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.