Self-love is the basis for self-improvement

There’s a quandary I hear peo­ple talk about a lot in the self-improve­ment world which goes some­thing like this: “Should I keep try­ing to change, or should I just learn to love myself?”

The peo­ple pos­ing this ques­tion almost invari­ably feel ter­ri­ble about them­selves, and fur­ther, they assume that’s par for the course. It isn’t. In fact this whole “self-love vs self-improve­ment” thing is a false dilem­ma, one that bad­ly mis­un­der­stands the role of self-love.

This equates lov­ing your­self with think­ing you’re just fine the way you are. It treats self-love as a reward for being the per­son you want to be. It assumes that your self-regard should be based, in some sense, on you being objec­tive­ly “good.” And con­verse­ly, it equates want­i­ng to change with dis­lik­ing your­self. But ask your­self- is this true of your love for oth­er people?

If you love some­one else, sure­ly that means you want the best for them? You want them to be healthy, hap­py and suc­cess­ful. If you have chil­dren, you want them to do well in school. If a friend is unhap­py with their life, you want their life to change so they’ll be happy.

Apply the same stan­dards to your­self that you do to oth­ers- love your­self the way you love your friends and fam­i­ly. Decide to be bet­ter because you deserve bet­ter; because you love your­self and want to enable your­self to live your ide­al life.

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