Moving forward without beating yourself up
It’s frustrating when your personal development journey doesn’t come to the destination you expect it to be.
The reason solely lies on the fact that a wrong mindset in self-help scenario has been so wide-spread than ever.
You would see most personal development gurus out there have no chill at all. Most of their core message is “work so hard and rest so little so you can be proud”.
One can easily find oneself not living up to that expectation then end up beating oneself up, and fall to the trap of self-sabotaging.
On the other hands, you might come across some personal development videos that tell you to accept yourself. Basically, to stop being so hard on yourself and your achievements.
Then one question arises: “if I already accept who I am, what’s the point of improving myself anyway?”
That’s what I call the personal development paradox. It’s very common to find yourself in this situation.
To help you out of such paradox, I’d like to introduce some principles and how to use them to overcome your internal conflicts.
Principle #1: Design Your Own Principles
How many times have you found yourself frustrated at not living up to the moral principles set by some random personal development gurus on the Internet?
It’s not rare to read productivity articles that encourage you to always work and hardly take a break.
Then you follow them without questions through the path of misery, and you got burnt out.
Until then you’ll see some articles telling that to be more creative and productive, you need to rest more.
With many ideas regarding personal development out there, it’s common to see contradictions.
The problem then is not about them being right or wrong. The misery comes from the fact that you blindly follow any person out there without having your own judgments. It’s about the lack of personal principles for your own life.
There is no black and white when it’s come to personal development principles, it’s very grey.
So go ahead and make your own principles.
Principle #2: Expect and Accept Failures
It’s okay to have hope sometimes. However, make sure that they are not wishful thinking.
Life is absurd, therefore failures should be expected.
“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering” — Friedrich Nietzsche
We should gently disappoint ourselves before life has the chance to do it so ferociously.
The secret to resilience is to lower your expectations.
You won’t be hopeless without false hopes.
Keep this in mind and start to expect the worst failures in your personal development journey.
Principle #3: Be Careful of Pleasure
“Whenever you get an impression of some pleasure, as with any impression, guard yourself from being carried away by it, let it await your action, give yourself a pause.” — Epictetus
There is nothing wrong with enjoying pleasure sometimes. As long as you don’t let it control you. You’re the one who controls pleasure, not the other way round.
When you’re about to lose self-control over pleasure, think about how you’d hate yourself after that.
Then compare those feelings to the joy of being able to control yourself and not falling to the pleasure trap.
So enjoy yourself but remember to not going overboard.
This simple principle will set a pleasant yet disciplined path toward self-improvement.
Principle #4: Try Your Best Before Giving Up
“Jealousy is both reasonable and belongs to reasonable men, while envy is base and belongs to the base, for the one makes himself get good things by jealousy, while the other does not allow his neighbour to have them through envy.” — Aristole
Envy can be destructive if used incorrectly.
On the other hands, if used correctly, envy is a very useful tool to get yourself moving forward.
Jealousy toward one person signals that you see in that person something we really want, and we believe that he or she is what we could one day become.
Of course, you won’t certainly get what you want for sure.
However, you must face up to your truest desire, you must put up a really good fight, and then you can cry of failure with dignity.
Principle #5: You Are The Last Person You Want To Beat Up
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” — Epictetus
Things in the past are beyond your control. Let’s say you screw up and break your productive streak. It’s okay.
This kind of thing happens very often in personal development. Beating yourself up won’t help you fix the situation.
Instead, enjoy the moment anyway. It’s necessary to take a break when feeling tired.
After that, re-engage with your goals and come back even stronger than before.
That’s how you face failures in personal development. There is no other way that is healthier than this way.
No self-sabotaging is allowed in the process.
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