SELF ACCEPTANCE VS SELF BETTERMENT

What comes to mind when you hear the word “self-help”? The idea of self-help will always be an ongoing debate rather of rather self-it is needed or not with the belief of self-acceptance versus self-betterment.

Self-Acceptance

You may have been taught, growing up, that you should accept yourself for who you are.

So, when you see these self-help books and such, you think they’re not for you. This type of self-acceptance thinking can be a very defeating attitude.

While we should accept those things we cannot change, if we don’t strive to improve those things we can, we are doing ourselves a grave disservice.

“Self-Acceptance” might sound good on the surface, but if you take the time to examine it, you’ll find that self-acceptance is a counterproductive mindset, causing an apathetically grim outlook on life.

While there is some good in self-acceptance, we should never simply settle for who we are but always strive to improve ourselves. This goes for anyone, regardless of their social class, handicap, or circumstance.

If you simply accept that this is the way you are, you will never see your greater potential. If you continuously tell yourself, “This is who I am, and I like me,” then you will take no risks, avoid all challenges and simply live out your life, content with whatever hand life has dealt you.

Is that what you want? Do you want to just let circumstances dictate who you are and what you can accomplish?

If that’s where you want to go, then by all means, accept self-acceptance.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
– Albert Einstein

Self-Betterment

On the other side of the coin from self-acceptance is self-betterment (or self-improvement). You can either accept yourself for who you are, or you can better yourself and become who you were meant or want to be.

For example, let’s say you find yourself often forgetting important things, like names and dates. With a self-acceptance attitude, you will just accept that you are forgetful, and excuse yourself over and over to others, telling them “Sorry, I’m just so forgetful.”

How this will make you look to others? How does this make you feel about yourself?

You might tell yourself it’s genetic, it’s the way your brain works, it’s just who you are.

Or you might try telling yourself, this is not who I am, this is not what I want to be, I want to remember important names, I don’t want to forget my anniversary, or my sister’s birthday.

If you take the latter attitude, you will have taken the first step to self-betterment.

  • The first step is recognizing you can be better. In the example above it’s your memory, but it could be anything about yourself that is not where it should be. It could be your health, your social skills (or lack thereof), your financial situation, etc. Whatever it is you can change, you’re first step is recognizing it and telling yourself, “No, I won’t settle for this, I will change it.”
  • The second step in self-betterment is taking action! Once you realize what it is you want to improve about yourself, you should start immediately improving. For instance, if it’s you memory you want to improve, you would begin by doing memory exercises. One such exercise might be to read a short poem or paragraph and memorize it. This might take a while to memorize but as you practice, the Hippocampus part of your brain responsible for memory will eventually strengthen until you find it easier and easier to remember.

Nobody Can Make You Better

No matter how effective the self-help path you take, nobody can make you better but yourself. It takes desire and effort to self-improve.

Should go without saying, there is no magic recipe to self-betterment and ALL self-help programs require you to put forth that effort to improve yourself. It’s not always going to be easy to improve yourself, but it’s always rewarding to make that effort.

Self-help can help you see what steps you need to take, but they cannot take those steps for you obviously

Once you embark on whatever self-improvement you want and find it working, you’ll be hooked. You will see other areas that you can better at and start working toward improving all areas in your life, until you are finally the person you always wanted to be.

Just remember, at the end of this journey of life, most people don’t look back and regret what they did, but what they did not do.

Morally, don’t stay where you are, afraid to change or afraid to fail, the only failure in your life are those opportunities you have not taken to improve yourself.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. I think you are making a false dichotomy between self-acceptance and self-improvement. I see unconditional self-acceptance as the best grounding for self-improvement.

    Holding our self-acceptance hostage to self-improvement is a very negative motivation. I think the most creative motivations are strong ones which come from the desire for a more pleasurable life-experience.

    For me, the essence of unconditional self-acceptance is the acceptance of all of our thoughts and feelings as thoughts and feelings. That doesn’t mean believing our thoughts to be true or our emotions to be ones we should act upon. If we think vile things or feel painful emotions, then accepting those thoughts and those emotions doesn’t mean being stuck with them. Quite the opposite. If we saw them as a problem to be solved we might find ourselves fixated on them. Thoughts and feelings, no matter how unacceptable they might appear to us, are a part of a creative movement forward to something better.

    You use the example of improving memory. I would say : “I’m acceptable with a poor memory, but my life would be more pleasant if I had a better one.” Thus there is plenty of motive for undertaking memory training, if that is a problem I have, but not accepting myself because I have a poor memory would not be helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

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