The Daunting Pursuit of Self-Transformation
Hello reader, I hope all is well with you in your life. My name is Alex Weber. I’m an architect, designer, and entrepreneur living in Boston, MA, and… I suffer from mental health issues on almost a daily basis. Anxiety, depression, fear and anger; they’ve all plagued me in some form or another throughout my young adult life. I’m definitely not crazy, and I never have been although some days it has felt like it. But, I do admit that I am deeply flawed like almost every other human being that’s been fortunate enough to be alive.
For so long, I’ve allowed my personal demons to haunt my mind, wreak havoc in my life and relationships, and hold me back from realizing my full potential as a human being. I recognize now that I’ve finally reached a crossroads where I NEED TO ENACT CHANGE and transform myself, or face the proposition of being unhappy, unhealthy, and unstable for the rest of my life.
The truth is, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or economic status, everyone is struggling with something on a daily basis, some worse than others. This is what it means to be human. Some of us struggle with insecurity; some with addiction; others lack self-confidence and self-respect; others are unable to escape the vicious cycle of anger, fear, anxiety, depression like me. The point is even people with the best life circumstances have issues that are trying to bring them down to a darker place.
As I’m just now starting to speak out publicly about topics related to mental health, personal growth, and self-actualization among others, I want it to be known not a qualified psychologist, therapist or life coach. I’m just a regular guy who’s looking to better understand himself and become a better person in the process. Hopefully, I’ll be blessed enough to have the opportunity to help others with their own problems along the way.
The Problem Is Within
From an early age, I always had a deep underlying desire to create positive change in the world. I didn’t know why I felt this way, or how I was going to do it, but I knew that I had something unique to bring to our society, culture and environment that could make an impact on other people’s lives. As I’ve grown up, studied in school and started my career, I’ve carried those lofty expectations into every aspect of my life, often biting off way more than I could chew. Though my motivation was coming from the right places, I would consistently find my life in a state of crisis because I was not addressing all the fundamental aspects of being a healthy and self-sufficient adult.
For so long I’ve wanted to be a great person who does great things, and leaves behind a legacy that is remembered long after my time. But in the pursuit of that ideal scenario, I’ve neglected doing the smaller, less glamorous things to make my quality of life better because I felt like they were just getting in the way of me achieving my goals. I complained that I didn’t have enough time to do everything I wanted to, and blamed the external forces in my life for taking me away from my true purpose. Though I was self-aware this was happening, I felt so much pressure bearing down on me from so many different directions that all I could do was try to escape the reality of my life’s circumstance. To cope with these issues I would then waste more precious time on useless habits and vices that would only increase my problems by keeping me in a vicious cycle of anxiety, depression, anger and self-hate. It may be a little dramatic, but the state of my mind over the past few years can be pretty easily summed up by the image below.
Step Out Of The Shadows & Face Yourself
I have a feeling that all of us have felt like the guy suffocating in that image. We live in a time where external forces compete for our attention like never before, and at the end of the day we’re human, and we can only take so much without our mind tipping out of balance. Instead of facing ourselves and dealing with the conflicts within, we seek to escape that confrontation because we’re afraid what we may discover about ourselves and the true reality of our lives.
I know now without a doubt that unless I’m able to address and resolve the deepest conflicts within my consciousness, I’m going to continue to bring chaos, turmoil and instability into my personal relationships and other pursuits in life. It’s like trying to get rid of pesky weeds out of your yard by pulling them up from just from the top. Though you’ll probably get the job done faster and make your yard look better in the short term, you didn’t get to the root of the problem so it’s bound to resurface and cause the same issues over and over.
Happiness (vs) Growth
In the first video posted this week on the Unfolding Destiny blog, my friend and business partner Numair Qureshi discussed the differences between happiness and growth. The guiding structure of his talk is a 3-point framework that has helped me better understand the corrupted mindset and habits that have been holding me back from being the best version of myself on a consistent basis.
- Bring your expectation of happiness back to baseline
- Be present in the moment and fight to free yourself from unnecessary distraction
- Happiness ≠ Growth
What I’ve realized through examining my life is that my mental state has been severely out of balance because of the disparity between my expectation of what “happiness” is versus the reality of my actual life circumstance. Because I’ve set the bar so high across the board, I’m never able to achieve that status of perfection. This “perfectionist prison,” as we call it, is a mental trap that I’ve used in my life to subconsciously tell myself that because something I’ve done or created isn’t good enough, I have to keep it internalized until it is ready to share with others. Over and over, I’ve made this excuse for why I won’t share what I’m working on with others, play music like I used to, or something as simple as having a conversation with a friend.
This insane mentality has held me back from being happy and present in my life, as instead of focusing on all the great things I have had going in my life, I’ve only been able to see the things I don’t have; the things I haven’t done; the places I haven’t gone; the people I’m not seeing. The truth is I could go the rest of my life without ever reaching any of those lofty aspirations, and I will have never shown anyone who I really am and what I’m really capable of.
I thought happiness was a state that could to be earned, and that once achieved could be held onto. It’s not. It’s an overarching mindset; a choice that is made in the present of each moment of everyday, and is not something that you can capture, manipulate or control.
By bringing myself back to baseline and working to remove useless habits and debilitating vices from my daily life, I’m starting to really feel the potential of this life like I never have before. Though the journey has just started, I at least feel like I’ve arrived on the threshold of a future where I have greater awareness and control over the external forces that try to influence my mind and the choices I make.
Be Proactive & Trust Your Destiny Will Unfold
So, what about you? If you’ve made it this far, you must be relating to something I’m saying, right? Some of you may already be masters of change, walking a healthy path of self-improvement and growth, but I know there are others out there still searching for the answers that will allow you to become the people you’ve always dreamed you could be. If you are one of those people, ask yourself the following questions:
+Are there aspects of myself I want to change or improve?
+How important is it to me to change or improve those aspects of my life?
+How will these changes potentially affect the people I care about and depend on me?
+Is it important to them that I change?
+What am I already doing to address these issues?
+What aren’t I doing that I could be?
+What obstacles are standing in my way?
+What’s the best thing that can happen in my life if I try to change?
+What’s the worst thing that can happen if I don’t?
Right now, I’m here to put it on the record that I want to change myself for the better. I know that if I succeed, I’ll be improving the quality of the people’s lives that depend on me and have to interact with me on a daily basis, and I’ll be teaching myself how I to help others enact change and achieve self-actualization in their own lives.
Going forth, each day I will work and grind to be the best version of myself, to bring others into my life not push them away, and to put as much positive energy and compassion as I’m capable of back out into the world. My personal mission is to spread only love, not more divisiveness, pessimism and misery. Only then will change begin to occur. This is my destiny, and for me it’s the only life worth living.
Get In Touch & Join Us On Our Path
Best wishes to all out there who are struggling with similar issues and who are fighting their own battles for change and growth. If you want to share your own challenges, thoughts, ideas, criticisms, please feel free to reach out and get in touch. I’m always down to connect with new or familiar people who are interested in improving themselves and the world around them. Until next time.
Peace and be well,
Chief Design Officer (Mixotype) & Content Contributor (Unfolding Destiny)
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