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Are you improving yourself or rejecting yourself?

Jun 12, 2024
path to authentic growth

 

A constant desire for self-improvement is a form of self-rejection

 

“I can’t stop criticizing myself. Every mistake, every flaw, every shortcoming—I dwell on them endlessly. I am filled with guilt for my past mistakes and keep imagining what would have happened, had I chosen a different path.”

 

“What do you think is the reason behind self-criticism?”

 

“Well, isn’t self-criticism a way to improve oneself? Every book I read, every self-help guide suggests reflecting on one's flaws. The more aware I become, the more problems I see. The more problems I see, the worse I feel about myself."

 

“Self-reflection is essential, but there's a fine line between self-criticism and self-observation. Observing your actions is one thing, but judging your actions constantly, is another.”

 

“Is that why my self-image is not improving? I feel like I'm getting worse instead of getting better.”

 

“Self-criticism can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the more you focus on the ways in which something is wrong, the more you stray away from self-acceptance.”

 

“Hmm.”

 

“And the farther you are from self-acceptance, the farther you are from true change.”

 

“I have never understood this. Why does self-acceptance lead to change?”

 

To understand this we have to observe how most self-criticism is actually not self-criticism.

 

It is an internalization of judgments and labels we have received from society.

 

If you think, “I am not smart enough”, it's only because you are comparing with some social standard of intelligence.

 

If you think, “I am not worthy of love,” that's only because you were not loved enough in your childhood.

 

If you think, “I can’t get anything done, I procrastinate too much”, it's only because you are confusing action with how society defines productivity.

 

This is self-rejection.

 

We reject ourselves because we are a product of a society which wants to conform. Very few people around us actually know how to accept themselves.

 

Even fewer understand what loving oneself means.

 

They are all obsessed with self-improvement, in which there is no love.



Love begins with Connection.

 

This process is simpler than it seems.

 

By noticing and accepting your thoughts and emotions as they arise, without labeling them as good or bad, you begin to see yourself more clearly. 



By learning how to breathe and connect with your physical body, you begin to perceive your inner self more clearly.

 

This clarity brings a sense of calm and assurance. 

 

You become more attuned to your inner states, and you try and protect this peace and calm you feel within your own being.

 

To protect this sense of connection and peace requires you to act in certain ways.

 

To exercise, to eat healthy, to sleep well, to meditate, to journal.

 

When you are connected with yourself, you begin to act in ways that are true to who you are, rather than who you think you should be.

 

This is the essence of self-love—a side effect of deep self-connection.

 

You don’t have to “practice” it. It's just there when you feel connected.

 

Self-criticism often stems from a fear of not being enough.

 

But when you are connected to yourself, the question of being or not being enough itself evaporates. 

 

This realization doesn't mean you stop growing or improving; it means you grow and improve from a place of acceptance and love, not from a place of criticism and fear.

 

By staying connected to yourself, you create a foundation of inner peace and resilience. You become less reactive to external pressures and more attuned with your own needs and desires.

 

This connection is the key to living a fulfilled and authentic life.

 

In this journey, you discover that true growth comes not from relentless self-criticism, but from a gentle self-connection.

 

You learn that you can embrace your flaws and strengths alike, and in doing so, you find a deeper sense of self-worth. 

 

This self-worth is not about perfection, but about being present with and accepting your true self.

 

To truly transform, you must shift from self-criticism to self-connection. That path leads to authentic growth and self-love.

 

Meditation Minute : Your Weekly Practice

This week, go for a walk outside. Sit on a park bench or in a quiet spot where there is a tree or a plant nearby. Now observe this tree, until the word disappears.

Can you look at it without knowing what it is? Can you transcend the label you give to everything?

Look beyond the label, to see the reality of the thing. Its transformative power is beyond description.

 

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