I wasn’t planning on writing anything. I have talked at length about my feelings on self-improvement. Mine is certainly not the most popular stance. I believe 90% of all self-improvement efforts come from a place of self-hatred rather than from a place self-acceptance. We often disguise acts of self-harm/self-abuse with pretty and placatory rhetoric but when the ultimate goal is erasure or truth distortion the outcome is never favorable long-term. All of our various qualities are essential to who we are and while degrees of said qualities vary, we are all human. I have found great sources of strength in my so-called flaws. Stubbornness = Determination. Impatience = Enthusiasm. You simply can’t possess one without the other, they are two sides of the same coin. So be careful what you wish for when building the new you and remember that you can never escape yourself no matter how much shit and/or glitter you adorn.
We waste so much effort in trying to control and micromanage every aspect of our lives. We even attempt to control one another in an effort to maintain a very limiting ego view! I have seen so many people push away friends and family when on a self-improvement kick all because their friends and family refuse to conform to their very limited world view. Obviously some relationships are truly abusive/unhealthy but I am not talking about those relationships. I am talking about your garden variety relationship. No relationship is perfect. There are no perfect people. And there is no magical state of homeostasis that occurs once you reach a goal that does not have to be maintained through continuous and conscientious effort. I work very hard to maintain my weight. In order to maintain my weight I have to exercise, I have to eat regular/balanced meals. If there is a magical stage where I can eat whatever I want and sit around on the sofa all day and still maintain my health and physique I have yet to enter it. Years of healthy eating have not released me from my cravings. Some people say that after they have been eating clean X number of months/years that their cravings subside. I can’t speak for them but for me this has not been the case. I crave bad food sometimes. I also crave vegetables sometimes. As I get older I am less attracted to certain desserts but what I never seem to do is lose my appetite. I have a voracious appetite and a passionate love of food. What’s the point of starving myself on a bland diet? What’s the point of killing my passion for food? Can’t this passion be harnessed? Cannot this not too be a strength?
I hated exercise when I was a child. As an adult I have learned to look forward to my workouts. I still hate running but there are lots of other styles of training that I genuinely enjoy. Has exercise gotten easier? Yes and no. I have certainly gotten into the habit of regular exercise. I have seen the benefits of regular exercise. I have to continually challenge my body. I have to sweat and struggle otherwise it’s not really exercise is it? Without opposition there can be no growth. Weight-loss though should just be a byproduct, a side-effect because once weight-loss is achieved most people either loss motivation and revert to their previous behaviors or they continue to starve themselves into horrific caricatures. Goals are important but goals that devalue you are more harmful than helpful.
Anyone can be more peaceful if they move to Buddhist retreat and live a simple, monotonous lifestyle where everyone around them more or less adheres to the same system of values and there is probably benefit in going on the occasional retreat but in the end growth comes from being challenged. My daughter often says I will be more positive when life goes my way, when I get my perfect moment. Every moment has its truth. We are never going to get our shit together, that’s not actually the point though is it? The fun is in the process. Life is in the process.
Doing things you hate to improve the quality of your life simply doesn’t work long-term. Embrace new experiences, fall in love with life and all those shallow imitations of happiness/fulfillment will naturally loosen their grip. If you think of change as a natural and organic process and you accept yourself (warts and all) you will get to a point where you start to make better choices, choices that promote mental/physical/spiritual health. Fuck the mold. Be like water.