Updated: Jan 31, 2020
These days, inspiration is everywhere! Through social media, books, and television we are bombarded with messages to eat better, speak better, sleep better, love better, just be better. This can make you feel good (at first), but an over indulgence can make a person a bit... coo-coo!
Sometimes this whole self help epidemic can become overwhelming. With the abundance of inspiration you are being fed daily, have you ever felt inadequate? Like there is so much you have to improve about yourself you begin to feel lost in who you are? I have, and I can definitely say that sometimes these self-help books actually become more like self-rejection books.
Even if you consider yourself a great person its easy to get swept up in all of the "shoulds" that come along with the self help movement. On this path it's easy to begin to feel like you're not doing much right, and not living right but still reading about all the ways that are right. It can be a kick-in-the-self-love-area when we begin to fall down this trap. Every time I have found myself here I ask "how come they get it and I don’t? Why is it taking me so long to get there? What am I doing wrong!?"
What I have found on my journey to spirit is that I've had a hard time practicing both self love and self improvement at the same time. The two are a bit counter intuitive. Yes, improving yourself is important, and learning is loving yourself, but it can be overwhelming when there is so much to do, so much to change, and so much to remember! On one hand you are supposed to accept and love yourself unconditionally, and on the other, you should be better in this way that an author says you should be. How can you accept yourself when you are constantly trying to change yourself? At some point you have to throw up your hands and say oh well! Guess I’m just a human!
I believe in growing and evolving as a person, and being the greatest version of yourself, but I have learned that the self help boom can be a bit damaging if you over saturate yourself in it. One thing that you may not realize when you engage in these teachings is that you are not supposed to be perfect, and it takes a long time to incorporate these new beliefs and patterns into your life. So I beg of you - do not get down on yourself if you are having a hard time incorporating your Buddhist beliefs into your western enriched life right away, it takes time to form new habits and brain pathways. Think about it – you have been thinking and doing things one way for so long its going take some time to train yourself to go the other way!
I love self improvement its my passion, but recently I have had to take a step back from this constant need to improve myself. I was trying so hard to be perfect at it right away and hating myself when I would slip up! I decided that loving myself for who I am in every moment is the right thing for me, this allows me to make mistakes and slip ups on my journey to a better, happier existence.
My proposition for you is this; if self development is your thang, perhaps pick one thing to work on at a time. What is one thing you would like to do, feel, or be. Only one thing. This thing has to come from a place of love not fear. Maybe you would like to be more positive, you could work on being positive in your speech and your thoughts. Every time you have a slip (which is bound to happen and its ALL GOOD when it does), just rephrase your sentence in a positive way. Don’t beat yourself up by thinking "oh shoot, I messed up", because you didn’t, you are trying to become a more positive person which should be rewarded, you are trying to manifest a happier less stressful life by doing this instead of continuing down the same path of negativity and stress that others have just accepted. This alone means you deserve an epic high five so don’t get down on yourself. Love yourself for doing this for yourself. Enjoy the self love journey even when you slip up, one day you will look back and wish that you did enjoy it.
You truly are your own best friend, and you are damn awesome! Never forget that.Treat self improvement as a hobby not as something you have to do, and for your own sake – don’t drown in a sea of self improvement! You don’t need to spend all of your time reading about how you can be better, do better, do more, faster. If you want to improve yourself, pick one thing you feel is right for you, then another when you are ready all the while loving yourself for who you are in every moment. Remember, you are a human being, if you were meant to be perfect you wouldn’t have come to earth.
Sending you so much love!