Where does self improvement stop and self acceptance begin? Or is it the other way around? OR maybe it’s a balance of the two.
Today’s post is certain observations through my perspective, personal experiences and opinions. In the comments section below I’d love to hear yours! So lets take a dive shall we?!
I really got into the personal development (also known as self improvement, personal growth, personal development, etc.) arena back in 2010 with the first book I’ve ever read in that genre, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. It BLEW my mind. So much so that I felt everyone around me needed to read it and I’d be happy to give them a copy and then gush over everything I was learning. I was starting out in a network marketing company and felt for the first time, the first excitement of making a better life for myself. I was 20 years old, 22k in debt, and wanting to drop out of college because I saw a long road of debt and frustration over The System.
I’ll be honest with you… when I read that book it was like reawakening to ancient wisdom that had been silenced in so many of us. I felt as if we (most of the human race) had become desensitized to common sense, learned to blame other people and circumstances for our situations and/or character, and that we had numbly bought into the 9-5 rat race of clocking in and clocking out.
It was like the lights were coming on, and suddenly things that seemed so important, like finishing a college degree I’d never use, securing a job to just reap the rewards of benefits and a 401k seemed ridiculous. I became very aware that there’s NO such thing as absolute security, that change is always inevitable, and that I also had the power of choice.
I started to read books (outside of fantasy), listened to audio, went to seminars that were as small as a few hours and 20 people to 5 days and 6,000 people. I bought online programs and courses, joined mastermind groups, and studied The Greats like Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins (to name just two).
But then I felt myself get frustrated, and even a bit bitter when I was doing ALL this personal growth, but still wasn’t hitting my goals.
I realized that all this self improvement made me wonder, ‘aren’t I enough as I am?’
I’m not sure if YOU have wondered that after being under the umbrella of personal growth, but I started to wonder why my goals were important to me, why I NEEDED to achieve them, and IF personal growth was really the catalyst going to help me get where I needed to go.
From conversations with friends, I’ve heard not only myself say it, but others that are successful remark that they have often compared themselves to others in the personal growth field as a way to measure their progress and success.
I realized that my bitterness and frustration were wake up calls to a thing called self love, or in this case, self acceptance.
Although I had spent hours and thousands of dollars on my personal growth, I realized that I didn’t even know what it meant to love myself. I didn’t even understand the CONCEPT.
I had been SO focused on achieving, trying to be a role model to so many people, and in the go go go mentality, that I had never actually slowed down enough to learn to love myself, to discover my self worth, and accept myself each and every day.
So for a while, I broke up with self improvement. I stopped listening to audio, I stopped reading books, and I took a break from seminars. I didn’t even turn on music. I just started to become aware of my thoughts and what I was telling myself.
I had filled my head with the words of other role models and self improvement gurus for so long, I forgot what it was like to have silence and to be alone with my own thoughts.
It was refreshing. I felt peace for quite a while. I could still hear the words of advice and wisdom of years of studying, but I started to pick out the bits that I agreed with.
As I collected these silent moments, I started to realize all the ways I compared myself to others and their success. I realized how little credit I had given to myself for so many tough times, new skills, and obstacles I had to overcome.
I became aware of my self worth. I finally was starting to grasp that I was pretty dang awesome.
& I do NOT blame the Self Improvement gurus and arena for not helping me realize it sooner. However, looking back, there are SO many ways you can improve yourself and one of the most important ones is learning your self worth and learning to love yourself first.
So back to the original question… self improvement REALLY starts when self acceptance begins. Here’s what I mean by that…
When we consciously decide to raise our awareness of our worth
and act on it; we inherently improve ourselves, and accept ourselves whole heartedly where we are at everyday.
While I don’t take every word that every Self Improvement guru says as holy truth, and I don’t think I need to go to every seminar to be the best me possible, I do still spend at least 10 minutes a day listening and/or reading something positive that will help me in one way or another. Whether thats
business tips, self love, guided meditation, or a podcast.
I still see the value of going to at least one seminar a year, and I am still working my way through programs I’ve bought over the years to help with productivity, business branding and delegating for entrepreneurs.
I’ve spent more on my self improvement than any other area of my life (time and money) and I’m so glad I have because its given me tools, skills and the gumption to do things I never thought I could, but it’s also helped me question so many areas of my life to discover my truth.
I think the FIRST stepping stone for anyone starting out on their own journey of self development is to learn their worth, fall in love with themselves ‘flaws’ and all.
Imagine how different our world would be if we truly KNEW our worth, and loved ourselves despite of our short comings?
A few things I’ve learned about myself (and maybe you’ll recognize your own traits…):
I’m getting better about being on time because I value my (and others) time, although I wasn’t always the best at this (time perception issues and a thrill of having to rush through everything).
I’m much more visual, creative, feeling oriented than logical, and calculated. However, I have learned the importance of being organized and systematic in my own businesses for business sake!
I use to think that business was all numbers, stats and money but now know that its spiritual, exchanging energy, and tapping into servitude of skills and talents.
These are all lessons because I INVESTED in my personal growth and was willing to get honest with myself!
So let me ask you, what’s been YOUR experience with Self Acceptance and Self Improvement?