Are We Going Too Far The Other Way with Self-Improvement?

A friend of mine on Facebook recently linked to this great article by the New Yorker that I ended up sharing on my own feed. It struck a chord with me.

Anyone that knows me well knows that self-care and self-improvement are my jam. I believe in it, I am passionate about it, and I am often talking about it…at least once a day, if not more. My default modus operandi is to continuously strive to be just a little bit better each day.

Rough day? Lessons were learned. A great day? We seized the moment. Just a mediocre day? Routines are comforting. 

I have a daily gratitude journal where everyday (okay, let’s be honest, as many days as I can remember to do it), I write at least 3 things that I am grateful for. This helps me to end my day on a grateful, positive note.

I write in my journal almost daily. I read as many books/blogs/articles as I can on self-improvement, thriving, becoming our best self, etc. Whenever any of these topics come up, I jump headfirst into the conversation, excited and ready to hear what others have to say and eager to put in my own thoughts on the subject.

But can I be honest with you?  

It’s fucking exhausting sometimes. Honestly, there are days that are shit where I just want to acknowledge that it’s been shit, eat some ice cream and chocolate, and binge watch some bad TV. No self-improvement, no lessons learned. Just a day that I have to get through and one that I’m thankful is over when it’s done.

There have been times where I’ve actively avoided doing ANY sort of “self-improvement” or “self-care” activity, almost in protest of the fact that this was something I always seemed to be doing and I just didn’t want to do it anymore. Is there even such a thing as self-care burnout? 

After reading this article, I feel like there might be. Or at least a point where we feel almost resentful and tired of the fact that we feel this pressure to constantly improve ourselves, constantly strive to be our best self every damn day.

Even when I do write about something on the negative side, I find I am always pulled toward finding the lesson or the silver lining in the situation. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about optimism and seeing the glass as half-full…most of the time.

But, like I said above, it can get pretty damn exhausting. And when we do let those negative feelings creep into our active consciousness, we feel guilty. We feel like we need to do something right away to change it around, turn the negative into a positive, and get back on the self-improvement train!

So my message to you (and to myself as a reminder)…make self-improvement a priority, but not to the point where we start to feel exhausted by it. Every once in a while, let that bad, good, or mediocre day be just that. No lessons, no reflection, no gratitude if that is what it takes. Let the messy in. Give it some love once in a while.

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