Looking back on my recent posts, I can’t help notice the obsession I have with self-improvement.
I’m forever looking for ways to be BETTER.
In striving for better (SELF-IMPROVEMENT, SELF-IMPROVEMENT, SELF-IMPROVEMENT), I focus on what I lack. I feel envious of others. I feel inadequate.
So I make lists, goals. I scribble inspiring quotes about change all over my bedroom. And sure, it feels good for a while! My ego, like a spoilt brat in the sweet aisle, has thrown a fit and I’m lavishing it with attention.
I want to be The Perfect Me– is that so wrong? How can it be avoided with SELF-IMPROVEMENT shoved down our throats? Society conditions us to feel this way, always happy to point out our flaws. It’s a $10 billion dollar a year business after all…
There’s a paradox in play here.
We can agree that Loving Yourself is the most important personal trait you can develop.
So, in the quest to Love Myself, I make crippling self-judgements that ALL deduce if I just change/improve/limit almost everything about myself, then I can accept, and thereby Love, who I am. (Which is, in a nutshell, what we accept self-improvement to be).
Unfortunately, the spoilt brat ego will ALWAYS feel a sense of ‘lack’.
You can incorporate ‘more’ of literally anything into your life: more exercise, more healthy relationships, more money, more followers, more hobbies, more lovers, better looks, better habits, more holidays, sign up to more courses…
YOU’LL STILL FEEL A SENSE OF LACK.
Your best will never be good enough. You’ll constantly strive but never quite get there.
A friend told me the other day,
“Try just being you. Instead of the person you’d like to be.”
Ordinary, full of flaws, socially anxious, at times lost and lonely me? Who’d want to be her?
I WANT TO BE HER!
I’ve discovered that wanting to desperately change something in myself I view as “bad”, “negative”, “weak”, “FLAWED”, surrounds myself with bad, negative, weak, flawed energy.
I begin to resent the very core of who I am.
I focus SO MUCH on improving myself to the detriment of everything else.
I become –addicted– to self-improvement, fuelling my insecurities even more.
My life becomes immersed with negative energy and attracts negative situations, across the board, work/home/love life- even my HEALTH.
In striving for X to ‘be’ happier/prettier/richer/better, you’re going to do damage. The infinite quest (and the stress that comes with it) of CONSTANTLY CRAVING TO POSSESS WHAT YOU LACK will probably have you give up altogether, or else live an extremely unhappy, unfulfilled life.
You’ll equate lack in your life with personal failure.
I’m not saying we can’t make enhancements to ourselves and our lives. It’s just that we need to practice doing so with
(warts n’ all.)
*This is part of my 2017 project to recall the lessons life throws at me so that 23 won’t just be another year like the others, but one of contemplation and growth. What have you learnt so far this year? Are you obsessed with improving yourself, with satisfying your ego? Are you forever trying to possess what you lack? How can you practice accepting the You you are today?