The Red Pill of Personal Development

by Melissa Karnaze

redpillThere’s a lot of pill-popping in the U.S.

Not just of antidepressants, but of blue pills.

“You take the blue pill. The story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill. You stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

–Morpheus, The Matrix

The blue pills of personal development

In The Matrix, the blue pill symbolizes ignorance.

Clinging to security, instead of searching for truth.

Blue pills are all over the personal development map.

Personal development is supposed to be about self growth, being more productive, improving your health, building your confidence, and tackling challenges so that they are used to enhance your wisdom, response ability to life, compassion, and gratitude.

All of which translate to emotional resilience through mindfulness.

But most of the time, personal development is about losing weight, going on more dates, making better pay, avoiding pain, meditating for the wrong reasons, becoming more complacent, shoving your Ego aside, being happier for the sake of appearances, striving for superficial passion, and faking optimism.

These are all blue pills, distractions from what’s really important.

They keep you asleep. Unaware of your real goals, beliefs, values, dreams, and aspirations.

And they keep you from embracing your emotional self, especially all the hurts and the dark and scary places.

The main ingredient for personal development

But the thing is, you won’t grow without the dark. At least not substantially, or in a lasting way.

Growth is change.

Change is reactionary.

It occurs because something didn’t go well, and you want to fix it — by making the future different.

If things are smiley all the time, there’s no reason to change anything.

It’s when the shit hits the fan that you start the real personal development.

When you make the lasting changes that are motivated by mindful reasons to improve your life from the ground up.

The purpose of the personal development blue pill

Real personal development is about integrating your dark side.

It’s not about basking in the light.

And a good number of mental health professionals have been calling out the pitfalls of the positive pop psychology that’s polarized to air-fairy happy-hippy.

But as a society we’re still hooked on blue.

Because as it is, we have a mostly dysfunctional view of our (negative) emotions.

We try to dominate the emotions, subjugate them to “logic,” and “get rid of them” whenever we can.

We see them as enemies, to run away from.

Rather than as allies, to be thankful for.

People are scared shitless of facing and owning their negative emotions.

So the blue pills conveniently distract them from having to go anywhere near actually experiencing them.

What makes a red pill hard to swallow

Then there’s the famed red pill.

That woke Neo up from his pod so that he could dodge bullets and defy gravity in the Matrixverse.

The red pill is potent.

Metaphorically speaking, it’s damn hard to swallow.

Because it wakes you up to how you were wrong, uninformed, misled, or unaware of the bigger picture of your life.

And consequently, it forces you to look at how you’ve been behaving in a myriad of dysfunctional ways that only prevented your personal growth.

Are you searching for the truth?

Morpheus tells Neo that he doesn’t usually give people the red pill if they’re past a certain age. It’s just dangerous, because the human mind “has a hard time letting” go of the old belief systems — the constructs that hold “reality” into place.

With the red pill of personal development, age doesn’t really matter.

It’s about honesty. Admitting that you’re fed up with groping for outside means to access inner peace and happiness.

So, are you ready to let go of the common crutches of personal development?

To take the red pill

To see what change is really worth your time?

The red pill of personal development

Supposedly, your Ego is this insane evil miniature vampire sucking the potential out of your life at any chance it can get.

It’s junk, trash. Unnecessary. Totally unspiritual.

In need of taming, caging, beating, maiming.

And meant to vanish into nothingness.

Yep, that’s the coppertop version of the story.

The wake up version, that comes with taking the red pill, is this:

“You need to nurture your Ego if you want any chance at real personal development — being response able to your life, and creating your life as a mindful construct.”

You and your Ego need to be tight. No more fighting, no more “killing.”

redpillPartnership instead. Acceptance. Commitment.

Your Ego is the personification of your emotional self. (The shadow of your Inner Child.)

Your emotional self is insanely complex, because it’s a manifestation of your (subconscious) cognitive networks — that include your thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, and expectations about the world and your place in it.

And your cognitive networks are insanely complex, because human consciousness is multidimensional.

So, your Ego is you.

In case that didn’t sink through…

Your Ego is You.

It’s not worth fighting yourself, is it?

It’s counterproductive.

As is trying to dissociate that part of your human being — which, newsflash, isn’t possible given the way your mind and body are wired.

How to swallow the red pill

What all of this means is that the Ego bashfest that much of personal development is currently drenched in — is ignorant, unhealthy, and unwise for you to partake in.

A better way to view your Ego is as your wounded Inner Child.

To swallow the red pill, you need to make this powerful reframe, or something along these lines:

Blue pill insight: “My Ego is the bane of my existence. I’m in constant war with it and it’s my job to win out.”

Red pill insight: “My Ego is an important part of my emotional self, which means it’s directly linked to my (subconscious) cognitive networks. I’m prone to living a life of constant pain and confusion when I’m not creating my life as a mindful construct, which requires that I uncover and work constructively with my cognitive networks… which is naturally accomplished through working with my emotions.

It’s my job to listen to my Ego so that I can understand where she’s coming from, see what he’s afraid of, understand how she’s been misled, and figure out what he needs to grieve past wounds and feel safe again.

So that I can do my job as a response able adult and finally start taking care of myself so I can actually care for others in healthy, balanced, and interdependent ways.”

Taking the red pill of personal development

So now that know what the red pill of personal development is, your choice lies in how you respond to this article.

You can close the browser, wake up in your bed, and believe whatever you want to believe.

Or stay in Wonderland…

Mindful Construct is a red pill provider

Here are some other articles that can help you get more acquainted with your Ego:

This list is only the beginning. There’s tons more to write about and explore together.

redpillSubscribe to Mindful Construct to see how deep the rabbit hole goes…

We’re a solid community of thoughtful, mindful, and caring individuals who’ve already taken the red pill. We’re also rebels, here to create our own system.

And we’d love to have you join us.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelley Mitchell January 30, 2010 at 11:59 am

As always, I love The Matrix references!

Melissa Karnaze February 1, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Thanks Kelley, I love making them! :D

Pali February 9, 2010 at 10:12 am

love the website,
is there anything on drug and recovery?

Melissa Karnaze February 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Hi Pali, I haven’t written on this topic yet. I’m planning to touch on addiction as a way to avoid facing emotions in future articles, but my experience on this subject is more limited.

Is there anything specific you’d like to see? Or are there any specific questions you think aren’t addressed (or addressed enough) by what’s already out there on the web?

Pali February 9, 2010 at 7:25 pm

how do people with addictions
process there thinking? or some useful tools

Melissa Karnaze February 10, 2010 at 2:02 pm

As in, how they think about their addictions and their behavior? Or is some other way?

Pali February 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm


Dave May 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Hi. Great post. I think addictions are like compulsive behaviours but harder to say no to. Having dealt with a major addiction and not having any more problems with it, another compulsive type behaviour has stuck and its very tricky. It seems the more I look for solutions sometimes the more I go into the behaviour. But I think I often use it as a slingshot. ie. feeling down, bored, feeling like acting out. I get an opportunity to question thoughts or have mindul awareness and take “response able” action or notice a belief or way of thinking that wasn’t helping. Then writing it down or taking a walk, chatting to someone or some other healthy action that frees the energy. It doesn’t always work or the space in the compulsive thinking isn’t always there but it does seem to work sometimes and its great when it does.

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