There is nothing like dedicating your life to growing and discovering your highest potential. Sometimes, though, self-improvement efforts go too far. Sometimes, the search for positive change turns into the relentless search for perfection. Instead of focusing on being the best you can be, you may drive yourself crazy focusing on everything that you aren't.
If you've ever found yourself frustrated at your efforts to change, maybe it's because you're trying to change things that are meant to be accepted.
Here are seven things about you that are meant to be cherished, not changed.
1. Your personal taste
Whether we're talking about music, food, or sports, your tastes will not change through your purposeful efforts to change them to something "more appropriate." And why would you want to?
2. Your emotions
How many times have you heard people say, "Take the emotion out of it and just give me the facts?" Growing up in Eastern Europe, I ate this concept for breakfast, and it's done nothing but interfere with my healing and happiness. We have emotions for a reason. Emotions are signals, communications. Emotions are essential parts of the human experience. They are meant to be decoded, not bottled. There is no way to repress your experiences of pain, fear, and anger without repressing your love, joy, and inspiration as well.
3. Your inherent desire for risk
It seems like everyone is trying to create the ultimate safety net made of the material possessions, insurance policies, and sound investments. We're so set on establishing webs of safety and familiar routines that we forget that this isn't the way to fulfillment. Safety might "make sense," but it won't make you happy. Only facing your fears, having new experiences, and tackling new problems will do that.
4. Your past
When I had chronic anxiety, I spent more than half my waking time obsessing about things I'd already done. Ruminating over past mistakes and failures is incredibly toxic. First of all, it's a waste of time, since the past already happened and no amount of thinking about it will change anything. Second, it's dangerous, since the past has a way of becoming the future if you don't let go. By choosing to accept the past, you give yourself room to learn the lessons it has in store for you.
5. Your future mistakes
After I was done worrying about the past, I'd spend the rest of my day worrying about the future. Sometimes, I'd be so terrified of doing the wrong thing that I wouldn't do anything at all. I honestly thought that if I was careful enough, I could live without making any mistakes and always do everything right. It's impossible.
You have to make mistakes to learn. Of course, it's nice to do the right thing, but often, doing things perfectly the first time around only makes you confused, because you've only succeeded by chance. When you learn through successes and failures, you know where to go as well as where not to go. Your knowledge is complete, rather than based on luck.
6. Your body
I also used to obsess about having the perfect, cellulite-free, pore-free thighs. Needless to say, I failed, but that didn't thwart my relentless search for the body I thought I was supposed to have: the body I saw in the magazines. Trying to make yourself into a magazine cutout is toxic because it's impossible.
No one looks like the person in the magazine — not even the person in the magazine. Learning to honor your natural form instead of always trying to augment it won't just save you from the pain of self-judgment. It'll save you time and money, too!
7. Your inability to do everything
I can't tell you how many people I've worked with who are stressed out from work and also frustrated at themselves for not being able to be creative or meditate without falling asleep. You aren't a superhero. You can't stretch time. You also can't take up every moment of the week running around like chickens with your head cut off, then drop into inner peace at the snap of your fingers when the weekend comes around.
All love takes time, including self-love. To get the benefits of self-care, you can't just squeeze it in. You have to make it a priority.