The Embarrassment of Self Development

For a long time I yearned to improve myself; my true inner self, but something was holding me back. I made a lot of excuses back then; I didn’t have time; I was too tired; I wasn’t sure what direction my search should take. However, the truth was I felt embarrassed about opening myself up, especially to those close to me. All that changed when I went for a stroll along a Danish beach.

I went to Denmark for a short camping holiday. I stayed on a small island in the North Sea. It was beautiful, very peaceful; just what I was looking for. On about the third or fourth morning I went for a stroll along the beach. The beach stretched the entire length of the island, about 20km and it was about 2km wide!

After about an hour or so, I came across a young woman who was doing some type of oriental martial art. She was all by herself and seemed totally absorbed in what she was doing. Maybe this is not so strange, but what really seemed incongruous (and darn right silly to me) was that she was wielding a Samurai sword. I really did find myself thinking how silly she looked and actually became a little annoyed. My first thought was: “What a poser”. Did she really love herself so much she thought other people would want to see her performance with a sword? I found myself wishing she would lose her footing and fall down, and then I could say: “that’s what happens when you think so highly of yourself”. But she didn’t fall over; she kept moving, slowly and gracefully.

I continued walking along the beach. I tried to enjoy the remainder of my stroll but I kept thinking about the young woman and her sword! “Why are some people such exhibitionists?” I kept muttering to myself. I was no longer casually strolling along the beach, looking out to sea; I was marching, hunched over, looking at the sand beneath my shoes. I had become self-absorbed; lost in my not-too-pleasant thoughts. I was brought back to this world when I almost walked into an elderly couple. I apologised…

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