I have often found myself grappling with the concept of personal development. On the one hand, the idea of improving oneself and one’s life can seem appealing or even a manifest goal. But the suggestion that one is somehow not good enough in their present state, sucks.
This can be especially true for those of us who already face marginalization in society and the pressures of conforming to certain norms and expectations.
But what if personal development were less about becoming “better” or “perfect,” and more about returning to our most authentic selves?
What society imposes on us
As children, we are born into the world unencumbered by societal norms or expectations. We explore and experience life purely as ourselves. But, as we grow and learn, our upbringing, education, and society condition us. We internalize what society seems to find adequate and begin to suppress parts of ourselves that do not fit within these predefined parameters.
A journey back to YOU
I came to see personal development as a journey back to our true, unconditioned state. It is about unlearning what we have been taught and rediscovering our most genuine selves. It involves shedding the layers of conditioning that were placed upon us and reconnecting with who we actually are.
The pleasure of personal development
Of course, this process sometimes is challenging but, depending on what methods you use, also heaps of fun and pleasure. When we reconnect with our authenticity, we feel more aligned, fulfilled, and at peace with ourselves. We experience less stress and less conflict.
So, if the idea of personal development has given you pause, consider this: it is not about becoming “perfect” or conforming to norms imposed by the hegemonic parts of society. Rather, it is about returning to your truest self and letting go of the conditioning that no longer serves you.
As you read this, you may have already faced the challenge of being your authentic self in a world that does not always accept you for how you were born. But by embracing personal development as a means of achieving deeper self-acceptance and self-love, you can uncover even more of your extraordinaire and beautiful self.