Thursday, April 28, 2011
Self Improvement & Self Acceptance: Mutually Exclusive?
Photo: We Heart It.
“As I thought about happiness, I kept running up against paradoxes. I wanted to change myself but accept myself. I wanted to take myself less seriously—and also more seriously. I wanted to use my time well, but I also wanted to wander, to play, to read at whim. I wanted to think about myself so I could forget myself. I was always on the edge of agitation; I wanted to let go of envy and anxiety about the future, yet keep my energy and ambition. Was I searching for spiritual growth and a life more dedicated to transcendent principles—or was my happiness project just an attempt to extend my driven, perfectionist ways to every aspect of my life?’
-Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
I found The Happiness Project, or rather; it found me, a few weeks ago during a routine visit to Barnes and Noble. In the vein of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, the memoir chronicles the adventures of New York writer, Gretchen Rubin, as she spends 12 months, “test driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.”
The paradox she describes in the quote above, between striving and self-acceptance, got me thinking. I mean, isn’t a certain lack of self-acceptance necessary to face the discomfort that self-improvement inherently entails?
After pondering this for a few minutes, I did what I normally do when I reach an impasse. I Googled. And found the following quote:
"It’s perfectly possible to accept yourself just how you are, to love the body, mind and soul that you have – and because of that love, to want to keep developing and improving, striving to be the very best person who you can be."
Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Here's to loving yourself enough to continue to work to be the best person you can be!