There is a problem with self-help and personal development that I’ve discovered, after having been on a journey of trying to improve myself for the past 13 years. Although it’s a good idea to want to improve your situation in life, to work towards bettering yourself, and to reach greater levels of understanding, if we keep trying to improve ourselves, we are always going to find something to improve. When we focus on what’s wrong with us, we never get the chance to focus on what’s right. It is self-acceptance of where we are now which is the key ingredient to any successful personal development journey.
Additionally, when we are only focusing on improving ourselves, instead of thinking about helping others, we are missing out on a lot of opportunities that are present, as well as becoming inherently narcissistic. We can get caught up in the minutia of day-to-day life instead of remembering what’s important.
Life is all about growth and change in general. You will most likely develop personally and mature over time whether or not you take an active role in it. There is some degree in which you will want to become aware of your own shortcomings and make changes to work on them, but at the end of the day, nobody’s perfect, nobody has it all figured out, and you don’t entirely have control over every aspect of your life. Circumstances can cause us to act differently in one situation versus another, or at one time of your life versus another. Additionally, there are some personality characteristics that are inherent to a person, which are beyond your control.
Personal development is also all a matter of perspective. To one person, something about you might be considered a flaw, but to another, it might be considered an admirable trait. Who’s to say that a characteristic you developed over time is better than one you had in the past? For example, a child’s innocence versus an adult’s perspective on life. Is one really better than the other? Both are necessary in this world.
A person’s opinion of you can also wax and wane over time, depending upon their mood or depending upon the nature of your interactions with them. We have to ask ourselves the following question: am I trying to improve myself for others, or is it really for my own good?
Ultimately, what I’ve learned is that you have to surrender somewhat rather than trying to make changes all the time or trying to make yourself perfect. We’re only human, after all. It’s okay to relax into your own imperfections. Often it’s our imperfections that make us the most lovable and memorable.