this list make sure when you read each one that you feel joy. Why 10? Because we become like stubborn toddlers sometimes, arms crossed saying, “But I don’t feel like doing that one right now.” Having 10 things on this list ensures one will resonate. Please take time to do one thing on this list every day if you can.

5. Less do-ing, more be-ing.

We can distract ourselves to no end with self-development work and tools. We can chase that spiritual moment we are waiting for and demanding from the Universe.

The most spiritual moments I have had have not come from being in a class or while reading a spiritual book. They have come in unexpected moments when I was present and not demanding anything.

The more you can get present doing those 10 things on your list or other things that make you know you are “here now” and you are not numbing out or do-ing the better. This can be meditating, it can be walks in nature, it can be simply sitting and not doing anything.

Remember those dazed out daydreams you allowed yourself as a kid? Allow those now. In this fast world, it can feel like we are failing if we are not do-ing something, but in fact, we are “allowing” when we are present.

Turn off your phone and if you’d like, set a timer for 2-5 minutes. Close your eyes and simply sit. Notice your thoughts, but do not judge them or get caught up in them. Give yourself permission to let them go for now—you can always come back to them later.

If you’d like, you can put your hands on your heart, or if you have a busy mind, you might try paying attention to your breath. Counting the in and out breaths but not judging. Noticing, be-ing, and allowing yourself to be totally and completely present. Thank yourself for choosing to take this time!

There is no finish line on the self-development path. You will gather many tools and hopefully a deep appreciation for the journey.

Gratitude for yourself and the journey, being present, and having a healthy dose of joy and self-worth will help you move in more flow along your path.

I am sending much love for your journey!

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