We’ve all browsed the self-help section of the bookstore, desperate for answers or at least a little guidance. We want to know how we can be better people, for ourselves and for the people around us. However, rather than turning inwards to learn about ourselves, who we are, and what we need, we increasingly turn to blogs, articles, books, or social media to tell us how we’re supposed to be and feel.
These resources can be helpful in our quest for self-improvement, but there is much to be said about looking internally for our own answers. We all have a different path to walk on this earth, and no two paths are exactly alike. Why would you take advice from a generic self-help book when your journey is already so much different than everyone else’s?
Self-improvement isn’t found in a book or a speaker, a class or a choice. Rather, it is a daily set of thoughts, questions, and ideas that we form about and for ourselves. We drive our own self-improvement journey by increasing our awareness of ourselves.
We can listen to guides, life coaches, therapists, and other trusted friends and family members when they give us advice. In fact, these sources often know us very well. They might see things in ourselves that we don’t notice. By listening to their advice, we acknowledge that we are imperfect and that there are things we can improve about ourselves.
We don’t always have to listen to this advice, however; sometimes knowing ourselves means knowing when we know we are right, and when others aren’t. We have the power to know ourselves and to change our own lives.
Improvement comes with trusting yourself and others. If you find yourself resisting the advice of other people, ask yourself why. Do you feel criticized when people give you advice? Do you reject it and assume they are wrong? These reactions come from insecurities we have about ourselves. It is important to take these reactions into consideration when working on yourself.
The criticism that comes from people we trust isn’t meant to be harmful. In many cases, they might not realize that you’ve taken their words the wrong way. Take a look at their intentions and motivations first before jumping to conclusions. Take their thoughts or advice into consideration before throwing it out of your brain.
Understanding yourself means taking stock of how you are feeling and what you are thinking on a regular basis. Notice your patterns, what triggers you, and when you feel successful. By getting to know yourself better you can understand what you need to do in order to change and improve. The things that cry out for attention in our lives are often the things that need to be changed the most.
You can also work on yourself by noticing what actions or behaviors of yours impact other people. You might notice that people react negatively when you do or say certain things. This is the time when you might be willing to say that the problem lies within you, not with other people. This isn’t a bad thing, but rather an important step towards self-improvement.
Improving yourself is a journey. There are days where you will feel like you’ve improved, and days where you don’t. Every day is a new chance to be better.