Moving Beyond The Self-Improvement Trap With Steve March (Aletheia Coaching)
Understanding self-improvement vs self-unfoldment
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Our society is obsessed with self-improvement.
This was a major feature of how I related to reality for most of my life.
As helpful as self-improvement can be, it also has a major shadow side that largely goes unexamined.
Implicit in the pursuit of self-improvement is that there is a deficiency; that whatever or however you’re being is in this moment is not whole or complete. This keeps you grasping in a seemingly endless treadmill without ever reaching an enduring sense of completeness or fulfillment.
Most people don’t really even know there is an alternative to the self-improvement paradigm which is partially why the predominant narrative is what it is.
One of the big ideas that Aletheia centers around is the distinction between self-improvement and self-unfoldment. The unfoldment paradigm presumes that you are already whole and advocates for making contact with the Self by learning to work with what is arising in the present moment. When we make this shift, we find that we have an abundance of inner resources that we can use to skillfully navigate a complex reality.
Self unfoldment is a very different way than most humans live today.
When we start towards embodying self unfoldment, there are all kinds of subtleties for how we relate to reality that begin to reveal themselves. One of these distinctions is the difference between a technical attunement vs. a poetic attunement.
Our attunement is how we relate to the world.
Technical attunement is when we view the world through the lens of everything having a reserve capacity. Think of it like looking at everything around you as a tool or means to an end. You end up viewing people, relationships, and life as instruments to complete jobs, typically oriented towards the advancement of self.
Poetic attunement is very different. It’s when we do things for the sake of doing things. When you’re reading poetry, you’re not likely not trying to advance yourself in some way. The motive is in the experience of the act itself.
Steve and I both agree that we have over-shifted towards technical attunement as a society and that humanity would probably benefit from learning to incorporate more self-unfoldment and poetic attunement.
Some of my other favorite ideas in this conversation include:
Why self-improvement on its own can be a trap
Striking the balance between self-improvement and self-unfoldment
How to practically to embody a more self-unfoldment experience
Understanding how solutions and support often arise when we allow them vs. exert force
How shifting our attunement and unfoldment might be an answer to our current metacrisis
Overall, I love what Steve and Aletheia are putting out in the world.
It seems that despite the story we tell ourselves about how much we’ve advanced as a species, the way we relate to life doesn’t seem to be working quite as well as we'd like.
If it was, I think the current state of our mental and physical health, as well as our ability to live in harmony with each other and the earth, would be in a more sustainable position.
Aletheia offers 3 introductory training a year. I am considering taking it. You can find more details here.
I hope you enjoy this conversation!
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