“You are not something broken which needs ‘fixed’. Your are evolving into becoming ‘you’. Encourage yourself to grow by giving yourself self encouragement – positive reinforcement of the best in you. That way you will answer, ‘Who am I?’ and doubts about your self worth, by what you are continuously becoming.” – williamfergusmartin.com

Self encouragement is the royal road to self growth. Why do I believe that? Many people get into the habit of seeing themselves as something broken which needs fixed. The more we do think of ourselves in that way the more way do indeed find things in our selves which need fixed. It becomes endless…

We don’t usually look at a small seedling, poking its head out of the ground in the springtime, as something broken which needs fixed. We don’t judge it as bad or wrong, because it does not have any flowers yet. We know that will eventually happen, all in good time. And, if it doesn’t that won’t be the seedlings fault.

Yet we may well be judging the ‘seedling’ parts of ourselves as bad or wrong and trying to force their growth too soon, or in directions which are not healthy for us. We might be trying to make up for a supposed lack in our ’seedling’ selves when there is no lack, we just need time and encouragement to grow and flower. Trying to force those parts only causes them to become distorted or deformed which gives us even more ‘broken’ things which we feel we have to fix.

A flowering plant or a tree has a spiritual force at work within it. That spiritual force is taking shape in front of us as a physical object. The flowering plant or a tree has nothing within it to get in the way of it becoming itself. Whereas us humans have a self concept, or self image, which can get in the way of us becoming ourselves. Our self image is often based on what we have picked up from others in our formative years. These may well have been people who perceived themselves (and everyone else including us) as something broken which needed to be fixed. Our self image is self fulfilling so if we see ourselves as unworthy, not quite right, walking wounded, or just plain broken, we will tend to make ourselves into that. We will then scurry around trying to fix ourselves and our life. And, we will surround ourselves with those who will assist us in so doing.

There is not one answer to the question, “Who am I?” as we are not static; we change all the time. A better question to ask is “Who do I want to be?” or “Who do I want to become?”.

Perhaps “What am I?” is the best question of all, because what we are is an evolving being. The self who is currently asking the question, “Who am I?” has not grown into itself enough as yet to be capable of understanding the answer.

Coming back to our seedling earlier. We see a goodness at work within it. It is a mystery, but it is not a problem! We are also a mystery, but not a problem. When we confuse ‘mystery’ with ‘problem’ then we do indeed create problems for ourselves. There is a mystery at work within us. Yet we can have a practical relationship with the mystery by encouraging ourselves to unfold naturally.

Self Encouragement

We encourage ourselves to unfold naturally when we actively encourage our natural growth. We do this when we notice that we have done something which feels in line with our highest potential and congratulate ourselves and even rewards ourselves for doing that.

Self Encouragement means actively noticing and reinforcing the times and ways in which you express your natural goodness. By natural goodness I mean the things you do or attitudes you have which feel good and right in a sustainable way.

Self Encouragement can be:
Really taking time to acknowledge your ‘wins’ and what you did well.
At the end of the day looking back at what you did and patting yourself on the back or telling ourselves ‘Well done.” for everything which felt like you were expressing some aspect of your own goodness.
Sitting for a few moments and scanning your body for a sensation which feels pleasant and resting on that pleasant feeling as you gently and steadily breathe in and out.
When feeling hurt or offended by someone, take time to take care of your hurt feelings and exploring what your needs are rather than numbing yourself, or blaming and wanting to attack yourself or the others involved.

Self Encouragement can also be about giving yourself all the acknowledgement and approval you need rather than craving it from others. This can extend to deliberately and actively giving other people these things. You are then functioning from a feeling of abundance of acknowledgement and approval things rather than a feeling of lack of these things.

As well as those ways, there is a deeper form of Self Encouragement where we encourages our Soul to participate in our daily life. How does our Soul express itself? Our Soul expresses itself via spiritual qualities. What quality do you need most in your life just now? Is it kindness, compassion, or forgiveness? It may even be you need to cultivate some of the more dynamic qualities like boldness, courage or confidence which are just as ‘spiritual’ as compassion and the like. Through Self Encouragement, self growth becomes Self Growth – The growth of our larger Self, or Soul if you prefer. Self Encouragement is the ultimate in Self Help as we can the receive help from our larger Self – our potential which is becoming actual.

Often the qualities we most need to develop show up in the events and the challenges of daily life. We can decide to actively engage with life, and participle consciously in our own evolution, by deliberately cultivating the qualities that a particular situation demands from us. For example, I was once in a challenging situation at work where I was confronted by a boss I judged as ‘arrogant’ and ‘pushy’. Many other people judged him the same way, but that did not help resolve the situation. I eventually realised that he was expressing the very qualities of boldness and courage that I needed to develop – except he expressed them in an out-of-balance way. I deliberately and consciously started to cultivate more boldness and courage and the whole situation quickly transformed into something much better. (BTW, I did not need to have a direct confrontation with that boss in order to resolve the situation. People often respond to our attitude and eye contact without us needing to say a word.)

We need to undergo the Internal Climate Change which Self Encouragement brings to allow our true potential to flourish.

Internal Climate Change

As we learn to consciously participate in our own evolution our sense of ‘self’ changes. Our sense of ‘Who am I?’ grows and evolves too. We begin to see that we are a good and evolving being. We are discovering ourselves by reaching within and expressing our deeper self – partly due to inner awakening and partly due to the challenges of life. We cannot participate in the greater life which is emerging from within us, while we are busy fault-finding and berating ourselves. Exotic fruit does not grow in the frozen wastelands of the Arctic. We can only flower into our true potential by creating the inner conditions which allow that to happen. We become our true self as we undergo internal climate change and learn to encourage that better self to emerge. The practise of self encouragement encourages the highest and best within us to emerge and express itself in our daily life and transforms our experience of living. You answer the question. ‘Who am I?’ by becoming yourself so that you can find out.