What Does It Mean To “Self Improve?”

Self Improvement has become mainstream. In the last few years, since I have been writing articles and submitting them to article sites, I’ve noticed that the category of “Self Improvement” has been showing up lately when it was never there before. To me, this is very good news.

But what does it really mean to “Self Improve?” What are we really improving when we self improve? And what “self” are we improving?

We each have two “selves” – our wounded self and our core Self. Our core Self is our true self, our natural soul self – our essence. Our core Self is our passion, our joy, our gifts and talents, our ability to love, our creativity. We come into this life as our core Self, and when this Self is loved and valued by our parents, we continue to naturally grow our God-given gifts and talents and manifest the fullness of our beings. This Self wants to improve by learning the skills necessary to fully express itself.

But when this Self is not seen and valued in the way we needed, we create an alternative self, a self we hope will have control over getting the love we need and avoiding the pain we can’t handle – a self to help us feel safe. This is our false self, our wounded self, our ego self. This self is filled with the false beliefs that we absorbed as we were growing up – beliefs that end up limiting our true, core Self. This self does not needs improving – it needs healing.

The term “self improvement” can sometimes be a bit misleading, because we do not want to improve our wounded self. We do not want to improve on the ways we lie, manipulate, and avoid in our attempts to have control over getting love and avoiding pain. We don’t want to improve on our many addictions to substance and processes. We don’t want to improve on our anger, our compliance, our withdrawal and our resistance.

We want to heal it.

Healing and improving are not the same thing.

We can certainly self-improve when it comes to skills. We can improve in sports, in art, music, writing, cooking. We can improve our health and wellbeing by improving our diet and exercise program. We can improve in the knowledge we need to be more successful regarding work and money. We might be able to improve our relationships by learning new communication skills. But what if acquiring new knowledge and skills does not improve our health, or our ability to earn money, or our relationships? And what if learning new skills does not bring us more joy and inner peace? It may mean that we need to heal the underlying fears and false beliefs that cause us to be anxious, depressed, stressed, guilt-ridden, shamed, withdrawn, angry, blaming, or sad.

Sometimes Self Improvement just means practicing a skill, and others times it means that we need to participate in a deep healing process. For example, many people try to improve their health by losing weight and exercising. But if their food addictions are covering over unhealed pain, they might not be able to just change their diet. They might need to open to a healing process in order to eventually improve.

If you are really trying to self improve but find yourself stuck and unable to progress, or find that you have no joy or inner peace, you might want to open to the possibility that unhealed pain and beliefs are blocking your progress and causing your pain. It is easy to improve yourself when there is nothing blocking the way. But if you have old false beliefs about your adequacy and worth, these beliefs may be blocking your ability to take loving action in your own behalf. All your efforts to self improve will not bring you the satisfaction you are seeking if you have beliefs that are keeping you limited in fully expressing your true, core Self. If you are stuck, then you need to seek out a healing process, such as the Inner Bonding process we teach, that will move you out of the fears and beliefs that limit you. Healing these fears and limiting beliefs will open the door to improving your life in all ways!

Why Is It Important To Improve Your Self?

Sometimes, when all our doubts, fears and insecurities wrap ourselves up, we always come up with the idea of “I wish I was somebody else.” More often than not, we think and believe that someone or rather, most people are better than us.- when in reality, the fact is, most people are more scared than us.

You spot a totally eye-catching girl sitting by herself at a party, casually sipping on a glass of Asti Spumanti. You think to yourself, “she looks so perfectly calm and confident.” But if you could read thru her transparent mind, you would see a bunch of clouds of thoughts and you might just be amazed that she’s thinking “are people talking about why I am seated here alone?… Why don’t guys find me attractive? …I don’t like my ankles, they look too skinny… I wish I was as intelligent as my best friend.”

We look at a young business entrepreneur and say “Wooh… what else could he ask for?” He stares at himself at the mirror and murmur to himself, “I hate my big eyes… I wonder why my friends won’t talk to me… I hope mom and dad would still work things out.”

Isn’t it funny? We look at other people, envy them for looking so outrageously perfect and wish we could trade places with them, while they look at us and thinks of the same thing. We are insecure of other people who themselves are insecure of us. We suffer from low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and lose hope in self improvement because we are enveloped in quiet desperation.

