I have always been one for self-improvement.
Reading them that is.
Application? That is for another blog in another time.
But I do lap up any form of advice, suggestions and motivational blurbs on how to become better at anything.
Cooking? Dressing up? Talking? Organizing your closet? How to get better skin? Better hair? Be healthier? Amp up your sex life?
You name it.
Simple things right? Exactly.
I am amazing at absorbing and maintaining simple, shallow self-improvement advice.
But ask me about bettering the things that lurk in the darkness of my self-absorbed, insecure, trapped-in-childhood-issues of a soul. The things so embedded in me that it requires a lot of self-awareness and a deep hard look into my very core to even notice that it is there. Those embarrassing behaviors and self-sabotaging mentality that needs a loving but oh so important hard slap into my consciousness to jar it out of me.
Ask me about that and I will tell you I am still working on it. Been working on it for awhile now.
I think I am getting better and then something or someone tells me otherwise. Then I adjust my approach. Nothing. Modify the process. Still nada. And the change I’ve been wanting to achieve doesn’t seem to happen. It goes on and on. And I feel defeated. Tired. Hopeless.
You see, the problem with self-improvement is, just like not being able to notice the things you need to change, you also can’t see your incremental improvements. So it can easily feel like a hamster wheel and the temptation to get off it is strong because at least that offers some respite over the intangible goal of becoming a better human being.
Is this why they call it growing pains instead of growing pleasures? Everything associated with growth is not described very positively. Remember throbbing legs, losing teeth, rejection in the playground, awkward pubescent years, heartbreaks, failures, weight gains, college, pregnancies to name a few?
A friend told me that was the problem. I was perceiving self-improvement to be hard instead of rewarding. But the achievement of growth seems to always come in hindsight and when I am in the thick of it, it is an effort to look up and see the pinhole of a light that could very well be the end of this tunnel. Or even just a street lamp offering some comfort to the darkness of my thoughts.
Life will pay whatever price you ask of it.
It will also take whatever you give it.
I’ve been asking for an exceptional one.
I might have only given it my good enough.
And voila, the gap.
The disparity between what I want and what I have been willing to do to get there.
To have an exceptional life means to constantly, consistently grow and seek growth in all areas. To accept the challenges and remove all excuses from the path.
I have been working on things for so long because I have allowed my self-created limits to be bigger than what I want out of life. Because I have created inconsistencies in my efforts and focus. Because I am viewing growth as a necessary evil but evil nonetheless.
I need to make growth and growing my friend. I must learn to celebrate my small victories and shrug off the stumbles and fumbles that happen more frequently.
Not I need to. I must.
I forget, we only stop growing when we are dead.
…except for hair and nails.
Those superficial self-improvement advice maybe on to something after all.