Improving Yourself Doesn’t Mean Proving YourselfPosted: Mar 27 in Activity Recommendations, Health And Wellness, Obesity Medicine, Weight loss, Weight Management Strategies by Dr. Lazarus
It’s important to have goals in life. If you don’t have anything to achieve, it’s easy to feel lost and aimless. Yet for many people self-improvement has become an exhausting process of demonstrating their worth to others. Instead of putting their energy into changing themselves, they’ve put it into showing others how much they’ve changed. If you feel like you’re constantly proving yourself instead of improving yourself, here are three things to consider.
Why do you want to be a better person? Is it because you know that you’re OK, but you want to be better? Or is it because you think you’re not good enough and you need to improve? If you’re starting from a position of low self-esteem, it’s easy to get into the habit of believing that no matter what you do, you’ll never be as good as you should be. No matter how much you change, there’s still a negative voice in your head that undermines all your achievements. The antidote to that undermining inner voice is constantly to demonstrate all the good things you’ve done, until one day you realize you’re spending your time trying to prove your worth rather than feeling pleased with who you’ve become.
Who are you changing for? Are you trying to feel proud of yourself or to make someone else proud of you? Or are you basing your self-image on the number of likes and comments that you get on social media? Changing to make someone else happy is always more difficult than doing it for yourself. Even if you’re trying to please someone close to you, like a spouse or partner, it’s hard to try and live up to someone else’s expectations. And if you’re trying to get hundreds or thousands of strangers online to like you, then instead of being true to yourself and being the best version of yourself that you can be, you’re constructing and curating an image to sell to the world.
How will you measure your success? Is your goal to achieve something specific, like losing weight or gaining a qualification? Or do you want to feel better about yourself (or have other people feel better about you)? If – for instance – you decide to go to the gym so that you’ll feel happier when you look in the mirror, what happens when you’re in great shape but are still unhappy? Making changes in your life in order to feel good assumes that the things you’re changing are what’s making you feel bad. But if you’re actually unhappy because of your upbringing or your relationship or your stressful job, then changing to feel good becomes an endless treadmill of changing without ever feeling better. If you set yourself a target and then reach it you’ll probably feel good, but feeling good shouldn’t be the target.
It’s incredibly easy, and incredibly soul-destroying, to spend your time and energy trying to prove yourself to others rather than simply to become the best version of yourself. To avoid falling into that situation, consider whether you’re trying to make up for low self-esteem, whether you’re trying to please other people rather than yourself, and whether you’re setting a target that will make you feel good or setting feeling good as a target.