I frequently hear people say that they want to be the best version of themselves, and this saddens me. It suggests that they’re unhappy with who they are or perhaps how they behave.
When people seek ‘self-improvement’ they are usually focusing on their (perceived) weaknesses or their personal challenges. They speak about the behaviours or traits that they don’t like, but rarely mention their strengths or positive qualities.
Sadly, people are usually their harshest critics; if they spoke to their friends, the way they speak to (or about) themselves they wouldn’t have any friends.
When we concentrate our attention on what we feel is wrong with us, or needs fixing, it keeps us in a negative mindset and that’s not a good starting point for self-development or personal growth.
Dissatisfaction often stems from ‘Comparisonitis’, the unhelpful practise of comparing oneself to others (and usually falling short). It is widely accepted that Comparisonitis is more common now than in the pre-digital age. When bombarded with Facebook ads or YouTube or TikTok videos, it’s easy to believe that everyone else is more successful, happier, having more fun, etc. than you. Whilst that may be true of some, it certainly won’t be true of all. And amongst those who know you, there will probably be folk who think you’ve ‘nailed it’ or are envious of your lively spirit or placid temperament.
Why not ask your friends or loved ones what they like or admire about you?
At the start of every year, I welcome new (and returning) clients to my practice who want to transform themselves. They say they want my help to ‘rewire their brain’ or provide some kind of beneficial shift. Sometimes they’ll say they want to be a better person (whatever that is) or to attain something they feel is lacking.
Naturally, I’m happy to work with clients who want to ditch unwanted habits, overcome a fear, gain confidence, etc. but when working with clients I often explain that one thing that appears to be lacking is kindness… towards themselves!
It’s important that we accept that we are human beings who will sometimes make poor judgements, and occasionally ‘stuff up’. When you are kinder to yourself and more tolerant of your traits and mistakes your self-esteem will improve, you’ll become more resilient, and you’ll enjoy a more positive outlook.
When you stop comparing yourself with others, the changes you are striving for will become easier and feel more doable. And if you want some help to get your confidence or goals back on track, get in touch to have an initial chat.
Happy New Year!
(This article originally featured in Valley Life magazine)