Most of our attempts to improve are in some way or another rooted in a fundamental rejection of ourselves.
When we look to what we want to improve in ourselves, the list is ultimately a bunch of things that we aren’t happy with.
- I drink too much and that’s bad for my health. I need to stop that.
- I eat too much and that’s causing me to put on weight. I need to do less of that.
- I watch too much TV and that means I’m wasting my life. I should do less of that.
- I play too many video games and it’s all I’m doing and that means I’m missing out on life. I need to stop.
- I get lip fillers injected because I don’t like the way I look as I age, so I’ll overcome that.
- I’m not happy with the way my stomach looks, so I’ll go to the gym and resolve that.
All of these things, taken in isolation, are fine. In fact, many of them are good habits to cultivate.
The problem isn’t the habit itself, it’s the way of being underneath, from which we are taking that action.
Fundamentally, we are unwilling to love this part of ourselves that we are trying to shift. We are attempting to excise a part of ourselves – to lobotomize or surgically remove the part of ourselves that is bad, amidst the rest of ourselves that is good.
This is ultimately self-hate. A rejection of a part of you.
And so, any action taken to improve yourself, from this place, is an action taken from self-rejection.
The trick here is that we get caught up on why this action really is a healthy thing. Forget about that for now.
I can start exercising because I hate the way my stomach looks (for the record: a little round and like I really enjoy carbohydrates), and I may even get results.
But those results all sit on top of hating myself. I feel good, as long as I don’t slip, as long as I don’t make a mistake, as long as my stomach (or biceps or whatever) continues to shift its shape in a particular direction.
I end up with the results of going to the gym, over top of hating myself.
Or, I can learn to love the way I look, and the fact that I’m a guy that loves bread.
From that place, I can start to choose what I want to do next, without a need to outrun self-loathing.
I can start going to the gym, and exercise, with the freedom of being okay and accepting of myself. That opens me up to being with however my workout goes, and however my stomach grows and shrinks.
You can use the fuel of fear and self-hate to create incredible results. A lot of the world is built on this.
But which leaves you feeling better, overall, about yourself? You hating on yourself, or loving on yourself?
When you start to live this way you find that your focus shifts away from self-improvement to self-love.
1. Because you can’t give what you can’t receive, self-love is ultimately the same as love.
2. I try to be fairly active because I love games, and because I love good food and drink. Playfully, I’m in a game of trying to outrun my own gluttony.
3. I’m always moving in and out of loving the parts of myself that are compulsive. The better I get at loving them, the easier it is for me to connect to the thing that my compulsions are trying to protect me from, and the easier it is to heal.
4. A lot of the fitness, cosmetic and beauty industries are serving people to overcome what they hate about themselves. Nothing is as attractive as the radiance someone has when they truly love themselves.