Searching self-improvement online comes with so many hits… Fitness, fashion, emotions, cooking, productivity, sex, happiness… but I feel that we miss the most important thing that needs to be done before doing ANY self-improvement.
And that is to accept.
Accept who you are as a person right now and who you will always be. Accept you are doing your best to change who you are in a positive way, but don’t be discouraged when you lapse. Just note it, and begin again.
This is what I both love and despise about the typical self-improvement community and the resources available to us. Can’t get a date? Buy a book and you’ll be getting laid. Overweight? Take these supplements and you’ll be great. Depressed? Take some pills that will make you be better and you’ll never be sad again.
No, it doesn’t work like that, sorry. Self-improvement is a long, tedious, arduous, complex, difficult, and never-ending process. Doing the same old thing is easy and change is painful, that’s why so many people stay in their comfort zones. You need to accept (and KEEP accepting) that you are taking steps to change, you’ll falter, and go back a few steps… But the important thing is if you keep working on it in a healthy way, you’ll come out ahead.
What happens if you don’t accept first?
I think the old adage of “if you can’t love yourself then how can anyone else” applies here, except that it can be extended to a very dark place of not loving yourself, and then seeking to get your needs met (love) through other people. That can be a scary path to walk. Not that I’m saying that you shouldn’t date, have friends and so on… but that you use them to make yourself feel worthy. You are unhappy and you use others for the sole purpose of pumping up how you feel about yourself.
There are many habitual items we can change with some effort. Things like getting up earlier, blocking web sites we waste time on, deleting video games, forcing ourselves to go to the gym… But deep psychological items, that’s a different story. The thing is as we instill better habits, the psychological items change…
Feeling lonely all the time? Make a decision to go out and play sports two times a week instead of going home first with a league. That’s changing a habit, but will impact the psychology. Same as per the gym and feeling lazy and sluggish. There are other methods to examine deeper issues, but that’s for another few posts.
All in all however, I just wish this is the first thing I EVER worked on before starting any self-improvement. It is still something I struggle with ever day. So please promise me you will do that right now, and do it everyday.
Be grateful for who you are, what you’ve accomplished in life, why your friends love you, and everything that you have to give.