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Self-work involves working on those aspects of the own self, that calls for attention Image Credit: Shutterstock

In my earlier columns, I have articulated the need to do self-work or inner work.

What is self-work, you ask? In this column I will explain this concept, as well as share why we choose to neglect doing self-work and how to navigate the process with ease.

Know Thy Measure

Self-work involves working on those aspects of the own self, that calls for attention. These aspects include beliefs, habits, attitude — meaning the personality — that one has developed for self and those aspects of personality which don’t serve the individual.

Those aspects which call for reform because they are limiting in nature, limiting an individual from living their true goodness and their enormous potential.

However, one doesn’t want to go there and review those aspects, that is, do the self-work, because of the ego — the identity that one has created for self. So, the individual says, ‘I can’t change, I am like this only’, or ‘I am fine the way I am’ or ‘It’s okay, let it be.’

Ego prevents us from changing, reforming, evolving. It doesn’t play up against you but its aim is to prevent you from further pain. For example, a person who grew up with a parent that consistently failed on keeping promises, will have a hard time trusting other people because the earlier belief and attitude got weaved into the individual’s personality. The ego prevents the individual by saying, ‘don’t trust people, because when you did, it caused you pain’.

Self-work requires getting into the core issues or hurt. It brings painful memories and therefore, one avoids it.

Know Thyself

Self-work involves dredging up the garbage of non-serving emotions and transforming them into something better, pure. But one doesn’t want to deal with the garbage, rather have it pushed under the pit so that the smell and toxicity doesn’t trouble. Ignoring comes easy.

But a lot of brave hearts do dig their hands in the garbage. Go through the pain and emerge in the most satisfying way.

The fear of self-work is in the fear itself, not the work. For example, ‘I don’t want to dig the real reason why I got addicted in the first place’, ‘I don’t want to know why I don’t trust people’, ‘I don’t want to know why I explode every now and then’, ‘I don’t know why the feeling of revenge is strong in me’, ‘I don’t want to know why I feel jealous of someone’s success’.

You see why? It is painful. Because ‘I’ is involved. One can feel thus: ‘I don’t want to visit this ‘I’, as it shows me the mirror’, ‘I don’t like seeing the mirror’. ‘I rather do something else.’ So, the individual diverts attention to things other than the ‘I’.

Self-work consumes energy. Initially it does as one needs practice and emotional muscle building. Gradually this work gets easier. In the push and pull, pull being descending to the familiar habits and un-serving patterns of behaviour, the familiarity of comfort exists. You see, it takes less energy to descend. In pushing up, doing the self-work, energy expenditure is higher.

Easing the Self-work

How can one get into the ease of inner work?

By bringing in the understanding that no experience was a waste. The conditioning that happened, was meant to happen, because it had to teach one something at the time, to move forward. The unfolding will happen gradually. With this realisation, one can begin self-work without the bitterness or fear.

Surrender brings ease. On the other hand, imposing control builds resistance and makes it difficult to navigate the self-work practice. Understand that the present is the time to change and there is no other better time. Procrastination will cause unease in the inner self.

Respecting your own experiences and considering them sacred will bring ease to inner or self -work. The idea that one is moving towards better, minimises the pain. Also, the understanding that your positive change will bring meaningful change in others too. Actually, this aspect is the concept of helping others though it can’t be measured or quantified.

To us humans/ individuals, the gift of intention, imagination, effort, will power, is always available to be employed to climb out of the sufferings and live in joy and peace. In this endeavour, one is always supported by the universe, but one has to do their own work.

Disclaimer: Urmila Rao is a chakra balancing meditation coach, Theta Healer and a sound therapist. All the ideas expressed herein are her own and not professional advice or medical prescription. She can be reached at