The ‘dark side’ of self-improvement
There is nothing more beautiful than being able to work on yourself and see yourself become the woman you have been talking to the universe about! The woman who matches your ‘5 -year- plan’ aspirations. There is equally nothing as overwhelming as realizing how far you are and how much work you have yet to do.
I was watching a TEDx Talk by Suzanne Eder the other day, where she addresses the ‘dark side’ of self-improvement. She mentions the innate need we have to constantly fix ourselves, not realizing that really you aren’t ‘broken’, you are whole. That struck such a deep chord with me because it’s so relevant and true. I realized that I had fallen prey to the social media trap, where I would scroll down my Facebook or Instagram timeline and use other people as a mirror or benchmark for what I thought life should be.
There are a lot of expectations and pressures in life but too many of those are unnecessarily created by comparing our ‘behind the scenes’ with other people’s ‘stage performance’. That right there was my problem. I created a mental ideal life that I was ‘meant’ to have by age 25 and whenever I saw people who were living that life - I felt miles behind on my goals, completely disregarding all the great accomplishments I already have.
When we secretly believe we aren’t good enough we constantly create experiences that reinforce that belief. That’s the dark side of social media too. So I decided I to level with myself and just detox from social media, find out what I want to achieve in life, celebrate the things I have done and just be compassionate with myself.
Setting goals and becoming the best version of yourself is essential to feeling fulfilled in life but the source of that desired growth should never come from a point of lack. When we compare ourselves to others we can only see what we do not have – we only notice their positives and our negatives. An attitude we should adapt is one of being able to applaud others for their success without feeling as though it takes away from yours – MUCH easier said than done, I know!
As with all things in life true change comes from within. Take time to conduct a personal interview and reflect on the reasons why you feel as though you lack. Most importantly and through it all know that YOU ARE ENOUGH! You will always be enough. Now this does not mean that you are done developing, changing and gaining knowledge. It simply means that you don’t need to prove yourself or validate the reason for your existence by your achievements and accolades.
You are enough! So every part of self-improvement needs to come from a place of self-worth, not lack. Not only highlighting what you aren’t doing but acknowledging the great things you DO as well. And then from that point soar into the endless possibilities of who you can become. Be your best self. Not a good version of Beyoncé or Bonang but yourself. Flawed, imperfect, growing but always – always enough.
When we work with this perspective we will always feel empowered to change, we will find joy in the journey and relish every moment of growth. The concept of a ‘future me’ is great for setting goals but can also be crippling in the sense that you will always want to BE more. Celebrate your accomplishments, learn from your failures but at all times love and appreciate who you are, right now and right here.
I’m working on it and it is liberating, in every sense of the word.
“Be gentle with yourself – you are doing the best you can.”