When it comes to difficulties and challenges, it’s human nature to look for the easiest way out. We want a silver bullet that will solve the problem. We look for ways to break a problem down into smaller components. We put them into categories, and we create formulas and systems to help us manage the categories. They often save time and money, make our lives more efficient, and enable us to do more things. They also help us get predictable, repeatable results— like using a cookie cutter on cookie dough. This approach works well in so many areas of life but with people, formulas and cookie-cutter systems only work some of the time, with some of the people. No singular system or solution works for everyone all of the time. Why not? Because . . . humans aren’t cookies!

People’s problems are complex. Each person comes into this world with a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses, tendencies, attributes, and personality traits, all of which are tempered by our families, environments, and experiences. These aspects of who we are give each of us a unique way of seeing and interpreting the world and a unique way of integrating our experiences into our being. A formulaic strategy cannot possibly account for all of the influencing factors. When cookie-cutter solutions don’t work, and most of the time they don’t, the cost is that the person thinks there is something wrong with them because they didn’t get the desired result. They blame themselves and feel even more stuck.

Individual uniqueness makes up the beauty and diversity that is humanity. We have different ways of relating with the environment, and we respond to stimuli in our own unique way. An experience that causes anger in one person may trigger insecurity or compassion in someone else. Some people are more attuned to tactile stimulation, and they tend to relate better with their environment through touch, while others relate better visually. To be truly effective, tools and methods must be fluid and flexible enough to accommodate the wide range of our uniqueness. When searching for personal development support, I recommend looking for a practitioner with a variety of tools in their toolbox who uses an integrated approach that attends to a person as a whole being: mind, body, spirit, and soul.

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