Self Acceptance and Self Improvement

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, September 04, 2019
By Todd D. Giardina, PH. D

The key is to balance self acceptance and self improvement.

The phrase in your head would be like “Wow I’m really successful. Doing great…And ya know, I want to see if I can get that promotion. Even if I don’t, life’s still pretty darn good.”

“I’m gorgeous … and also, I want to hit the gym an extra day a week.”

“My marriage is awesome but a couples retreat may be great to bring us even closer together.”

But….but, but, but….

You need to know when to stop at good enough. To be careful of that in the course of pursuing perfect you don’t end up spoiling something that’s awesome.

Self improvement can keep you moving and motivated and excited about goals.

But it can also create insecurities and open Pandora’s Box.

If you go to a plastic surgeon, they’ll point out the cellulite. Talk to a car dealer, he’ll show you why you need a new car. But that doesn’t mean the cellulite or the current set of wheels need changing.

So today’s food for thought is this: Can you balance self acceptance and self improvement? Where’s the tipping point?

(Yeah, the tipping can go the other way too. A little too comfortable where self improvement may be warranted. Delusionally happy… as it were.)

I’ll close with a lesson about the hedonic treadmill. Run fast or slow on a physical treadmill and you go the same distance. Psychologically speaking, Whatever you pursue will at some point become the new normal and you’ll always be chasing the next level. More.

More money. More beauty. More power. More things.

Unless you can stay insightful and mindful. And realize that right where you are is pretty awesome. And a heck of a lot further down the road from where you started. That’s how you find real joy. By taking pride in your efforts that got you to here, and being content with yourself here and now as you presently are. And knowing that pursuing “better” does not always lead to feeling happier.

Much ❤️
Dr G

Do you struggle to get to self improvement or self acceptance?
Do you know when self improvement is enough and when you’ve reached self acceptance?