What Personal Development Gurus Don’t Tell You

by | Jun 16, 2020 | Aha! Life, Challenges

The Aha! Life is like a bed of roses. There is such beauty and sweet fragrance, but those beautiful roses come with thorns. It’s the thorns that most personal development gurus, influencers, and life coaches tend to not talk about often. Instead, they entice you with a utopia that rarely exists. You know what I mean. They will say, “If you follow my plan, you can double your income, find the love of your life, or reach heights of success that you are dreaming about, and then you’ll live a happy life.” Sound familiar? Everything is wonderful if you follow their 7 steps to bliss.

To be fair, even I have said, if you understand who you are, what you value, and how your gifts and talents can serve others, you will experience a life of more joy, more purpose and more fulfillment. That is the Aha! Life. All true. I believe that wholeheartedly. But I would be no different from other personal development influencers if I only told you about the sweet aroma of the rose petals and didn’t tell you about the thorns. So today, I’m sharing with you about the thorns in the Aha! Life because the thorns enrich your life and allow you to experience the sweetness.

Bear with me on the rose analogy. I’m going somewhere with this.

The thorns on the stem of the rose represent pain, loss, and hardship. Even as you experience Your Aha! Life, you also experience the thorns – they are inseparable from the rose. In life, you will have difficulty. You may lose your job. Thorn. A loved one may die unexpectedly. Thorn. The marriage you invested so many years may come to a bitter end. Thorn. You might be misunderstood, ridiculed, judged or used by others. Thorn. All thorns. They are a part of life – even Your Aha! Life.

The thorns in your life enlighten you.

It’s after enduring a loss that you discover just how resilient you are. In the face of hardships, you find contentment in life’s simple pleasures. You realize you don’t need as much as you thought you did, and the things that matter can’t be purchased. The pain you feel from losing a loved one teaches you to live every day to the fullest. From thorns we learn to savor the beauty and sweetness in our lives.

Each thorn represents an experience, an opportune Aha! moment. And just as the rose’s thorns protect it from predators, each thorn in your life (your experience) strengthens you for your journey.

I encourage you to make a list of all those experiences that seemed as though they would overtake you, obstacles you’ve encountered that at the time you didn’t know how you’d survive. Think about those times when you felt like giving up. But you didn’t.

What did you learn about yourself?
What values became crystal clear?
What knowledge, skills, gifts and talents did you tap into to find your way to safety?

Experience teaches.

The Roman leader, Julius Caesar, was the earliest known to say this famous proverb, “Experience is the teacher of all things.”

Experience leads to wisdom.

Thomas Paine said, “The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” And Oprah Winfrey said, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” 

Experience makes life inherently beautiful.

I love this excerpt from Jennifer Williamson’s Healing Brave blog:

Whatever you think about it, life is beautiful. Even after things fall apart. Regardless of how things fall back together. You were given life. Don’t miss out on this chance. Read these words to help you honor the beauty inherent in every experience. That’s how you turn metal into gold, rubble into treasure, dark into light, pain into healing.

The next time you behold a rose, take in the beauty and aroma of its flower, and appreciate the thorns that make the rose what it is.

And think about your own life. How is your life like the rose?

Could you really even have an Aha! Life without thorns? An enlightened life? I’ve come to this realization, the coexistence of the thorns (setbacks, failures, suffering) with the beauty that life offers are precisely what lead to more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment. Your Aha! Life.

Personal development gurus, influencers and life coaches may offer you some steps to get rid of what ails you. And they are not entirely off base. But all too often I hear them talking about the “thorns” as something bad, something to be ignored, or pushed as far away from you as possible. That’s where I’m different. I say bring those life experiences close to you. Examine the failures, the loss, the painful periods of your life, the insecurities, and hardships. Inquire into them. They have a lot to teach you and to prepare you. What are you meant to learn from all of those experiences that will help you as you continue to sojourn living Your Aha! Life? The answers hold promise, new beginnings, beauty and hope – the symbols of the rose.

If you are interested in reading more like this, check out my website at YourAha!Life. There, you’ll find past articles, my latest podcast, information on my private Facebook group, The Aha! Community and resources I recommend to support your Aha! Life journey. You can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter. If you’d like to send me a question or comment, write to me at tonya@yourahalife.com. I look forward to hearing from you.


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