Sometimes, you notice that you have an irritating habit like biting off your finger nails, having a foul mouth, and you – of all people, is the last to know.

I have a friend who never gets tired of talking. And in most conversations, she is the only one who seems to be interested in the things she has to say. So all of our other friends tend to avoid the circles whenever she’s around, and she doesn’t notices how badly she became socially handicapped – gradually affecting the people in her environment.

One key to self improvement is to LISTEN and TALK to a trusted friend. Find someone who you find comfort in opening up with even the most gentle topics you want to discuss. Ask questions like “do you think I am ill-mannered?”, “Do I always sound so argumentative?”, “Do I talk too loud?”, “Does my breath smell?”, “Do I ever bore you when were together?”. In this way, the other person will obviously know that you are interested in the process of self improvement. Lend her your ears for comments and criticisms and don’t give her answers like “Don’t exaggerate! That’s just the way I am!” Open up your mind and heart as well. And in return, you may want to help your friend with constructive criticism that will also help her improve her self.

One of Whitney Houston’s songs says “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” True enough. In order to love others, you must love yourself too. Remember, you cannot give what you do not have.

Before telling other people some ways on how to improve themselves, let them see that you yourself is a representation and a product of self improvement. Self improvement makes us better people, we then inspire other people, and then the rest of the world will follow.

Stop thinking of yourselves as second-rate beings. Forget the repetitive thought of “If only I was richer… if only I was thinner” and so on. Accepting your true self is the first step to self improvement. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others only to find out at the end that we’ve got 10 more reasons to envy them.

We all have our insecurities. Nobody is perfect. We always wish we had better things, better features, better body parts, etc. But life need not to be perfect for people to be happy about themselves.Self improvement and loving yourself is not a matter of shouting to the whole world that you are perfect and you are the best. It’s the virtue of acceptance and contentment. When we begin to improve ourselves, we then begin to feel contented and happy.

 

Trusting Your Inner Guidance

When we begin to feel lost or confused about various aspects of our lives, our first instinct is to search for direction. We feel sure that the answers we need are out there somewhere, and finding them will help us to know the right way to turn.

While seeking advice and guidance from others can be helpful at times, it is not always the best way to help ourselves. Rather than relying on someone else to tell us our truth, we can instead choose to look within and find the answers inside ourselves. Each of us has been given the gift of an inner advisor that will never steer us wrong.

This inner advisor is not pushy, however. He or she will not speak up unless we ask for help. When we finally open our hearts and minds to hear what our inner advisor has to say, the wisdom will begin to flow freely and our lives will begin to change for the better.

So, how do we tap this wealth of wisdom? Is there a request form we need to fill out somewhere? No, it’s even easier than that, thank goodness. Following are tips to help you connect with your inner guidance and use it to create your best life:

1) Create a Harmonious Forum – our inner guidance flourishes in peaceful, quiet surroundings. If you’ve got a lot of noise and chaos around you, you won’t be able to tap in and hear the wisdom waiting for you. Try to find a quiet place that you can relax in. You can also surround yourself with beauty by bringing in some fresh flowers, scented candles or incense, or even some soothing artwork. Whatever will help put you in a calm, peaceful mood.

2) Turn Within – if you’re not a regular meditator, this can be tricky at first. You might wonder what the heck you’re supposed to be turning “toward,” or focusing on. The answer is simple: nothing. Focus on nothing. Simply close your eyes and turn your attention inward, to the silence within you. Random thoughts will probably keep popping in, but gently push them back out and return your attention to the silence.

3) Listen for Wisdom – if you’ve got a specific situation you’re struggling with, this would be a good time to think about it. Try to do so without judgment, and without trying to come to any conclusions. Just ponder the issue and practice acceptance for what it is at this moment. Then ask yourself, “What would be the best course of action for me at this time?” Consider the possibilities before you, and think about how each one makes you feel. Most often, you will notice a difference between something that feels right, and something that feels wrong.

