You Are Enough Just as You Are—but It’s OK To Seek Self-Improvement Too

You Are Enough Just as You Are—but It’s OK To Seek Self-Improvement Too

So much of happiness and life is about balance.

We can enjoy accomplishment and achievement; but need also to enjoy the journey.

We can plan for the future; but need also to live in the present.

We should try to care for others; but we need first to care for ourselves!

Balance self-acceptance and self-improvement is one of the greatest challenges …

via Very Well Mind by Sarah Fielding

Key Takeaways

  • Self-acceptance and self-improvement are often seen as exclusive of each other.
  • Mental health experts explain the importance of balancing the two to create a happy, fulfilled life.
  • The main takeaway: You don’t need to accomplish certain things to be enough. You are enough already as you embark on the adventure of your life.

You are enough. This statement is not a lie or placation. It is a simple fact. Each human being—ignoring, in this instance, those who harm others—is enough, and deserving of love and happiness, just as they are. It should be a given but somehow society has taken this truth and turned it into a radical stance. You can be perfectly complete just the way you are, and still take steps towards self-improvement.

On the one hand, self-acceptance is tied to loving and appreciating yourself. Conversely, it’s seen as something that can only be true once you achieve X, Y, and Z. The latter has more apparent issues, placing your worth in what you accomplish instead of existing without a need to be proven. The former appears to be inherently good. However, when taken to an extreme, it creates the notion that any work on yourself or towards goals is a form of questioning if you are truly enough.

These polar ends often appear with the greatest strength at the start of the new year, thanks to the tradition of resolutions and fresh starts. There are calls to hit the gym every day, reading to reach some number of books, and saying yes to everything—even things you know you hate. Then there are the loud calls to forego any of that, ignore resolutions, accept yourself exactly how you are, and treat January 1 like any other day.

It’s not a matter of either/or

Both these notions—blanket self-acceptance without self-reflection, and the fervent determination to self-improve—create issues when left unanalyzed.

“Focusing solely on self-acceptance can become dangerous when we start to ignore our challenges or shortcomings to our detriment. When our limitations are harming our relationships or are negatively impacting our life circumstances, like our jobs or housing, not acknowledging the need for change is likely to backfire,” says Saba Harouni Lurie, LMFT, ATR-BC, the owner and founder of Take Root Therapy.

She gives the example of a person who is always flaky or late. You can accept this about yourself and leave others to deal with it, but Lurie expresses the benefit of looking at it as a current trait to be worked on.

This thought process can be applied to fitness or health goals as well. You can practice self-love for your body in whatever form it takes while also making little changes to your lifestyle and eating habits. It seems like such an obvious solution but so many of us make detrimental statements like “I’m going to stop being bad by eating so much candy, quit being lazy, and finally lose these 10 lbs”. We think harsh statements are going to motivate us but they don’t.

Instead, you might say something like “I love my body and I want to feel my best, so I’m going to find joy and pleasure in new foods and activities”. You’re still acknowledging your desire to change without shaming yourself in the process.

Balancing both pursuits is an act of self-compassion. It also means understanding that change is non-linear and that self-acceptance and self-improvement will both require practice and patience.

— SABA HAROUNI LURIE, LMFT, ATR-BC

As Naiylah Warren, LMFT, Therapist and Clinical Content Manager at Real, explains the balance we all need to find, “You acknowledge issues without cruel judgment and care for them accordingly. On the other hand, diving too deep into self-improvement may diminish the strengths, qualities, and positive attributes by assuming everything needs to change and overly focusing on all the things that aren’t to your standard.”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE