January 22, 2024•673 words
I am often catching myself reading about self improvement, and averaging out varying perspectives of what "self" means, and how one goes about improving it. One perspective is that there is no true self, that your life is perfect as it already is and the idea of improving who you are (your ego) is an illusion. I used to think this way until I started weight lifting. When you only ever think about your thoughts themselves, there is sort of an invisible cage where you look around and say "I need to get out of here", as if your mind was a house and you need to go outside to free yourself from the 'shackles of materiality' in order to become enlightened. I personally used to meditate as a standalone practice and while it aided me to be a calmer person, after some time I found myself just as depressed as I always was. My life only became less depressing whenever I fixed my diet, cut out most sugar, stopped drinking, and picked up some weights. Doing those things while sitting in my room pretending like I'm reaching mental enlightenment was me ignoring the fact that I was physically living a horrible life.
In part of my journey about reading about self improvement, I would read "if you do too much of one thing, it will burn you out, even if it's a good thing", which sounds logical, right? I mean if you drink too much water you can become sodium deficient and die. If you do too much cardio you can break down your muscle tissue, if you even have any. If you study too hard, holy shit you might become a doctor, and we wouldn't want that.
These are all bullshit excuses frankly. These statements and ones similar to them come from people who are trying to stop you from living a better life, and most likely come from people who aren't improving their life to start with. How many people do you actually know who live their life doing all the right things, and consistently do too much of it to the point where it keeps them from doing the very thing that they're doing too much of? I don't know any, because that would be a paradox. The only way you would be able to do too much of a good thing is if you are already living a life doing too much of the wrong thing, which is where your identity comes in.
Consistently doing too much of a wrong thing (I don't need to tell you what it is, it's your life, you already know the things I'm talking about) trains you to identify with those things. You say "I'm a drinker", "I'm an obese person", "I'm a twink"- oop. In any case, whenever you try to change your behavior to become someone new, you're left with the question: who am I. If behavior is linked to who you are, changing your behavior essentially deletes your established self-identity. Here's a cheat code to circumnavigate this problem: link good behaviors to a secondary identity before actually changing your behaviors and deleting the initial identity. In programming this is called "forking", where you duplicate a project's initial code and change it to suit the use case of the new project. There's a meme in the programming community of people pushing everything into production on the fly as they change the code, and analogically when you're changing who you are, you shouldn't want to do this because it can result in the application failing to launch. Don't fail to launch understanding who you are.
If you follow these directions, you will start saying "I am a person who drinks", "I'm a person living with an obesity problem", "I'm a person who doesn't eat enough protein". The start of the sentence initiates a base of saying that you are separate from the problem you have, and by deleting the problem, there is indeed a person left who can find a solution.