I want to talk about the subtext of the self-help culture. Amidst the promises and easy steps to improving something about yourself, the message implicit but buried is that you are not enough. You are not whole. You are insufficient as you are. This is a self-sustaining mechanism of self-help. If you really truly believed that you already are all that you need why would you look outside yourself for resources?
But the honest truth is that the person who deeply embodies that level of self-containment is supremely rare.
This information is not meant to get you down, however. Look at all the different layers of a deeply enculturated need for external validation we are given before our bones have even fully fused. We need the approval and support of our first tribe/family in order to survive. Then we go to school with the belief that the outcomes of our efforts there determine the next 40 years of our life. We have someone else judge our handwriting and math skills, but also the colour of our lunch bag, the brand of our shoes, the type of friends we make. Within those early contexts the stage is set for a life of believing we need someone else to tell us we are okay.
It is no coincidence that most of our structural ideas of the divine are about an authority figure who either approves of us or divvies out punishment .
We develop out physical bodies through cell division beginning as one piece that divides into numerous functionally different areas. We are physically always whole. Barring something like fillings, or a titanium hip we are always whole and always have all the components we need. So why is it such an intellectual (and I would argue, spiritual) leap to believe that our non-tangible self is whole too?
I think the culture of relating to others through our wounds is a big business and a difficult pattern to untangle but I know that my wounds don't define me. Most of you reading this know very little about what would therapeutically be called "my story" because it isn't my story, really. To be sure, the things that wound us inform our shape and reaction to experiences but they don't define us. So looking to self-development through a wound-specific lens is maybe a narrow perspective.
What I'd like is a community that reminds me that I am whole and I am all that I need and yet I am part of something much bigger than just me. My form and experiences change and shift and so does my perspective. But personal evolution is too slippery a thing to be defined so simply, unlike what many self-help resources would like us to believe. If it was really true that in a few steps, or with the purchase of certain tools we could become all powerful, why does it seem like more of us feel less empowered on our own healing journey.
I will do my best to remind you of your wholeness and I ask that you do the same for me.
For more thoughts on healing and being a whole being :