NO GODS NO GURUS – THE MODEL IS JUST A THOUGHT
Do you tend to put your self-development teachers on a pedestal, taking their words as absolute truth and feeling super stressed out if you ever disagree or anyone suggests they might be wrong?
You’re not alone. In fact, I think most people who are drawn to self-development in the first place are also looking for The Answer to Everything (™).
But the truth is, there isn’t one Answer to Everything.
In fact, human beings have struggled with the Big Questions since they first started, well, asking questions probably!
Questions like: Why are we here? Who should we be? How should we act? What should we think?
In other words: What the fuck is going on with being a human?
And the answer is: Ultimately, no one truly knows.
Our beliefs about what life is about and for are shaped by a range of factors such as our brain chemistry, our upbringing, our culture of origin, even the languages we speak.
Which is why one of the creeds that I live by is “no gods, no gurus.”
Meaning: No one and nothing is above questioning, nothing is above disagreement, nothing and no one has the one singular answer to everything in the world that can be proven to be true.
I want to be clear – when I say “no gods,” I don’t mean you have to be an atheist.
I mean that whatever your belief system, whatever you use to explain or understand the world, don’t make it the only lens through which you can understand experience.
Don’t make it something that has to bear the weight of being able to explain all of the world and your experience and everyone else perfectly.
Because no way of understanding human experience can do that. There are too many variables and too many different ways of understanding what it means to be a weird sack of jello electricity in a meat suit, wandering around this world.
As you probably know, I have many teachers and many coaches, and there are amazing things I have learned from them and will continue to learn from them…and no one is more of an authority on what I’m going to decide to believe than myself.
This doesn’t mean I don’t trust experts and open myself up to learning. I believe the earth is round and gravity exists. I also hire coaches and experts and take their input into consideration.
It just means that when it comes to questions that have no objective provable answer, I don’t trust others’ opinions over my own.
Nobody knows who I am meant to be in the world or what a person’s life should be like. There is no objective answer to questions like “What is important in life? Who do I want to be? How do I want to operate? What is this weird cognitive, philosophical, emotional, mystical experience of being a human like?”
And so I get to decide my own answers to these questions.
But I’m no guru or god either. The things that I teach are based on my own belief systems, which have been shaped by my own experiences, brain chemistry, upbringing, etc. I understand that even the self-coaching model that I teach, which has changed my entire life and is the closest thing to a foundational belief I have, may not resonate with you. Or it may be helpful to you only to a point or in certain contexts.
I often see my students and listeners relating to me as something other than an imperfect human who is exploring these questions out loud. I see them wanting to believe that I have it all figured out, that I have all the answers and know what is right and true and good in some objective sense.
It’s natural to want to believe that someone else has all the answers. Life is full of uncertainty, and we all know how much brains love uncertainty (spoiler: they do not love it).
And people who are socialized in marginalized identities are especially uncomfortable with relating to themselves as the authority in their lives – because they have been taught, implicitly and explicitly, the exact opposite. That authority is somewhere else, that they aren’t trustworthy, that someone outside of us has the answer, that we can find a god, that we can find a guru, who will tell us the “right” way forward.
My goal with this work is to empower every one of you to claim authority in your own life. And empowering women to learn, to decide for themselves what they want to think, feel, believe, and do for themselves, inherently means accepting that nobody has all the answers. Including me.
Some of what I teach may be a great lens through which you can explore your experiences. Some of what I teach may be in direct conflict with how you perceive the world. Some of the lenses through which I view the world may resonate with you, and others may not.
It’s all okay.
The more you allow your mind to be flexible about this, the more you allow yourself the space to explore belief systems without placing them on a pedestal, the more you can allow yourself to feel confused or conflicted or uncomfortable about all of this, the more you will step into your own authority.
No gods, no gurus. Only you and how you choose to make sense of the world.