What does it mean to be whole? What makes us whole? Is it our careers and professions, our families, our friends, our interests, our passions, our health? Or, is it a combination of it all? What else is involved in our wholeness?
Many of us find ourselves on a rat race to find our wholeness, feeling something is missing, and hoping we can find it sometime, somewhere, somehow, and most likely with some person. Meanwhile, the answer is simply within us.
I have been on the search for my wholeness for years, until I finally figured it out. I did not come to the conclusion by myself. I read a lot, sought after guides, and teachers, and talked to people about it. And, I am not alone. This is something that many of us are in search for. Here is what I have figured out.
The Endless Search
I recently came across on article in The New Yorker called, “Improving Ourselves to Death” that talked about this fascination that we have with self-help and self-improvement, and the eternal search for our improvement (Schwartz, 2018). The point the article makes is that we are on this eternal search for something bigger, something better- a version of ourselves that makes us feel that we have reached our bliss. And, how we hope to get there changes with time.
Each era brings about a new perspective, a new approach. But these are just fads, the article argues. Starting with The Secret that brought to the forefront the Law of Attraction, and continuing on with everything that has come since, including the current round of health metrics that have been bombarding the wellness space. They leave us feeling inadequate, like there is something we are missing out on.
The article goes on to explain that our feeling of inadequacy comes from a combination of our human nature, which wants us to belong while simultaneously get ahead; our culture, which says we must strive to reach our maximum potential; and our economy, which pushes us to be better, and do so faster. The end result is we feel that we are not good enough, and thus fall into the latest self-improvement scheme, that ultimately does not work.
The article suggests additional books to help us feel more comfortable with ourselves, and less inclined to compare ourselves to those around us, so that we can relish who we are. She cautions that these too are fads, and that really, what we need to do is get away from the latest self-help fad.
Although I agree with a lot of what the article says, I believe it is missing an understanding of wholeness. It still does not address what we can do to make us feel that we are enough- to make us feel whole again.
Where Our Wholeness Comes From
We are whole when we are ourselves. We come to this Earth as individuals, all wonderful beings in our uniqueness, yet all connected. When we have the ability to be who we truly are, act according to our real nature, speak our truth, follow our hearts, and let ourselves be guided by our intuition, we are whole. But how do we do this?
Elements of Wholeness
Feeling whole is something that we need to work on. The last time most of us possibly felt whole was when we were kids and had no care in the world, yet felt perfectly safe and free. Of course, we cannot turn back time, and go back to childhood. We need to find this as adults. There are ways for us to connect back to our true nature, but it requires constant and conscious effort. I offer 5 elements:
- Be who we truly are- there is a simple exercise that I was taught a long time ago, to help us come back to our own identity, and that is simply to state the words “I AM.” All we have to do is say those 2 words out loud. Try it. Say it a second time, just for the sake of it. Two simple words that carry so much weight and so much meaning. They won’t transform you, but they will make you feel more comfortable in your own skin.
- Act according to our real nature- it means acting according to our true character, and not according to how others want us or expect us to act. All we have to do is place our hands on our heart, and ask, how it feels for us. Does it feel right or is there any fear, hesitation, tension, negativity that comes up? We should only act when it feels right.
- Speak our truth- we can speak what is truly in our hearts without causing conflict and offense. We simply need to speak with love, care, and affection, but speak the truth, whatever it may be. Speaking our truth helps us honor ourselves.
- Follow our heart- one of my very wise guides, Marcy Neumann, said to me, that our minds may lead us astray, but our hearts never will. We can go back and forth on pros, cons, and other lists, but ultimately we should do what our hearts “tell us.” If you’re not sure what your hearts is saying, go back to the steps above to figure out what that is.
- Let ourselves be guided by our intuition- all of these things that I am describing are ultimately about letting ourselves be guided by our intuition. Letting our intuition guide us means we are connecting with ourselves and acting according to our true nature. It means following our hearts.
We all get gut feelings, a sense in the pit of our stomachs about something that is happening in our lives- whether good or bad- indicating that we should move forward or not. Being whole consists of tapping into that gut because that gut is deeply connected to who we are, our true nature, our truth, our heart, and our intuition.
The connection to what keeps us whole takes effort. It is not about self-improvement, but rather about self-care. Keeping ourselves whole can be difficult, as life gets in the way. The daily dealings of family life; the routines of home, work, and school; the intricacies of our health; and the mundane qualities of our tasks and responsibilities can make it difficult. But if it is important to us, then we need to make the effort to connect with ourselves.
It is true we do not need to follow all of these self-improvement quests, but also there is nothing wrong if we do. What we really need is a few seconds to close our eyes and connect with our hearts.
My friend Faith provided another take on wholeness. Read here.
Schwartz, A. (2018). Improving ourselves to death. The New Yorker, January 15, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/15/improving-ourselves-to-death?mbid=nl_Daily%20011118%20Nonsubs&CNDID=45787878&spMailingID=12729067&spUserID=MjE5NDEwNDg3MDAxS0&spJobID=1321046653&spReportId=MTMyMTA0NjY1MwS2