I need to get this off my mind
When I started working on this idea for the course, I knew what I did NOT want to do.
I do not want to offer yet another self-help course that tells you how you are in control and that you gotta stop with the victim behaviour.
I do not want to offer another way for you to become your own oppressor by making you 110% responsible for everything that happens in your life, and if you can't figure it out it's because you are not trying hard enough.
I do not want to take your money and tell you that the secret is...ta-da! Just love yourself!
Most importantly, I do not want to contribute to this thing that I cannot summarize in one word - the egotistical spirituality, the neoliberal idea of success, equating self-actualization with extreme individualism, productivity, and money for money's sake (for the record, I am still working on my relationship with money, I don't think it is evil, depending on the day it feels like a necessary evil or just a thing that enables me to do more interesting things. It's complicated).
I desire unapologetic self-love and self-acceptance so I can experience life to its fullest. So I can feel the entire range of emotions, so I can be "woke" but not so depressed about the current state of affairs that I decide to live on the sidelines.
To be clear, I am not doing the inner work so I can be a more productive member of society. A lot of the talk around perfectionism conveniently ignores the reasons why we struggle to uncouple our self-worth with our productivity...so we are just given band-aid advice and we are told to tone it down a bit, because we are going at a neck-breaking speed that will eventually kill us. But, we are not told that the entire friggin' track that we are on should be dismantled!
And you know what that is called? ADAPTIVE perfectionism. Google it. What a load of garbage.
So, I am ditching productivity as a metric because the way we measure value right now is exactly what got us into trouble in the first place.
I desire the capacity to imagine a better society, to use that imagination to create a life, though insignificant in the grand scheme of things, a life that left a little dent somewhere. And hopefully that dent created more wellbeing for others.
That's why I go into the rabbit hole, over and over again, curiouser and curiouser because the more you dig, the more you find out about your true self.
So what is the fucking point of your enlightment?
That's the question that I am answering now for myself - what does that look like?
I refuse to speak about my past and the whole time I've been under the boot of perfectionism as wasted time, or a waste of my potential. I was struggling with something that had deep roots, and I understand now that my discomfort was not because I was perfectionist. My discomfort was because MY SOUL was PUSHING BACK against things that my egotistical self could not understand.
It's like my conscious self was wearing this armor of perfectionism so I could survive in this world, but a part of me was having none of it. A part of me has been screaming "Fuck this" for a long time. But I wouldn't let it out, not completely.
It sort of manifested in my career choice. Science - a pure and noble profession. Then, going into biofuels research because save the world, am I right? As I became extremely jaded and gave up on our ability to prevent climate change from happening, I thought...well...what about the fact that there are millions of people around the world whose work conditions are really just a form of slavery?
I tried to get into that world, but it felt big and overwhelming to me. So I put that on hold. And frankly, I felt this way because there was a part of me that did not believe I could pursue that and also pay my bills.
Right now, this is what feels true to me. To write and put this out there. To go deep into understanding my coping mechanism and speak about what I know from lived experience.
I want to break how we see perfectionism.
I want to break how we think about achieving our potential. How we think about mental health.
I do not have all the understanding to perfectly frame this mission. How perfectionism is a tool so we become our own oppressors. How the way we treat perfectionism and mental illness is not a fluke, it is part of a bigger picture, a fantasy that tells us "Be your best" but also "don't you fucking dare to question the system, the problem is solely within you, go fix yourself so you can make us some money".
I know what I know because I am connecting more and more with that discomfort I have carried my entire life. I was ashamed of that discomfort, I saw it as a curse that made me walk on this planet as a perpetual outcast.
"It Is No Measure of Health to be Well-Adjusted to a Profoundly Sick Society"
- J. Krishnamurti
I'm working on it, on my understanding of the big picture. I am reading The Happiness Fantasy by Carl Cederstrom and it's a good start. He's painting the picture for me. I am not finished with the book, but it has been refreshing to read someone that helps you see through the veil.
So many things that we believe to be normal, healthy and true are actually distorted versions of spiritual/philosophical concepts that have been co-opted and turned into ideas that have no teeth. They are just edgy enough to make you believe you are woke, but all you are doing is participating in a narcissistic circle jerk.
I haven't been able to put my finger on this until now - I just knew that something was off. Something stank. But, I could only wonder who was insane, me or the rest of the world that believes that if you are poor is because you have somehow wished for it?
No wonder we come up with ways to cope. No wonder we are depressed, anxious and neurotic. No wonder we have such a deep fear of failure that we will work until we drop dead. Deep down, the fear of failure is the fear of existing in a world that doesn't have your back. Unless you are rich and privileged. We know that, and we may or may not acknowledge it, but that's why we strive so hard. So we are not left behind.
That's as far as I've understood in my lived experience.
And as far as answering the question on how I want to contribute, this is it. I write. I build this course. Let's see where it takes me. This is what feels true to me.