Becoming your Highest Self

If you have read my previous post about breaking the system, and you are ready to get out of the system and become your highest self, this is the post that will show you how to do that. I must tell you though, that you will always have a higher self to look up to. As long as we live in a world where things are constantly changing and where we are constantly affecting each other, a higher potential version of yourself will always exist. Perfection doesn’t exist and we will never be our “highest self” per se, but you can change who you are at any given moment to become whoever you want to be, which is what I’m going to be showing you how to do.

The first thing you need to do is decide which parts of yourself are truly you, and which parts of you were created by the system. Parts of us are created by the system when we develop coping mechanisms to deal with the traumas of the system. These coping mechanisms may have helped us survive the system, but they might not help us in the context of becoming our “highest self”. These parts of us can be identified by figuring out if they truly resonate with who we want to be (a.k.a. our “highest self”). To identify your “highest self”, think of a perfect version of yourself; what would they look like? Write down traits and habits that you think they would have. For example, maybe your “highest self” is smart, kind, strong, brave, loving, and hard-working. Maybe they put themselves first but are also charitable; maybe they are optimistic but also realistic. Write down everything you can think of that would represent a perfect version of you.

Once you have put together a decent picture in your mind and on paper of who you want to be, you can break down anything that doesn’t align with those values. First you will want to take a look at those values themselves and check to make sure they really align. Have you written down anything that isn’t a core value, but is actually a trauma disguised as a value? For example, you might write down one of your core values as “having a thin body”. Do you actually resonate with having a thin body, or is that a trauma associated with feeling like you will only be valued by others if you look a certain way? Remove any value that doesn’t add to your “highest self”. Remove anything that would restrict you from being authentic. Remove anything that you only added to please others. Your “highest self” also doesn’t have to be solid and unwavering, it can and should change as you grow, release traumas, and gain new values.

Next you need to identify which coping mechanisms and values you still entertain that don’t resonate with your “highest self”. It is very important that you don’t beat yourself up or put yourself down as you write down these aspects of yourself. There is a reason that each of these exist, and they are most-likely there to protect you from the very real emotional, mental, or physical threats that exist to protect and perpetuate the system. To go back to our previous example, you may have developed an eating disorder, an obsession with dieting, or an obsession with exercise in order to cope with the emotional trauma of a system designed to promote the unhealthy idea that there is an “ideal” body type and that anyone who doesn’t fit in it is “unhealthy”.

This is where we do the work to break down these internalized beliefs and values. Emotionally, this part of our healing is the most difficult. Witchy people call this part of our healing journey “shadow work”. You need to look at each trait that you would like to alter, and decide where it came from; trace it back to its source. This may be difficult because they often come from unresolved traumas that we have pushed down so that we can avoid dealing with them. This can also bring up painful memories that you will need to resolve. We resolve them by reassuring ourselves that we didn’t deserve to have those lies forced onto our perspective; we didn’t deserve to endure the trauma that we went through. For example, if you are working on an eating disorder, you may have memories come up of peers or even family bullying you about your weight. Tell yourself that you gained this eating disorder in order to feel safe in this cruel scenario that you were forced into, but that you don’t actually need it to stay safe anymore. Tell yourself that you can let go of past beliefs that say that you aren’t good enough if you aren’t thin. Tell yourself that you can let go of the false beliefs that were forced on to you that said to be thin is the only way to be healthy. Most importantly, comfort that version of yourself that still exists in that memory. Tell them that you are sorry that those painful things happened to you. Tell yourself that you will protect yourself from now on by deciding your own fate rather than letting it be decided for you by someone else (who was probably also hurting in their own life). It is also very important to let the emotions that you may have pushed down in that scenario express themselves through your body. Cry if you have to; scream and get angry. Pushing down the emotions associated with the memories will only worsen the trauma. Know that not expressing emotions in order to look “like a man” or “like an adult” is another one of those systemic traumas that needs to be released.

Once you release a burden like this, you will feel an immense sense of relief, like a weight has been lifted form your psyche. Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods yet, though. Your brain will try to pull you back into your old thought patterns in order to protect you, especially when you encounter a trigger. Spiritual people may call these relapses of thought “tests”. Another way of thinking about it is that you have neural pathways in your brain that you have used for so long that they have become very strong. When your brain encounters a trigger, it compulsively runs down these neural pathways, creating unwanted thought patterns. Here is where you must choose to stick to your lesson in order to truly heal your trauma. When you feel your thoughts trying to convince you to hold on to old beliefs because everyone else around you has similar ones and these beliefs are what have always protected you, gently remind yourself that you are choosing to change the narrative that surrounds that trauma and redirect your thoughts to the task at hand. You will likely have to catch yourself like this multiple times. Eventually the neural pathway that was formed by that thought pattern will atrophy as it is no longer being used and you will stop having these recurring thoughts altogether.

With a steady pace, being careful not to push yourself too hard, and allowing for lots of room for rest, dive into the “shadow work” of each of your “flaws” in order to release them one-by-one. Keep an updated version of your “highest self” around at all times; describe their traits in a notebook and modify them as needed. If you get stuck in your shadow work and you don’t know what to do, ask yourself what that “highest self” would say to you in your current situation. Know that your “highest self” is part of you already, they are just buried underneath all of your unresolved traumas. If you think about what they would do, you are connecting with them and what you believe their mindset would be in order to help the current version of you grow into them. Finally, once you become your “highest self”, look back and give yourself gratitude for how far you have come, and then look forward again and create a new “highest self” for you to become.

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