Sometimes when I try to explain to people the nature of this blog, I use the term “self help”. Generally you could say this blog is a self help blog and people know what topics to expect from such a site.
But what is self help and self improvement really? How can I make you help yourself? What does self help mean for our lives? And why do I write a blog about this? What’s the goal?
You see, there are thousands of self help websites out there. I’ve seen a lot of them. And most of them I don’t like.
However, what’s great about that is that it makes me realize what’s really important to me in a “self help” website. Well, if I think about it, my preferences about self help developed even earlier…
I started getting interested in self help material early in my life. When I was about 13 I got interested in psychology. That way I got in touch with pop psychology and that way I got introduced to self help. I got most of the material from our town library and with 14 I bought my first self help book (basically a book about leaving your comfort zone). The book was great but I have to say that this was the last good material I’d read for a long time. Exploring German self help websites on the internet made me realize how shallow the whole scene was. Basically, most of the content I found consisted of absolute trivial common sense rules disguised as helpful tips for living one’s life.
For example there was this newsletter about simplifying your life and one day the issue was “simplify your beach trips”. So the expert tips were things like:
- wear a hat
- wear sunglasses
- use sunscreen
Well, thank God for this issue – I’d never thought of that!
This was exactly the moment I stopped being interested in self help.
Years later I accidentally stumbled upon Steve Pavlina’s website. I was actually looking for ideas how to increase traffic for my blog AliceHive.de. When I was reading his article about how to build a high traffic website it was different than the dozens (hundreds?) of internet marketing articles I had read before. It was profound.
I was intrigued. I began reading more and more of his articles. At first only about time management, productivity and habits. Then I opened up to the crazier stuff: vegetarism, veganism, spirituality, intention manfestation, subjective reality.
His articles were different than anything I had found on the web before. They weren’t just lists with a bunch of superficial tips anyone could have written. His articles opened new perspectives for me. Some of those perspectives made me even angry! God was I angry when I found about the law of attraction! What kind of bullshit was that! Well, a few months later I had already given in and had become a believer.
I also started believing in self help again. The new perspectives made me perceive life differently. Life actually FELT differently. I started doing different things. I instantly became a vegetarian, for example, which made me feel better.
But what was the actual difference between his articles and what I had read before? Why did everything change suddenly? What had happened to me?
Well, what had happened to me was this: I had become conscious. I had started living my life consciously. And this is what made all the difference.
Tips about how to improve yourself or your life are good (if they’re based on experience and are not just fantasy talk) but if that’s all you’re consuming you will probably never really change anything. “Tips” are shallow most of the time. They don’t wake you up, they don’t upset your world.
I don’t write a self help blog in order to give tips or advice. I don’t have any advice for you. I mean, I probably don’t even know you! And if I knew you I still wouldn’t know what’s best for you.
What I want to do with this blog is help you live more consciously. You already have an amazing amount of enlightened consciousness inside of you and I want to provoke you to use it a little more. So, what does that mean – living consciously?
I think the easiest way to explain to you what conscious living is, is to explain to you what it’s not. Conscious living is not automated living.
Think about how you’ve been raised. You were probably raised to eat meat, you were raised to say “thanks”, you were raised to believe in God or to not believe in God.
Somebody who doesn’t live consciously will probably just keep living the way he’s been raised. He will keep eating meat, keep saying thanks and keep believing or not believing in God. Or he will keep living the life he adapted to automatically later in his life. Like somebody who becomes a punk because all of his friends become punks.
It’s like life gives you a situation and you adapt to it automatically without even thinking about whether this adaption would be a good fit for you or not.
When you don’t live consciously, you live like a robot. You will just keep repeating the patterns you learned. This doesn’t mean that you never change but it means that if you change you will change in an automated way.
Now, everybody has patterns they follow. But here’s the difference between a conscious person and a not-conscious person:
Somebody who lives consciously will at some point question the way he’s been raised. He will question the habits he adapted to automatically. He will question his patterns and programs.
However, before you even start questioning, conscious living means getting conscious of all those patterns in the first place.
Here’s an example of what happened when I got conscious:
Before I got conscious, I didn’t quite realize that eating meat was a choice. For me eating was a default setting that was never even questioned. Vegetarians (and worst of all vegans) seemed crazy and stupid to me. Of course I didn’t have any good reasons for this – I hadn’t even looked into vegetarism and veganism. It was just the default opinion of my environment that not eating meat was kind of stupid – so it was my opinion, too.
When I got conscious first of all I realized that eating meat was a choice I was making every day. I could keep this habit or I could install a new habit. In fact, there were a lot of different ways how I could change my eating habits if I wanted to. Instead of just judging alternative ways of living with my old standard patterns, I opened up to them and tried them out. I became a vegetarian for 30 days and found out that this new way of living made me feel much better. Now I’ve been vegetarian for more than 3 years.
Without becoming conscious I would have never made this change. And that’s only one of many changes.
Living consciously starts with becoming conscious of your feelings.
- How do I feel about my eating habits?
- How do I feel about my job?
- How do I feel about this relationship?
- How do I feel about my living arrangements?
- How do I feel about money?
- How do I feel about the world situation?
