Truths and Myths of Self-Improvement


I was listening to a session being led by Nick Ortner the other day. He was talking about how to manifest your greatest self. Nick shared a lot of things that we inherently know and understand but even with understanding, they are difficult to implement. Here are a few truths he covered:

·       All change begins from within.

Everyone knows this, right? If we want to make changes that stick, we have to have a large enough internal desire to work on those things. No one can do it for us.

So, if no one can do it for us, why do we find it so easy to use others as the excuse for not getting it done?

·       Self-help can morph into self-punishment if we aren’t careful.

This one caught me off guard a little bit. I’d never really made this connection but it’s so true. We decide we want to work on something – let’s take health and fitness as an example – but then we make the regiment so strict, so difficult to follow, and so painful to implement that it feels more like punishment than the road to improvement.

I understand “no pain, no gain” but if there no pleasure in the process, you will never achieve your goals. You will quit way before you get there.

·       Self-improvement must be done out of joy and understanding that you are doing the best you can.

This statement ties in with the previous statement Nick made. Not only do we make the process difficult to follow or accomplish, we then beat ourselves up over not doing it perfectly. Then we get the double whammy! We hate the process and we are disappointed for not getting it right every single day.

In order for self-improvement to work you have to find joy in the process. And you have to love and understand yourself enough to know that you are doing the best you can. Grace and mercy are huge components of self-improvement. So show yourself some!

Nick talked about some of the myths of self-improvement as well. We all buy into these and we almost wear them as a badge of honor. As a matter of fact, we often use these myths and constant complaining as our way to connect to other people. Especially if we value significance as one of our essential needs in life. Complaining meets the significance need because the people we complain to will generally show sympathy and support in response to the complaining. Their support will make the complainer feel important and valued which meets their need for significance.

Here are the myths of self-improvement Nick covered.

·       I can “panic” myself to a better life.

·       I need to be stressed to be worthwhile, valued, and productive.

·       Feeling guilty makes me a better person.

Think about what is happening when you are sensing a general feeling of stress. If you are feeling stress, it can only be driven by three things: something from your past, something from the present, or something from the future.

In spaces where you are able to be quiet to sit with your stress, you will find that stress usually drives the most creative and resourceful thinking. Meaning the stress is there to help you deal with a particular situation in a more creative and resourceful way. But the only way to get to this mental place is to choose peace over panic in that moment. Choosing panic doesn’t solve anything. It won’t allow enough space for creativity and resourcefulness to come in. The only thing that can open that door is peace.

And when we become more thoughtful, we don’t have to be so busy and stressed. We are more valued, worthwhile, and productive when we are thoughtful than when we are stressed.

How many of you feel guilty all of the time? Guilt feels like it is hard-wired into most women. I wrote a post about guilt last summer and you can read it in its entirety here. We have to realize that feeling guilty does not make us better people. Honestly, it takes courage not to follow the norm and it takes courage to do what’s right for us. So, be courageous, not guilty.

The next time you feel yourself being overcome by stress and guilt on your path to creating your greatest self, remember these truths and these myths, find a quite space to be creative, and give yourself a break. Your best you, is just on the other side.


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