Embrace the Paradox of Self-Improvement

Are you good enough as you are, or do you think you can do better?

That question highlights the paradox of self-improvement.

Before you can make your life better, you must believe you’re worthy of something better.

That means accepting and loving yourself as you are right now.

But at the same time, it requires you to take inventory of your shortcomings. What have you been doing wrong? How can you do better? How can you be better?

The real answer is to judge yourself by the correct standard. You aren’t perfect. You never were. You never can be.

But are you you moving in the right direction? Are you a better person today than you were a year ago? Can you see ways to become a better person at the end of 2019 than you are now?

If you believe you have to be perfect, never make mistakes, and never do anything wrong, then you’re setting an impossible standard for yourself. That leads to despair and to giving up. Don’t go there.

You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be getting better. The steps might be small ones, but if you’re taking those steps and making a sincere effort, then you’re succeeding.

Sometimes, you will still fall short. That’s inevitable. But if you pick yourself up and keep going in the right direction, you can never be a failure. You can only succeed.

Believe in yourself. Believe in what’s right. Be a better person at the end of 2019 than you are now.

Let’s do it together.


Check out my new book Why Sane People Believe Crazy Things: How Belief Can Help or Hurt Social Peace. Foreword Reviews called it “not only interesting, but vital for living.”

About N.S. Palmer

N.S. Palmer is an American mathematician.
This entry was posted in Human Relations, Life, Psychology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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