I began my spiritual inner work because I was desperate.
Desperate to be free of emotional pain, frustrating relationships and mind chatter. Something had to change.
So, I turned inwards and faced my icky feelings and memories. Aha moments multiplied and slowly transformed my entire worldview.
Little by little, I reclaimed my power, healed old wounds and made wiser choices.
My enthusiasm sometimes pushed me to do too much inner work. In our society of “not good enough”, it’s easy to get stuck in constantly improving ourselves.
Too much inner work can ironically distract us from ourselves and the present moment.
What exactly is spiritual inner work?
Inner work is a process of discovering who you are underneath past hurts, limiting beliefs, others’ expectations and cultural conditioning.
It’s a profound exploration of your inner self, which consists of your:
Why would we want to face these things?
The process sounds painful—and indeed, it can be at certain times.
Something deep within us asks for inner work. Oftentimes, the journey begins when we’ve come to a tipping point. Or when we’re yearning for true peace and joy or fulfillment.
I actually wouldn’t recommend doing inner work if you don’t feel called to it. Because everything you know about yourself and the world will fall. Not everyone is ready for that.
You must have tenacious courage and curiosity to stay motivated during hard times.
Spiritual inner work can also be called inner child work or shadow work. We excavate all that has been hidden, like our pain and shame, to shine a light on them. Instead of being a victim of our stories, we embrace our past and cultivate compassion.
Our most painful experiences become rich opportunities for growth, wisdom and connection.
Are you a spiritual overachiever?
When daily arguments with my husband Loïc eroded my nerves, I began looking within.
I had no other choice (or so I thought).
My inner self was my refuge from external chaos. I paid attention to the whirlwind of thoughts and my anger and fear pulsing through my veins. Strangely, I felt a little calmer.
I somehow managed to slow down arguments in my mind and saw how one misunderstanding led to another. The row of dominoes still collapsed, but I felt empowered by this new perspective.
I eagerly shared these revelations with Loïc and we took mindful steps forward.
Soon enough, the overachiever in me kicked in. This inner work thing seems to help, why not focus all my attention on it? More is better, isn’t it?
The problem with this mindset is that we tend to keep looking for something to fix. It’s an endless quest. Our desire to improve our lives transforms into an obsessive need to be the most self-aware as possible.
Without realizing it, we can fall into the trap of controlling our emotions and always questioning our reactions and behaviors. We might devour self-help books and spiritual teachings to arm ourselves against our imperfections—our humanity.
It can also be easy to identify with the healing process.
For example, a support group can give us much-needed relief. Connecting with other people who have experienced similar hardships helps us release shame and build resilience.
But the group can also become a crutch. Healing is meant to be a temporary passage, so that we can move forward with living a fulfilling life.
Faster progress isn’t necessarily better
Fast forward 10 years.
Loïc and I had devoted much of our time and energy to healing old wounds that we triggered in each other.
If we had let resentment build, a violent argument was sure to explode. So it became our priority to tend to upsets. Every. Single. Day.
Our hard work finally began paying off. We had integrated tremendous amounts of unconscious wounds and fears. We felt lighter and laughed much more.
During that decade, there were many times when I wanted things to progress quicker. But it wasn’t always possible.
Becoming mindful of our reactions takes time.
Processing emotions takes time.
Now as an EFT Tapping Practitioner, I understand that even though quick transformations are possible, the body still needs time to integrate healing work. It may even be unhealthy to force the process.
And we can’t force divine timing.
Of course, my rational brain didn’t want to hear about it. But years of observation taught me to let go.
Sometimes, there aren’t any spiritual lessons to extract from a situation. Perhaps the “lesson” is simply to let things be. To give yourself a break.
You can’t go wrong with giving yourself some compassion.
Everything in moderation
Spiritual inner work is the most thrilling journey we can take.
If we’re brave enough, our profound search into the depths of who we are often rewards us with more ease and peace of mind.
But it’d serve us well to remember:
There are moments when we get to devour huge portions.
And other moments, we must learn how to wait for the next dish and just sit with ourselves.
P.S. Would you like some free support? Get quick stress relief in a free EFT Tapping session in exchange for a short interview. Learn more.
Annie Moussu is a certified EFT Tapping Master Practitioner helping women build confidence, set boundaries & enjoy healthy relationships. Get her free EFT meditation & guide for people-pleasing.