Don’t be a Lifebot.

This is your cue to sit up, wondering what a “lifebot” is. Hint: think “life robot”.

A lifebot is a well-intentioned person (like pretty much all of us) who wants to improve a significant aspect of life; a person who has the self-awareness to recognize that something is missing, or out of whack, or plain unhealthy; and whose solution is to take on a program, a script, a set of techniques or slogans or methods that promise, even guarantee, to provide that improvement, and mechanically implement them in the hope that it will fix the problem.

The problem, what makes a lifebot, is that unless the change takes root inside, becomes anchored in a solid place within you, it’s still just a script or someone else’s program, and the likelihood that you will experience that change in a real and long-term way is vanishingly small. All the diets, self-healing programs, “Seven steps to a magnificent (you-name-it)” practices, won’t help if you don’t take the fundamental step of believing in yourself.

Here’s a useful concept: the distinction between “imitation” and “integration.” When we do something that we learned from someone else, or follow a trend we see (lots of that going around), and we do it only because everyone else is doing it, or because we don’t want to be seen as resisting, we’re imitating. If we do the same thing because it is genuinely right for us and we feel that rightness in our bellies, that’s integration. A lot of self-improvement ideas and practices can be evaluated through the lens of “How does it feel in my guts?”

Sincerely wanting to improve is a good thing; it’s what keeps us moving, keeps us growing. Having the courage and determination to address issues that hold us back is even more commendable. However, applying superficial techniques to solving deep problems is like putting whipped cream on a cow pie. It might look good, but underneath it’s still the same crap.

Paradoxically, there is also truth in the notion of “fake it till you make it”. Making a face generates the emotion associated with that expression. If you smile, you feel better. There is something to be said for applying a behavior or attitude even if it doesn’t feel natural at first.

My discovery: if I start with small improvements or easily achievable changes that work for me and feel real enough that I’m willing to try them on and “fake it” for a while, looking toward something that seems out of reach yet not being discouraged by that, I make progress. I incorporate new attitudes, routines, ways of thinking, and so on as I am capable until they feel anchored within me. Over time, what looked at first to be out of reach or impossible comes within reach, then becomes part of who I am.

It’s important to modify the new aspects, thoughts, habits, or other elements so they fit . When I can make something my own it becomes real rather than a copy of what someone else has done, and it becomes anchored within me. I know I’m not a lifebot, but a growing individual who has had the humility to look beyond myself for help.

There are a lot of good ideas out there, and they are accessible. I am continually amazed by what’s available on YouTube now, or through a general Internet search, by people who offer their experience and their encouragement in positive ways. It’s up to you to make that move, do that research, and try on those new ways.

And finally, here’s your permission: Go for it!

Now you need to give that same permission to yourself. You deserve it.

July 2023

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