For some time now I've been thinking that at some point self improvement has stop. After all, the very words "self improvement" imply that there is something to be improved.
Just how much improvement can we do anyway?
Doesn't there come a time when we can....oh, I don't know....just enjoy life? Maybe lighten up a bit?
I recently attended a convention at which one of the speakers was a guy named Derek Rydall. One of the points he made during his talk was that self improvement is an oxymoron. It hit home with me, given the trend of my recent thoughts.
What if that thing we say we want to change about ourselves is really a call to go deeper? What if that catastrophe is like a sign on the road, telling us to proceed this way and that way? What if those uncomfortable feelings we are experiencing are really an indicator to lean into them and get the gift, rather than deny them and try to change them? What if....OMG....we've done enough self improvement already and we don't need anymore?
I remember a time in my life almost 30 years ago when I was actively involved in my own journey of self improvement. I had come to realize that I had an inner voice that was out to get me, or so I thought. You may have experience with this voice. In my case it was the one that said, over and over again in a multitude of different ways, that I wasn't worthy. Yours may tell you something different: you're not enough, bad, somehow deficient in areas that other people aren't deficient in.
My affirmation at the time was two fold: I would tell the voice, "thank you for sharing, now shut the fuck up." And I would look in the mirror every day and tell myself, "I am OK today, getting better and better in every way."
And every time I did that, I felt like there was something wrong with that picture, but I didn't quite know what it was, and my mentor told me to do it, so I did.
At the time I couldn't see the abuse I was heaping upon myself. At the time I could not see how that inner voice will never shut up. And I could not see that telling myself I was OK was a vast understatement. Ok?!?! Just ok?!?! I am SO much better than OK!
And so are you!
So if we don't do self help...if we don't improve ourselves, what on earth are we to do?
I think this is a call to self love and self acceptance. I think that the inner voices that are telling us negative things might just be a call from our inner wisdom, or our higher power, or our soul, or whatever you want to call it. And that call is to listen, and honor, not try to push away, or shut down. I think our job is to discern what the message is, the true message, and then heed that message.
We don't need any more self improvement. We need self love, and self acceptance.