The Sweet Anxiety of Choice: How Individualism Can Affect Social Change

The personal development or "self-help" world is suffused with the thought that we are not enough already. Once you've cross into the personal development genre, you enter a world of tools, advice, and stories of the storytellers conquering their darkness and come out on the other side victorious, and now they feel and are miraculous, happy, and better than they were before.

From glancing at a guru's social media post to reading a self-help book, when you enter that world, the assumption is that you are currently in that mold of darkness, just as they were. And the expectation is that you, if you follow in their footsteps, will be victorious too, permanently living in the light.  

Renata Saleci, sociologist and philosopher, had a TED Talk, where she introduced her topic of choice with the following:

We [also] believe in endless progress. But the underside of this ideology has been an increase of anxiety, feelings of guilt, feelings of being inadequate, feelings of FAILING in our choices.
Sadly, this ideology of individual choice has prevented us to think about social changes. 

If you have been following my blog, you know that a lot of She Enlightened relies on individual introspection, healing, peace, and empowerment. It relies on the knowledge that each individual voice deserves to be lifted up in love and accepted. It relies on rejoicing in the struggle, to see the opportunity, and stand in solidarity. But...

She Enlightened understands your healing as a catalyst for broader change.

My thought is if we look at the world of self-help as a means for understanding and embracing your darkness, owning it as a part of your life, and learning what it means to use those feelings to bring light to another human being or group of human beings, we can shift our thinking of not being "good enough" or failing in our personal choices to our darkness and our light being part of a whole. If we can learn to be more transparent in our personal journey, no matter what stage we're at, we fail to create separation. 

Ways to accomplish healing as a catalyst for social change: 

1). Review past She Enlightened blog posts on individual shame, guilt, and other toxic emotions. Society targets us to feel personal failures. If we can better understand why that is, we can work to release the necessity to feel those emotions. 

2). Ask another for their experience. When we share what we absorb in the world of personal development, we learn that not everyone interprets individual choice, change, and development is the same. We can begin to broaden our view of ourselves as a part of the whole if we work to understand the whole. 

3). Create content or discourse that involves inner work...for the sake of social change. When I write my meditations, I envision a mass audience who need similar healing or empowerment. These meditations are meant for listeners to reintegrate into the world at a positive, happy vibration. Part of that is for their own good and happiness. But most of it is to bring love into what they do, specifically in terms of feminism and education. Translating inner work to a domestic or global scale will help us to realize that the pressure is not on us to change.   

Individualism isn't a bad thing, and it doesn't have plans to walk out of this culture. But we can use it our advantage. We can play with it until we heal ourselves. We can play with it until we are healing others. 

We can see it as a stepping stone, a journey to a peaceful and loving Earth.