The Dark Side Of Self Improvement

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Have you ever felt like you were meant for bigger things? That your purpose in life was so much greater than the life that you are currently living right now? We live in a time where people want more, and they want to be more. Thankfully we have so many great opportunities around us that can help us become who we aspire to be. Self improvement is the bridge that allows us to make that change.

What is Self Improvement?

Self-improvement is a constant thing that teaches you how to be better at being you. It’s that door that leads you to be the best version of yourself. It has the power to show you how to be better at the things you love, and it can provide you with a map to the biggest treasure of life… fulfillment. With self-improvement, you can unleash that part of yourself that is trapped inside, screaming to get out.

How does Self Improvement Work?

Most people who want a better life and feel happier and more accomplished will set goals on the things that they want to achieve in life and work out a plan to get there. If you dream of a better job, you would probably use self-development to obtain more skills to be able to be the perfect candidate for that dream job. Or maybe you want to lose weight, and you begin your weight loss journey to achieve that dress size that you want to fit into. So in theory, self-development is the hard work that you put into turning your goals into a reality. But like everything else, self improvement has a dark side as well. The dark side of self improvement can lead you to complete the side of where you want to be.

Image: Andre Furtado

What is The Dark Side of Self Improvement?

Self improvement works just as the name says, improving yourself. You can achieve that by setting goals such as make more money or lose a few pounds. It depends on what you want to develop within yourself. You might feel like you aren’t happy in your current situation and what to change, which is entirely natural and very beneficial for your self-growth.

But what differentiates the dark side of self improvement and the right side of self improvement is a straightforward yet powerful word… Why.

Why do you want to improve? Why do you want that job? Why do you want to lose those extra pounds?

Self improvement is a powerful and essential tool for your happiness, but the problem is that we often associate happiness with other people’s opinions and views, instead of our own. We place our joy and purpose in life in their hands and chase over a dream that really isn’t ours. By believing that you aren’t good enough or skinny enough compared to other people, you will set goals based on fake expectations because guess what? In the end, even if you achieve those goals, you will feel no happier than you feel right now.

Imagine that you are in a job that pays you no more than all the bills that you have to pay every month, naturally, you would get frustrated and would want a job that paid you more. You would see people around you, making more money than you, when you need that money, so you would most likely follow the crowd and try to make more income that way. So you would probably have to learn new skills to fit into that industry and go for interviews and whatever else you would need to, to get that same job. You would probably do things that you aren’t exactly passionate about, but because your main goal is earning more income, you will push through it anyways, setting your eye on the outcome of that goal, making more money.

You will feel frustrated some days because you feel like you are doing everything you can, but seeing no results, and then you might get overwhelmed and quit. You used self improvement, so how can that be a bad thing? Why didn’t it work? Very simple, you didn’t listen to yourself. You skipped the most basic and crucial step of self improvement. People most often step into the dark side of self improvement because they don’t do it for the right reasons.

Self Improvement is an improvement, not a change. It should emphasize who you already are positively, instead of changing you entirely. The dark side of self improvement happens when you think that you are the problem. This isn’t true, because you have everything that you need within you to achieve the life that you desire. The only thing that self improvement can do for you is to enlighten the strong person that you already are on the inside.

For that reason, before you consider diving into a self improvement journey, you need to listen to yourself first. Because even if you are chasing for a job that pays you what you think you deserve, you should be hunting for a job that you love doing. You should be working towards a career that you are passionate about instead of a career that might be offering you a more substantial income, but not the same pleasure.

How To Avoid The Dark Side Of Self Development?

To use self development positively, you should first and foremost, ask yourself why you want to change. What is the reason that you want to improve? Avoid using contradictions when you do this, e.g. “I want to lose weight because I want people to accept me,” it’s okay if you want to change how you look if it’s for the right reasons. By setting your goals of self improvement on others’ opinions or by your negative thoughts, you won’t be able to reach for positive results.

If you set goals from the wrong place, you will not achieve happiness because those aren’t your reasons. You need to set goals such as ” I want to feel good about myself” instead, and that goes for any other self improvement goal that you might have.

Before you start with self improvement, figure out why you want to improve, listen to the voice within you. Understand what makes you happy and what your purpose is and once you figure that out, you will thrive in self improvement and keep yourself out of the dark side of self development, because the right side is so much more rewarding and fulfilling.

Don’t allow exterior voices to change the person that you are and want to become because you have the right answers within you.

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