Let’s imagine for a moment, dear readers, that I invited you over to my house for a barbecue.
And let’s imagine that when you went into my bedroom to throw your purse on the bed, you took a peek at my bedside reading. You’d see a copy of Spook and my friend Rachel’s new book. You might see some ubiquitous lady magazines and one of those weird round lip balm things. You’d exit my bedroom believing that I was a lover of non-fiction who happened to have dry lips.
What you wouldn’t see is the pile of books that I hid under the bed:
My name is Sarah and I love self-development. One of my biggest priorities in my life is, honestly, my own happiness and fulfillment.
Which feels weird and sort of gross to say, doesn’t it?
“I like liking myself.” “I think it’s important to feel confident and brave.” “I want a supportive, healthy, best-friend-caliber relationship with myself.”
Maybe it’s just my stoic, Midwestern sensibilities but it feel embarrassing to admit this and frivolous to pursue it. There are wars and sick children and mass shootings and I’m concerned about maintaining a healthy sense of self? I’m working on “staying true to who I really am” while two blocks away a man is begging for change on the median?
If you, too, struggle with a strange sense of guilt over bettering yourself or devoting time to something as inconsequential as your self-esteem, here’s something that I try to remember:
The common denominator in every aspect of your life – your relationships, your career, your adventures and choices – is you. How you feel about yourself touches everything else in your life.
When we feel happy, fulfilled, confident – we’re better friends, partners, employees, co-workers, neighbors. We take steps towards our goals. We’re patient and compassionate.
At the risk of stating the obvious, we take ourselves wherever we go. We take our stressed, snippy, self-doubt-riddled selves with us on vacation. We take them to the family reunion. We take them to our friend’s wedding and our niece’s piano recital.
No matter where you go, there you are. You take yourself everywhere, you might as well like her. Click To Tweet
So I guess what I’m saying is: self-development isn’t silly. It’s not self-absorbed. Figuring out who you are, what you want, and how you’re going to get it is just damn sensible. It’s an investment in every other area of your life.
So this is my gentle, loving nudge to both of us. Let’s buy the book that will help us get past That One Issue. Let’s get therapy if we need it, hire a coach if we need it, end that shitty friendship or relationship if we need to. Let’s say “I’d prefer not to” or “I need help.”
Let’s take the self-development books out from beneath the bed and openly admit that we want to be the best possible version of ourselves.
Are you interested in self-development? Do you feel secretive or at all weird about it?