The Modern Day Snake Oil Salesman? The Self-Improvement Movement
Let's talk "self-improvement", shall we?
There is an entire movement dedicated to trying to convince you there's something wrong with you that needs fixing. If only you could be kinder and more positive, then finally, you might just be happy.
I believed this for years. And guess what - all it did was leave me frustrated that I could never be good enough. The self-improvement movement will have people go on endless hunts for happiness and positivity like they’re searching for a diamond in the rough.
I assure you, this is complete nonsense.
You’ll never meet a more miserable bunch of people than those who are trying to “just be positive.”
Just as a magnet cannot repel its other half, you cannot live a one-sided life. No one can. We experience a range of emotions and display a cornucopia of traits, all of which serve us and those around us. I am both nice and mean, positive and negative, kind and cruel, warm and cold. We all are, depending on the situation.
How about this: just be you.
There is nothing wrong with you. As a species, we have evolved behaviors and personality traits that serve us. If a behavioral trait were not of use, it would have gone extinct.
Instead of thinking “self-improvement” let’s talk personal development. The difference is that development is not trying to fix you. We start from the belief that YOU ARE ALREADY WHOLE and NOTHING IS BROKEN. Development awakens you to the gift of your natural skills, traits and abilities, and encourages you to deepen the awareness of how WHO YOU ARE TODAY is the fullest expression of yourself.
You don’t need to change.
One of our greatest sources of suffering is trying to live by what other people value. Subordinating our own values to other people's beliefs, systems and structures. And this creates confusion, depression and anxiety to live up to an ideal that we cannot possibly meet.
You are already exhibiting the traits that serve you and your highest priorities. Instead of trying to focus on being “better”, how about focusing on how every one of your traits is helping you to fulfill your goals and mission while helping those around you. Figuring this out is easier than you realize. I’ve coached hundreds of people through this process.
I learned that my traits of being confident, assertive and a go-getter (traits that had me labeled “a bitch” as a full-time employee) were some of the greatest assets to me as an entrepreneur. My confidence instilled trust; my assertiveness demonstrated I could drive projects forward and my go-getter attitude helped me be proactive in finding contracts. If I’d believed my corporate bosses all those years ago, I’d still be living in shame and grief that I was just “too much.”
Thank god for being stubborn and not listening to them!
What happens when you accept who you are, as you are, and stop trying to change? You awaken your internal GPS that is driving your clarity, focus and vision. You begin to embrace that your greatest gift is to be exactly who you are, and use your traits, behaviors and skills to make an impact.
If you are curious about how to apply this to your life, ping me and let’s talk. I coach clients around the world on these topics and am happy to help you, too.