One Bag Nation

Self-Improvement Overload

Posted on: May 18, 2008

I went around the house and collected all my self-improvement books. You’ll see most are focused on getting organized, clearing clutter and losing weight. The photo above represents only a fraction of the number of books I’ve bought over the years. All those titles taken together make me seem like a disaster – and I forgot to include the parenting books!

You’re probably wondering if I’ve ever lost weight successfully. I have; I weigh about 30 pounds less than I did 15 years ago. It’s a daily struggle, and while various food plans have come and gone, exercise has been the key for me – and it keeps me sane, too. (well, sort of . . .)

If you’ve been here before, you already know that I haven’t found the magic book about getting organized, managing my time, or being more productive.

But back to the books . . . I’m starting to wonder: could all this attempted self-improvement be harmful? is it just incredibly egotistical? what does it mean to live surrounded by books that tell you that you need to improve.

What about reading some books that tell us we’re fabulous? I have half a mind to cover the spines of my books with titles like: You’re So Beautiful; Your Household Runs Like a Well-Oiled Machine, Look At Those Incredible Abs – stuff like that.

In the meantime, I could simply spend more time encouraging myself, patting myself on the back and recognizing my successes. I know it would be kinder, and it might even be more effective.

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5 Responses to "Self-Improvement Overload"

Ann, I think this is my favorite post on this blog so far.

Yes, we should all spend more time being kind to ourselves and stop beating ourselves up for all the things that we THINK we are not doing right.

Thank you for an encouraging thought!

Thanks Vered; I’m glad it resonated with you. I would never criticize a friend the way I criticize myself, and I suppose I won’t find serenity without some self-acceptance.

[…] and readable blog about her endless, unrelenting quest for order and serenity. When she asked why aren’t we kinder to ourselves, it really made me think about my own choice to focus so much on what I’m doing wrong instead […]

Sounds like a great game plan, Ann – we all deserve a little (or a lot) or praise and encouragement, even from ourselves!

To be honest I used to think all this self-improvement business was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. Then someone left a copy of Bob and Mel Blanchard’s book, Live What Your Love in my cab and in between fares I would browse through it, mostly out of boredom.

Surprisingly I found parts of it rang true with me and when I finally finished the book I was actually inspired to get out of my lousy job and make a better life for myself. Now, it seems, I can’t get enough of improving myself and lord knows there’s always new ways I find to do that! :o)

Peter, I’m not familiar with the book you mention, but I’ll take a look. I think I usually get something out of each book I read, but I do wonder if maybe I’m okay “as is” – if you know what I mean!

Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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