I was told by someone at the beginning of my journey that the Self-discovery process is a selfish one. To those outside of this very personal process (everyone!) it may well seem like a ‘selfish’ time. For once we’re starting to put our needs first, and maybe we’re not playing by the well-established rules and dynamics any more. It can be hard for some people in our lives to accept this, and so I can see why on some level the Self-discovery process may be seen as selfish.
BUT I would argue that, on a larger scale, it is probably the most responsible thing we can do. While it may cause problems in the short term, and with established relationships or situations, in the long term it means we will be showing up with far more honesty, integrity, responsibility for our own emotions, and inner Knowing. It means that we will be making better choices, taking more informed actions, showing up for what truly matters for us, and disengaging from that which is unhealthy, unhelpful and stifling our true Self.
It will always be a work in progress – there is no end date for this – but by concentrating on undoing conditioning and programming, by detaching from unhealthy patterns, behaviours, situations and relationships, we get to show up for ourselves. In doing so we stop looking outside of ourselves to apportion blame and we look within to the lessons we can learn, and how to heal and move forward. We take responsibility for what is ours and discard the rest. We learn, we grow, and we Become.
Discovering the Self is not selfish. It is the most responsible thing you can do, not only for yourself but for your relationships – past, present and future – and for all those who cross your path.
Something to ponder on: would we be called selfish for taking a gap year? How about if we went on a spiritual retreat? Or what if we were going on an open-ended foreign trip? Of course we wouldn’t. So why is it deemed selfish to devote time to Self-discovery? Perhaps because the people in our lives know we may ‘come back’ from this irrevocably changed. It is their fearful projections that turn the journey to the Self into a ‘selfish’ pursuit.
We may well have very real responsibilities (children, a job, a partner) that we must not forget in our quest, but we cannot allow the fears of others to hold us back or discourage us from walking as far as we can along our pathway. It is our right to walk our path, and no one else has the right to stop us or try to hinder our progress. If they cannot accept our growth then perhaps they are not meant to walk beside us any longer. The paths that once ran parallel may now diverge.
Sometimes the journey to the Self means saying goodbye to people, behaviours, things and situations that no longer feel right to continue with us. It doesn’t mean those were ‘bad’ things, necessarily, but that who we are no longer resonates with them.
To those who feel left behind it can feel like we’re making a selfish choice, but really it’s the only choice. If we’re to live a life of true self-worth and integrity we have to be true to our Selves. Dimming our Light and continuing old patterns cloaks the Self. It may make others more comfortable but ultimately we are chaining ourselves to the same old cycles, and this can breed resentment. Only by taking time to discover the Self can we break free, and sometimes this means being ‘selfish’ and moving on to other things.