Blog: Self-development is addictive

The other day I had been working with an NVC-colleague on an old trigger of mine. I just had connected for about the twentieth time to that same old wound, had cried a lot and in the moment of arriving back in the ‘here-and-now’ I said: “Wow, this is so addictive, this self-development thing!” And we laughed heartily together.

And it’s true. Once I had started to go this path of learning how I tick, how I can connect to what is really alive in me, I don’t want to stop anymore. There is so much to learn, so many unexpected aspects to discover. And even when I meet this pain about ‘having to care for everyone since more than 47 years’ for the umpteenth time, again and again I find something new to it. Once it is the feeling lost and helpless of the three year old Katja’s pain of not getting the support she needs, but thinking she needs to support the people around her. The other time it is this restlessness of the impatient 47 year old, who doesn’t want to sit still in class, in meetings, in meditation, because she is so fed up with being the sweet, nice girl for 4 decades.

This experience of self-development is simply very addictive. Once you got the taste of it, you want more and more and more. Every next time has to get you that little step further, that little bit deeper, give you again that kick of self-connection. You start with a weekend course, then you want another one. You learn that there are so many situations where you would like to react differently. Every day you meet that moment of regret: I am still not good at this.

You read one self-development book after the other. And since that wasn’t enough yet, you start a year course with empathy-buddy meetings in-between. You think you’re getting the hang of it and at the same time start realising that day to day life serves you with countless triggers and you feel helpless to handle them all on your own. So you find a practice group to get support in connecting to yourself and with your colleagues or loved ones, e.g. to get your high, on regular basis. 

By then you have invested more than 2.500 euro in your addiction, and still it is not good enough. You look around for other courses like mindfulness, yoga, silent retreat or even tantra because there has to be a way to get self-connection 24/7. You visit an NVC-festival, or International Intensive Training and from there it get’s really bad. You find yourself an assessor and sign-up for certification. And still everywhere you look, there is another old wound to tend to, and a new conflict where you again reacted from your old pattern.

Sometimes it’s a sweet high for me and sometimes it’s not. I often feel angry, desperate, sad or lost on the way. And when I dive out of the process, there is this sweet moment of connection to my sincerely beautiful motives, seeing that I reacted this way because I wanted to fulfil these beautiful needs or values.

I am moving towards myself and not fleeing from a life I think I cannot handle. I grow in handling life situations. Learn how to act on what I need and stick to my own values. Step by step I stop being the nice person I think everyone expects me to be. “Giraffes are not nice people”, said Marshall B. Rosenberg. We say honestly what is alive in us. Even if it a ‘no’ the other doesn’t want to hear.

Bottomline is: you spend tons of euros, get in trouble with your kids who don’t get to see their mom at many weekends, you have endless discussions with your partner if this next course really needs to be joined and all you get for all this money and trouble is realising that you are a human being with limitations. And you learn that you are not in this world to be perfect, but to be progressively less stupid.

So trust me, it’s an endless story. Learn from my mistakes, don’t get started yourself.

Who am I kidding? YAAAYYY! This is the most awesome journey I’ve ever started! Wanna join me?

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