My experience and my own personal transformation has led me to the identification of four steps in the process of transforming oneself.
Personal transformation is normally triggered by painful events in one’s life. Something happens and we reach a point when we’re either forced or we willingly choose the brambly path of evolution.
We recognize some things in our lives don’t work anymore and need to change, we start actively questioning our beliefs and thought processes, and we’re open to learning new concepts and incorporating new philosophies.
We embark on a whole new journey of self-discovery, re-evaluation of our life principles and setting new structures and patterns of being and behaving.
Step One: Unravelling the Stories We Tell Ourselves
This is the end and the beginning – we’ve reached a certain bottom in our lives and we say “no more” – we consciously start asking questions and looking for answers deep in ourselves.
Internally, we’re willing to look into painful issues and dig deeper into our inner knowing, we disturb old memories and start looking for buried clues. Externally, we start looking for help and support, knowledge and understanding. The activation process has started and we’ve dived somewhere we’ve never been before, willing to come out on the other side of it.
Often this process feels like being in a fog, in the darkness, in a tunnel. Often you can’t yet see any light, you’re in the thick of it.
Now you start knowing yourself better, you gradually start accepting yourself with all the bumps and bruises, you start seeing yourself for who you truly are. You understand where your beliefs come from, you’ve traced your path backward to your childhood – you see your parents and their roles in your life more clearly.
You free yourself of any false stories you tell yourself and any beliefs you have about your own self and others.
This internal quest can often lead you to realizations about your past lives and any past traumas you may still be holding.
The external aspect can include talking and sharing more openly the process you’re going through with other people and your surroundings.
This is the hardest step when you close your eyes and you jump off a cliff not knowing whether you will land safely. This is the moment of truth when you say to yourself you’re not going to lie to yourself anymore. This is the moment when you’re most courageous ready to face your biggest fears and walk into the darkness.
No wonder it’s also known as The dark night of the soul.
Step Two: Finding a Healthy Way of Expression
Step one is messy, it’s chaotic, it’s literally sh*t all over the place. Almost everything we’ve known and believed is ripped apart and thrown out to stand the test of light. We’re vulnerable, wounds open and bleeding, often crying and shedding episodes of suffering.
We’re in the jaws of the beast. The beast that’s inside us. With the tough task to become best friends with it and love it unconditionally.
In that challenging moment, it’s extremely important to let ourselves do something we love or something we’ve always wanted to do but we’ve never let ourselves do it. To find a healthy expression of all the tension and turbulence that’s going on inside of us.
We need to let the steam out, direct it and put into something we love – writing, dancing, ice-skating, drawing, and pottery-making. Something that makes our souls cheer. If it’s hard for you to think of anything, try remember what you loved doing as a child, what specific activity was igniting your soul.
There’s always something and we can very well think we’re bad at it now. Remember the point is not to be perfect, even good, the point is to let yourself remember what that thing is and just let yourself experience it again.
You need to gift that to yourself, to give yourself permission. And put all in it. It will certainly help and speed your process of coming out of that beastie’s mouth. That beast actually wants you do to exactly that and it will bow to you in eternal love if you do.
In fact, this beastie is that suppressed part of yourself that’s been tucked deep down and not looked at for a long time, and regarded as something bad that has brought us into trouble.
Whereas, during all this time, it has been your dream, your true self, your unique way of expression. Don’t be afraid and come back to your innocence.
Allow yourself to be what you dreamed to be as a child. Practice in a safe way at first and slowly grow your commitment and confidence.
You’re starting to come out of the thickest darkness, you see a spark of light.
You’ve cracked open and the light is starting to come in.
Step Three: Creating a Life According to Your (Newly Acquired) Values
Life will change for you – your values will be different, you will start making out your priorities in life and you will know with time what changes you want to make in your life.
You will start gaining new clarity. You will be out of the fog and out into the open field with new horizons ahead. It’s likely you will be at a crossroad and have to make decisions.
But your past will be behind you and with this you will have acquired a huge amount of knowledge and wisdom. The wisdom of knowing yourself.
This is still a process and life always is a process. We haven’t achieved some sort of end-result or perfection. Far from it, we will be learning constantly from now on.
We will be better aware of our own internal processes, thoughts, patterns and weaknesses. But we will know to be gentle and accepting of every part of ourselves – integrating them into wholeness.
At this stage you will want to redesign your life in a way that it supports your new understanding of self and the world in whole.
This could include physical changes as well, such as change of place of living. Or it could be incorporating changes within your closest relationships. Most likely it will be both. It will certainly involve a change of how you treat yourself and how you meet and respond to your needs and desires.
You will construct your environment in a way that supports your new way of feeling and perceiving. And you will structure your daily life so you open more space and time for the things you want to do.
You will eliminate out of your life everything that’s outdated and not serving you any longer. Anything that’s been holding you back.
And you will start actively pursuing your new way of being.
You will make that your primary way of being and relating to the world and you will seek more and more opportunities to share your knowledge.
You will want to take the next step:
Step Four: Quiet Confidence
Well, this is where we’re all headed. A place of beautiful strength, with your feet grounded in the earth and your eyes set upon the stars, emanating light.
Do you recognise any of these steps within your own journey? Do you see yourself in any of these stages of transformation?
P.S. If you’re in the midst of a crisis or just embarking on a transformation journey, you may be interested in 4 Things I’ve Learned from Going through a Crisis.
The article was originally written for and is featured on TheSeeds4Life .