One of my latest articles for Lotus Effect:
We live in a culture obsessed with self-improvement. Society teaches us from a young age that to be of value in this world we must be “better” than others — we must constantly strive to improve ourselves. America’s self-help culture is an $11 billion dollar industry. We’ve made improvement a commodity and we’re selling it like a constellation prize. The problem with self-improvement is that we’ve created an unattainable perfection and in the midst of our “striving” we are trained to hate ourselves.
Here are 3 reasons to abandon self-improvement:
*It’s elusive: Striving to be better puts happiness somewhere in the future. We believe we will happier when we lose more weight, buy that house, finish our degree. When we focus all of our attention on a future goal we forget what’s good and beautiful about our lives in the moment. We put our happiness on hold.
*It breeds self-hate: Always believing there is something about us that needs to be fixed and improved upon is classic breeding ground for low self-esteem. Sure there’s nothing wrong with wanting to grow and expand, but as soon as we tell ourselves we need to “improve” we are simultaneously saying we are not good enough as we are.
*It causes unwanted stress: Excessive striving causes huge amounts of stress to the body (emotional, mental, and psychical). Even the word “strive” has a depleting energy to it. The art of living well is not about “striving” but about learning what it means to BE. When we master being present in each moment, peace is ours.
Next time you find yourself stressing about all the self-improvements you “need” to make, take a minute to breathe deeply, look around at your life and appreciate all that you already are, all that you’ve accomplished, and the immense beauty and power of BEING in the NOW.
Now is where life is. Now is where happiness can be welcomed into your life. Now is where your power lies. Don’t wait for a future event when you will be “better” — love, accept, and appreciate yourself NOW.