4) Let the Solution Materialize – if you don’t recieve any insights initially, put the issue aside for awhile. By going through this process, you’ve already tapped into your inner guidance and asked for help. Even if the answer doesn’t appear immediately, it will eventually. And in my experience, it doesn’t take long! Just make an effort to stay open to the answer when it arrives. It will usually arrive in a flash of inspiration or insight that makes you say, “Ah ha!” Or perhaps it will be more along the lines of a subtle gut feeling, where you just know that one particular course of action “feels” right.

5) Act from the Heart – once you know what you need to do, act with confidence. Don’t let worries or fears hold you back. Believe that your inner guidance knows what’s best for you, and move forward with courage. Remember that there are truly no right or wrong paths in life, only experiences that we can learn from. By at least examining your options and considering which path is right for you at this time, you are making a wiser decision than you would otherwise.

At all times, strive to be your own master. There is nothing wrong with seeking knowledge and insight from others, but you aren’t bound to mindlessly follow where they lead, either. You have the ability to find your own way and decide what’s best for you. In your quest for knowledge, you will come across information that feels right to you, and information that doesn’t seem to make sense. Use discernment and understand that there are many truths. You just have to find yours.

Your Week to Take Care of Your Life

Do your best to take care of your week, and you’ll take care of your life.

This may be something you understand on the surface level, but do you live by this idea? Many of us actually tend to favour looking through one of the lenses below:

  • The Today Mindset: You focus on getting as much done as possible each day
  • The Monthly Mindset: You think about how you can have a great month
  • The Year Mindset: You often dream about what you plan on achieving this year
  • The Retiree Mindset: You reflect on how magical life will be once you finally retire

None of these mindsets are optimal. That’s because they either produce too much pressure (the today mindset) or they provide a likelihood of procrastination (all the rest). Think of always looking at the distant horizon instead of doing what you can to live meaningfully this week.

I would argue that most people, unconsciously fall into one of previously mentioned mindsets. I used to lead my life from the monthly mindset. Every task, or goal, and philosophy I used to have, was about having the best month possible. Let’s see why this is a poor strategy.

Why the Monthly Mindset is Inefficient

A couple of years ago, I made it my goal to read four books per month. But month after month, I wasn’t able to reach my target. Because I had such a large window of time, I could easily slack off for a couple of weeks at the start. So I would end up only reading right towards the end of each month due to my deadline. You can put that down to a mixture of laziness and poor strategy, but it was largely because of the strategy.

How Focusing on the Week Changed My Life

So, instead of making it my goal to read four books per month, I decided to read one book per week. Same result, but slightly, different tactic. The subtle shift from focusing on the month to the week massively increased my consistency and focus. I started reading more books and enjoyed the process a whole lot more.

I then started thinking about how I could apply this concept to all the areas of my life…

The value in this small story is that the time-window with which you view your life, can dramatically impact your results. To generate more consistency and appreciation,  everything in your life gets better when you see it through the lens of this current week. 

So if you want a great life, do what you can to build it this week.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How can I implement the most enjoyable workout routine for me this week?
  • How can I do what I love more often this week?
  • How can I create a bigger impact this week?
  • How can I take more risks this week?

Focusing on completing daily tasks to achieve your goals is inflexible. Focusing on the month is a better strategy, but still, it lacks sufficient positive pressure. If you choose to focus on your year – there’s hardly any pressure to take action. There’s a chance of losing track of your goals, and you can quickly revert to living without intention. Living with the retiree mindset forces you to delay living your best life in your youngest years.

The Week: The Perfect balance between Focus and Flexibility

I’ve used this ‘weekly mindset’ to play my favourite sport more often, improve my fitness, and write more articles. Life feels a lot easier when you experience life through the viewpoint of a week. Your week is not an isolated series of days. What you do during your week represents the person who you are becoming.

Take care of the week, and you’ll end up taking care of your month, year, and life.

My Last Words

If you’re a creative and interested in learning how to upgrade the way you use you live your week, read my free guide on Spiritual Productivity.

  • You’ll learn about how to split up your day into four chunks, so you worry less about external influences.
  • You’ll discover the small hacks that will take your creative work on your PC to the next level. And much more…

 Author

Samy Felice

 is a writer who is passionate about unique ideas related to living a meaningful life. His Free Guide explores ways people can make success easier.