The secret to truly changing yourself

When I was in middle school, I noticed that I was smaller than most of the other kids. And I hated that. I hated my skinny arms and legs. So I started lifting weights. And eating… and taking supplements. I got bigger, but I always found fault. Even throughout college, I compared myself to other guys.

For years, I forced myself into this lifestyle until it became a habit… until one year. I stopped working out. I had met someone, the first person who showed care for me. We moved in together. I soon realized that I had never been training for me. Now, years later, I exercise for myself, for the good feelings I get. And I focus on getting fit, not big.

Changing something in your life means taking control. And where does that control come from? Your personality, values…your attitude, right?

So the first step in changing our actions is finding out what values are driving them. Is it because we’re unhappy with ourselves? Because no matter how much you “improve”, you will never become happy with yourself if you’re not already content with life.

Once you gain this self-awareness, then whatever changes you want to make aren’t hard, because…well…because you want them. When my goal changed from getting validation to being fit, it was almost unconscious. I didn’t obsess over becoming healthy. I didn’t hold myself to a strict program. I didn’t read books about why it was better to be more fit. I didn’t do those things because I didn’t need to do those things.

A measure of the value of a goal is how much you want to do the grunt work. But if the drive to change comes from inside you, you will embrace the grind and it will cease to be one. Facing the challenge of something new will become exciting, not paralyzing. The sacrifice won’t feel like a sacrifice.

But it won’t really work if you’re doing it because you think you must or you have no choice. You can’t do it if fear is driving you, or if you’re forced to.

People do change. We evolve. Just don’t force it. Evolution is natural. Other people and your environment can supplement a change in your values, but the truest values, the ones that drive us to do the right thing, always come from the inside.

So what’s the secret to really changing yourself?

Let go of what you think you need.

Free yourself. Because no one else will.

We were meant to evolve. And we have the self-awareness and freewill to do exactly that.

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The sound of inevitable death

Agent Smith was right. Death is inevitable.

Neo lived here, but he did later die. I am going to die. You are, too. We’re all going to die. We all will cease to exist one day. It is inevitable. All the bad stuff that happens to us will pass. The good stuff, too. Focusing on any of that while death looms is silly when you think about it. We win the lottery everyday when we wake up in the morning with the ability to perceive our surroundings and make conscious choices about what we want or where we want to go.

I remember feeling like Neo not long ago, when I woke up from my Matrix. I had been following a life that others had constructed. I had values, but they were borrowed. I had causes, but I was only using them to bring meaning to my life. And so awake, I was able to see I was far from the person I wanted to be. I was pretty disgusted when I’d finally lifted the covers I’d thrown over the sordid mess that was my personality. All I did was judge myself and other people. I was such a pessimist I don’t know how anyone wanted to be around me. Listening to your internal dialogue is so powerful, but it can be depressing!

So this was hard. But it’s been even harder to accept myself. Actually, I might never fully accept myself, but that is a goal of perfection: Realizing we are imperfect and not worrying about it.

A great way of pushing thru realized imperfection is pressure

Back to Neo. He was facing some pressures in the real world. He’d just taken the red pill, instead of the blue pill, and woken up from a virtual reality world of a comfortable life. He finds himself in the sewers of a city, being chased by robots. Just as Cypher, one of the other human refugees from the Matrix told him: “I know what you’re thinking. Why oh why didn’t I take the blue pill?”

Cypher wanted to escape the real world and go back to the Matrix. I think we all feel that way sometimes. We want to hide behind a fierce attitude, the pride in our career, the pleasure in a partner or our children, or a respectable cause to fight for. Instead of facing reality, we find it easier to escape it, placing importance on things or gaining value from other people when that value should originate in ourselves.

I think the pressure to survive helped Neo. This is a pressure we don’t have. Consequently, we can get distracted, or we can become so focused on doing the right thing, we become overwhelmed by the task. I’ve awakened from the distractions, but I’m still overwhelmed sometimes.

Whether we’re distracted or overwhelmed, we need to keep the inevitability of death in our heads. This will bring about the gratitude and the focus on the here and now, and once we’re focused, we’re not worried about needing anything from anyone. We start controlling our lives, instead of letting others do it for us. We are better able to make ourselves happy.

The sound of inevitability: It’s good to hear that sound to put things in perspective.

I was confirmed at Catholic mass



I attended a Catholic mass last Tuesday and heard the Bishop of Columbus speak. He said something that has changed my view of religion in a deep and meaningful way. In fact, after he confirmed the class of young people, he confirmed my formula to power.

In conclusion to his talk, the bishop said that unless you know, love, and serve God, you cannot be happy. I found it important that he concluded by mentioning the key to personal happiness.

So God brings us happiness…but how?

I thought about this and realized that God has absolute power. We do wrong and he tells us to accept him as having this power and he will take away that sin. Fault is our feeling from doing wrong. If God takes away that fault, we can be happy and that’s the only way we can be happy.

So why are people, both Christians and others, still unhappy?

Christianity is misused. Some followers rely on others for their connection to God. Their minister, their priest, other authority figures. But Chrisitianity tells us we need a personal relationship with God.

There is another misuse: We help others before we help ourselves. We feel good about ourselves through these actions, but Christianity tells us that the crux of finding happiness isn’t through our actions, it’s through recognizing we make mistakes and are imperfect. And this knowledge, not action, is where we must start:

We must accept ourselves

Religion fails -rather, WE fail- when we jump ahead of this state of mind: We fail as Christians when we think going to a church and giving to others will make us happy. We cannot be happy unless we know ourselves. Knowing God and knowing ourselves is the same thing. The saying God is love makes sense: When we know God, we love ourselves despite being imperfect.

But God cannot accept our guilt, only we can. The Bishop did not say God knows us. He said WE must know God. That’s why when we’re unhappy, it’s not God’s fault. It’s our fault. And once we accept this fault, we accept responsibility for ourselves. We lose that ego, we lose that worry. We become free and empowered.

Once we’re free from worry, we immediately become connected to others, because we see that everyone else is imperfect, too, and we’re not separate from them. And we see that when we don’t help them, it’s like not helping ourselves.

Freedom and connection are the consequences of accepting our imperfection. And freedom is happiness.

The Bishop was correct that we cannot be happy without knowing, loving and serving this idea: Accept your imperfections.

I thank the Bishop for confirming this in me.