Self-improvement. It is a term you would have heard a lot about. Maybe you heard it on an infomercial, a spectacular BB cream that will solve all of your life’s problems. Or maybe you heard it floating around your weekly yoga class, you know the one, the one that you only went to because you read somewhere that it is the “key to happiness and content”. Either way, self-improvement is a term you relate to things like fruit smoothies, diets, cleanses and the ideal healthy lifestyle. You are meant to accept the things you cannot change, and improve everything and anything you can. It is important to find the difference between accepting and improving because, while we should be happy and confident with who we are, we should be open-minded about our ideals and be ready to accept healthy changes.
Self-improvement to me is our willingness to grow, learn and become better people. Being attentive to the idea that yes, parts of us are flawed, we are human after all. But that doesn’t make us inherently bad people. Life is one big learning experience and it is naive to believe that any one person can be perfect all the time. All we can do is trust ourselves, listen to the people around us and learn something from them. A mindset of self-improvement to me doesn’t mean we actively go about changing ourselves in every way possible, it means that we have the courage and confidence to admit when we are wrong and learn from it. This also applies to our ideas and opinions on certain political issues. Although we are fortunate enough to live in an age where information is available to us constantly, it doesn’t mean that we are always well-informed. It is up to us to listen to all the facts and to remember that our views are allowed to change. We are allowed to state something, learn new information, and then change our minds.
I believe that the reason some individuals struggle to learn and progress is a fear of embarrassment. A fear that if we declare something publicly, whether it be on a Facebook post or in a casual conversation, that it is set in stone. My dad and I used to play a game on car trips when I was younger, where we would ask each other questions. Such as “What’s your favourite movie?” or “What’s your favourite album?” I would get so stuck on each question, thinking that the answer I gave would be my answer for all eternity. So after each question, my dad would add the phrase “change your mind in five minutes”. This is a sentiment we should remind ourselves of in life. What your values and beliefs are in this moment, don’t have to be the values and beliefs you carry with you into the future, you can change your mind in five minutes, five weeks or even five years.
While we must be open to improving ourselves, we should remember to accept ourselves for who we are, to not be hard on ourselves when we make mistakes and to pride ourselves on things that make us wonderful and valuable. It can be difficult to strike a balance between the two, to be open to change without losing confidence in who we are as people. But it is worth it. Because in these ever-changing times it is important that everyone, young or old, goes about life with an open mind.