This is Why the Current Self-Improvement Trend Might Backfire on Us
If you go on any social media platform any day now, you are very likely to come across articles, posts, videos, workshops and ads about self-improvement. What they all have in common is that they suggest that your life could be better IF ONLY you adopted this or that particular new habit or completely changed your mindset.
However, how many people do you know in real life that have become happier and healthier since the beginning of the pandemic? How many times have you tried to improve something about yourself only to fall back to the same patterns within days? Didn’t that make you feel even worse than before? Here are some reasons why you might have felt like that:
The downside of the self-improvement trend
I don’t blame anyone for trying to become a better person. It’s admirable and wise to take time to assess one’s life and change things that are obviously not working. Nonetheless, I think the attitude behind self-improvement efforts can range from healthy to toxic.
It makes you feel inadequate
How would you feel if a friend of yours came over to your house and told you you could be healthier, slimmer, prettier, smarter and wealthier if you did exactly what they have been doing? It would really depend on their tone, right?
On the one hand, they could be offering help in a friendly way — along the lines of “if I can do it, you can do it too!”
On the other hand, it could sound like they are suggesting you should lose weight because you are fat, you could look better (which implies you look bad), you could be making more money but now you are broke and so on.
Wouldn’t the latter be extremely painful and make you feel embarrassed about your current self?
RELATED ARTICLE COMING UP SOON: What is radical self-acceptance?
It sets unachievable goals, so you are bound to fail
Again, I am not against self-improvement. I oppose toxic self-improvement.
We are all familiar with New Year’s resolutions and with the fact that a very thin percentage of people actually achieves them. Yet, we all make our vision boards to try to stay on track with our goals. So if we are constantly trying and failing, it is time to rethink the way we are doing it.
There are two things you should always keep in mind when setting goals:
- If you set the bar too high, you will be setting yourself up for failure. Aim for small increments.
- If you try to improve many things about yourself at the same time, you will feel overwhelmed and stop trying pretty soon. Old habits die hard.
Be mindful of these common pitfalls. This is the only way to bring about self-improvement without making you feel inadequate, lazy and stupid.
But, if you ask me, I’d say:
Self-love and self-acceptance are the only kind of self-improvement we should be aiming for.
RELATED ARTICLE: Why people are unconsciously afraid to change