I started this blog with the intention of recording my radical transformation into a different and better person. I also hoped my posts would encourage other people to follow in my footsteps. Things haven’t worked out as planned, and it is now obvious that I’ve been mistaken. I don’t need to radically transform into a better person – I just need to accept who I am.
The Folly of Trying to Become a Better Person
I’ll never reach my potential by trying to become a different person. I’ve been doing this all my life, and it has only ever led me to more suffering. The source of my discomfort has been this urge to run away from being me. So long as this self-hatred continues to have so much control over my thinking, any attempt at self-improvement just become another stick to beat myself up with.
I’m basically a decent guy – I think with very few exceptions (maybe psychopaths) we are all good people. None of us start out bad, we just develop shitty coping strategies while trying to get by in life. We can then begin to experience deep shame because instead of acknowledging when we have made some mistakes, we become convinced we are bad and need to become somebody different.
No Need for Radical Self-Improvement
The way to reach my potential is not radical self-improvement. I don’t need to become a ‘better person’, I just need to stop pretending I’m something I’m not. I have to let go of the shame and start being kinder to myself. Reaching my potential is about becoming the best me possible – something that is not possible while I continue to reject who I am. It’s about saying ‘I’m okay, but how can I be more okay?’
I think the reason so many of us end up feeling life failures is we have been our own worst enemies. The tyrannical bully inside of our own heads has driven us to despair – how can we possibly succeed when this voice is always putting us down and telling us we are not good enough?
Reach Your Potential through Self-Kindness
I’ve decided to give myself a break – I encourage you to do the same. I’m going to begin showing myself the same level of compassion as I’d offer to a good friend – instead of trying to bully myself into becoming a different person, I’m going to focus on nurturing the good that is already there inside of me.
I suspect all of the people who already feel successful have an above average ability to express self-kindness. Those of us who are governed by self-hatred are never going to feel successful even if we become billionaires.
How to Develop Self-Kindness
• Offer yourself the same level of compassion as you would give to a person you love
• Understand that making mistakes doesn’t mean you are a bad person
• Learn to offer yourself comfort rather than criticism when you are feeling down
• Become your number one supporter
• Develop gratitude for all the good in your life
• Recognize that you don’t have to become a different person to be a valuable human
• Be the best ‘you’ possible – stop trying to be somebody else
• Understand that self-kindness is not being self-indulgent – it is hard to show love to other people when you are controlled by self-hatred
• Practice a technique like loving-kindness meditation to deliberately develop more compassion in your life.