Growing up in a religious atmosphere, I was often under the impression that spending time to improve yourself was selfish. I believed that it was a form of self-absorption. Although I was not directly taught this, I formed negative assumptions concerning all things self-help and self-improvement.
Instead of spending time to improve yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, I thought that my time would be better spent helping other people with their needs and desires.
As I’ve grown more mature, I have been continually coming to the realization that my needs and wants are also important. I deserve to chase my dreams and pursue my passion just as much as anyone else.
Now that so much of my time is spent studying and learning about different aspects of self-improvement, I have come to believe that self-improvement, although it is primarily a “self-centered” practice, is not selfish. In fact, the act of improving yourself can benefit those around you in many ways:
1. Your Happiness makes other people Happy
I struggle with anxiety on a daily basis. It often has a negative impact on my friendships and ends up leading to days of nagging sadness. Lately, I have been investing in things that will help me overcome my anxiety. I have purchased books, watched videos, and have begun to practice meditation.
Is my desire to overcome anxiety selfish? Wouldn’t allow me to have deeper and more meaningful relationships with my friends and family? Wouldn’t it open me up to be more compassionate and giving?
If following the path to self-improvement causes you to be a more happy and grateful person, you will be able to make those around you happier as well. People who are confident and happy are more capable of encouraging and befriending others.
This is just one example of how improving yourself can improve the lives of those you care about.
2.Your Story has the potential to Inspire people
When I feel unmotivated to workout I often look at before and after pictures of body builders. Many of them started out very skinny and even wimpy, but through hard work and dedication they were able to achieve their goals.
We all have the potential to inspire people in this way. Our stories of personal success, whether it’s becoming a body builder or overcoming social anxiety, has the potential to inspire thousands of people.
Who knows, maybe you could be the next Steve Cook or Christian Guzman.
3. To Love others, you must Love yourself First
Similar to point #1, it is seemingly impossible to contribute to a relationship or friendship in a meaningful fashion when you don’t see yourself in the right light.
We often see this happen in romantic relationships. One of the members of the partnership may struggle with a deep insecurity. Becuase of this he might grow very lonely when his girlfriend is not around or get jealous when she spends time with her friends. He probably feels this way because he is not self-sufficient and needs the attention of his girlfriend to feel valuable.
However, if he had a greater sense of self-worth and self-love he would likely not grow so jealous and would be content with spending time alone or with friends rather than being with his girlfriend all the time.
When we learn to love who we are, we no longer need to seek the approval of others. Becuase of this effect, we can stop being clingy and needy and begin to contribute more meaningfully to our relationships.
Self-esteem has always been a vital part of self-improvement and rightfully so. The more you learn to accept and value yourself, the more value and joy you can give to others.