Let’s explore the idea of having a great relationship with yourself further.
I believe that having a great relationship with yourself is one way of being authentic and being authentic helps you show up as who you are when you interact with others, and that’s one of the most attractive things you could do… or be.
I also believe that it’s more important to know who you are and to love yourself than being who you are.
Let me briefly recap: You are always being you even when you are pretending to be someone else or staying in your own comfort zone. When people tell you to be yourself, I believe what they are really trying to convey to you is to be authentic; knowing who you are and loving yourself, I believe, help you get in touch with your authentic self.
What I mean by being authentic here is something like being spontaneous, curious, fear free, inspired, excited, delightful and alive.
My aim in this post is to connect personal development with the act of knowing and loving yourself. To be more specific, I want to suggest that personal development sucks when you work on yourself with the scarcity mentality (a nice little surprise after promoting a package of personal development products, eh?), but I also want to suggest that there is an alternative way of approaching personal development.
My suggestion is to take it as a way of discovering your potentials and becoming who you want to be as well as a way of practising self love, instead of trying to look for problems in you and to fix these problems you think you have.
What I intend to refer to by the term ‘personal development’ here is broad: It’s pretty much anything that helps you become a better person. So, in addition to self-help/personal development books, courses and activities, I’m happy to include yoga, cooking, dancing and any other things if these activities help you become a better person or if you intend to become a better person through these activities. That is, I’m thinking of personal development as an attitude towards what you do rather than a specific set of activities.
You are free to disagree with me and I’d be happy if you could give me a better definition of personal development, but I hope what I wrote above clarifies what I’m talking about in this post.
If you are interested in creating and living a romantic life, I bet you are a kind of person who is motivated to become a better person. That’s great! I wonder how you’ve been working on yourself (tell me in the comment section!). Or perhaps you are planning to change yourself for the better by quitting smoking, taking a dance course, or learning to cook.
Let me first speak the words of caution about personal development.
Personal development sucks when you approach it from the scarcity mentality about who you are and what you are capable of doing.
Let me explain what I mean.
The scarcity mentality in question is about how you evaluate yourself or how you perceive yourself to be. In your perception, you are inadequate and have a lot of flaws. The main reason why you want to be a better person is because you feel you are incomplete and you want to get rid of your problems, which you can’t accept for some reason.
Let me guess why you feel this way – you compare yourself with others and you feel you are not as worthy as people around you for what seems to be missing from you. This story I’ve described may not fit you 100%, but if you can relate yourself to it to some degree, here’s what I say.
You are perfect just the way you are. Now, what I just said actually doesn’t make much sense when you feel you have problems. So, let me clarify it a bit more.
I can understand that you think you have problems, but even these problems you think you have are part of you. By being perfect, I don’t mean that you are a flawless being. You could see yourself with a number of flaws, especially when you evaluate yourself from someone else’s perspective – standards set by some other people.
What I mean is that you are a complete being that needs no fixing. Trust me, you are not a broken machine, but a beautiful human being.
You might be dissatisfied with who you are today, and that’s perfectly fine if that feeling comes from the desire to get closer to who you want to be rather than the urge to impress others.
I believe you don’t have to be completely happy with who you are in order to love yourself, provided that you still accept the parts of you that you don’t like.
You could sit down with yourself and politely ask yourself to do something about it. That way, you can be honest with yourself.
So, being dissatisfied with yourself is not a bad thing in every situation. What’s worse would be indifference towards yourself. If you’ve been neglecting your feelings, ideas, dreams, desires and so on, I believe that’s more problematic. I suppose I could write another post on that. Remember, curiosity plays an important role in love and romance.
When you look for problems in yourself and try to fix them, you’ll keep finding them and you end up spending your time and energy on getting rid of these perceived problems. You might feel like beating up yourself for not being able to completely eliminate your problems as well. Once you’ve gone into that pattern, you might have to deal with endless problems.
Your motivation might be to help yourself from these problems you think you have, but if you are the one who keeps pushing yourself into the pit of false problems, then you’ll keep falling into it. Let’s stop that.
Also, let’s stop comparing yourself with others and trying to be a better person in order to impress them. My favourite writer Julien Smith has written a fantastic post against trying to impress others; do read his post here. (It’s not just about that topic, but also about some other great insights. It’s a must read.)
By the way, it’s important to realise the fact that you cannot do x now doesn’t mean you have no talent or no potential in getting better at doing x. If you are a beginner in something, it’s natural that you suck at it. Try not to connect your beginner status with your value as a person or your potentials.
What’s important is to understand what you are doing wrong and what needs to be done to improve your skills, and to take action. If you keep practising, you’ll get better eventually. Enjoy the process and love the fact that you are discovering parts of you that you didn’t know before no matter how small your progress might be.
Now, let’s talk about an alternative approach to personal development: you can approach personal development as a way of discovering your potentials and becoming who you want to be as well as a way of practising self love.
Instead of beating up yourself, be curious and know what you can do as well as what you can’t do now.
Instead of trying to look for problems in you and to fix them, enjoy the process of working on yourself and learning more about who you are as well as who you could become.
Instead of being indifferent towards your authentic self, accept who you are today and be excited about the fact that you can get closer to the person you want to be if you keep practising.
You don’t need to add anything to yourself or to fix your perceived problems through your personal development endeavours. Instead, you can use personal development activities to make yourself feel alive and delighted. That way, you can get to know more about yourself and get in touch with your authentic self.
Keep loving yourself, because it gets better and better.