But it’s not only about how you feel. Feelings can have many meanings. As a conscious living human being you will want to find out why you feel the way that you feel. Our feelings don’t necessarily represent an universal truth, they always arise out of our individual perspective.
Why do you feel jealous?
Why do you feel bad about money?
Why do you feel in the evening better than in the morning?
Maybe you feel bad about money because it just isn’t for you. But maybe you feel bad about money because you have a limiting belief in your head like “money is the root of all evil”.
Getting conscious about how you feel and why you feel that way helps you a lot with the next step of conscious living: Making conscious choices.
The only way to ever break your patterns and live your life like YOU want, is to make the choice to do so.
In order to realize that, you have to think about this:
Every second of your life you’re choosing to live your life the way you do. As long as you don’t make conscious choices, though, you will automatically choose your old patterns.
So, if your old pattern is to eat meat, you will automatically choose this pattern UNTIL you make a conscious choice to do otherwise.
If your old pattern is to judge people by their appearance, you will automatically do that UNTIL you make a conscious choice to do otherwise.
And if your old pattern is to spend all your money on useless stuff, you will keep doing that automatically UNTIL you consciously choose to do something else (to live on a budget for example).
By the way, you’re not only choosing your behavior. You’re also choosing your perspectives, opinions and thoughts. There’s nothing neutral or objective about your perspectives, opinions and thoughts and you can, in fact, consciously change them anytime!
For example I had the perspective that the Law Of Attraction was bullshit UNTIL I consciously changed my perspective where I accepted the law of attraction as an integral part of the universe.
Doesn’t it feel liberating to know that you can change your behavior and your perspectives any way you want?
Conscious choices are not necessarily better than your automated patterns. However, living your life in an automated way is very likely to NOT bring the most desired results. You are so unique and special and any standard patterns and program from outside of you will never get you what’s best for you.
So, if you want to leave your automated patterns behind, how can you find out what’s the “right” conscious choice?
That’s the tricky part: When you’re living consciously 100% “right” and “wrong” doesn’t make sense anymore.
Living consciously means forgetting about the idea that there’s a rule book out there that can tell you how to live your life in a perfect way. Living consciously means that you realize that you’re 100% responsible for your own choices.
This ultimately makes you responsible for your own life. Just think about it: Your life is the result of your choices. If you’re responsible for your choices, you are responsible for your life.
Now, how do you make smart conscious decisions then if you’re independent from “the rules”?
First of all, by conscious feeling and thinking. Your decisions will always be made by your thought and feelings. So if you can keep your emotions and thoughts conscious, it will be easier to make conscious decisions.
Your emotions and thoughts are always limited through your limited experience, though. That’s why from my perspective it makes sense to constantly dive into new relevant experiences. I call this way of living “experiential living”.
When you live your life experiential, you approach your life a little bit like a researcher: You try out new things and basically test them. However, instead of using technical equipment to measure the results, you use your feelings and thoughts.
For example, in order to find out whether a vegetarian diet would be a good fit for me, I tested this lifestyle for 30 days. For 30 days I only ate vegetarian food and observed what changed and how I felt. After this test period it was much easier for me to decide whether I wanted be a vegetarian long term or not. I could base my decision on my own experiences instead of on the opinion of other people, on the articles of a random blogger or on modern (pharma sponsered) health trends.
A lot of people from the personal development scene use this “30 Day Trial” approach in order to be able to make more conscious choices. The beauty of the 30 day trial is that you don’t have to commit to the new change forever but only for a few weeks which makes it a lot easier to commit to it at all! Quitting alcohol is hard, quitting alcohol for 30 is not so hard.
Of course there are some things you might want to test longer or shorter. And there are things you might want to test several times in different scenarios. However, the idea of the 30 day trial is that you gain experiences that will help you to make more conscious choices.
But conscious living can even go beyond the experiential level. If you’re open to spirituality (and why wouldn’t you if you’re life your life consciously?) “living consciously” will have a whole other meaning to it.
There’s a wise part of yourself that is able see right through your physical patterns and programs and that will keep reminding you of who you really are. I’m talking about your intuition.
Everybody is intuitive. The problem is that most of us can not and choose not to hear the voice of our intuition. Compared to our thoughts and feelings, our intuition can seem like a silent whisper and often times the truth it has got to offer is not particularly comfortable (at one time it was constantly telling me to clean up my room; yeah, I didn’t really want to hear that).
This is again where “living consciously” comes in. You already got an intuitive voice, you just need to consciously hear it to benefit from it.
Now, it would be a little too much for this article if I started to tell you about developing intuitive techniques right now and I’m no expert on this anyway – so here are two great resources to get started if you’re interested:
As you see, living consciously means a lot more than just to read a few helpful articles per week and repeat a few positive affirmations every day. It’s not about finding someone who can tell you what to do, it’s about finding your own answers and preferences and taking full responsibility for your choices.
This is why I’m writing this blog: In order to provoke a little bit of consciousness in you. I don’t write this to give you advice. I write this in order to annoy you so long with my perspectives until you finally start getting your own perspectives. Until you finally allow yourself to show the world the beautiful, amazing and very unique being you already are. Expressing who you are starts with getting conscious about who you are. So get unique. Get conscious.