The cult of self-improvement is the evil of the modern world. Social networks, which have become his main weapon, broadcast the stories of women who are doing well. They know how to wake up at 5 in the morning, on the same day to conquer the stock exchange and cure a runny nose for three children at once. And only psychotherapists know what internal forces are worth the hypertrophied desire for ideal. Learning to resist and be happy.
On the shelves of bookstores you can find a huge number of books on self-development, self-realization and self-improvement. One gets the impression that society should consist of universal supermen. But it happened historically that there are more expectations and requirements for women than for men. We strive to be beautiful, smart, athletic, successful … And maybe enough? Why can’t you stop, accept yourself for who you are? This does not mean that you need to stop going to the hairdresser or to cooking classes. It's all about motivation: I want or should – this is the fundamental difference. Danish professor of psychology Sven Brinkman spoke about how to resist the cult of self-improvement, which can even lead to depression, how to maintain internal balance, and reconcile with oneself.
Stop digging yourself
The more you delve into yourself, the more harm you cause. Doctors call this a paradox of health: the more help patients receive, the more often they make their own diagnoses and the worse they feel. Most self-improvement gurus encourage you to decide something, guided by an inner voice. It’s better not to do that. It is much more effective to resort to introspection about once a year, for example, during summer vacation. In complex questions, this way of finding answers is often perceived as an instrument of "finding oneself." But this path almost always leads to disappointment, and in the end, exhausted and losing faith in yourself, you will begin to seize up stress, and we know how this can end. For those who want to stop digging in themselves, Sven Brinkman advises reading classical works on the philosophy of the Stoics and "learning how to do something that has ethical value, even if you do not feel good at the same time (ethical actions do not always contribute to this)." This is work on oneself, which in the long run will really give results.
Focus on the negative in your life
So, let's say you started spending less time digging yourself, what's next? Perhaps you could spend time planning the future? Or, let’s say, you want to "go beyond" and think outside the box … We constantly hear about the benefits of "positive thinking." Adherents of positive psychology assure that in order to achieve something more in this life you need to think about the good and program it. But why, instead of focusing on the “search for pink unicorns”, not concentrating on the negative? This is not as strange as it seems. According to Sven Brinkman, “such a view of the world has several advantages. Firstly, it allows you to freely think and speak. Many people actually enjoy nagging. Of course, complaints about everyone and everything will not help you find the meaning of life, but it's really nice to have the opportunity to take your soul a little. Secondly, focusing on the negative is the first step towards solving problems. ” And most importantly – it helps to value life more and what is in it here and now.
Learn to say no
The ability to say "I do not want to do this" is a great power and self-confidence. Only programmed robots always agree with everything. It is obvious! So why is it so hard for most of us to refuse? Including because pop philosophy is eager to invite everyone to agree and radiate positive. To show character is normal if you are an adult, mature person. Character is inextricably linked with common moral values, which are right to protect. This is the integrity of the individual. If you always agree with everything, then you risk becoming a victim of any whims – both your own and others. To fix this, it is necessary to strengthen internal control. What does the Danish professor think about this? “Ideally, in carrying out your work, you should have both words in your arsenal: yes and no. It is only natural to point out the shortcomings of any fresh initiative and to agree with it. ” Inspiration for practicing the refusal skill can be found, again, among the Stoics, who liked to appeal to common sense. In short, without the science of all sciences, in the sense of philosophy, not even a modern person can manage.
Read novels, not self-development books
This is generally universal advice and a remedy for all mental illnesses and adversities. “Biographies are always at the top of best-seller lists, but more often than not they simply describe rather banal success stories of celebrities and propagate the idea that life can be controlled. The same applies to self-help manuals. In the end, they only instill in man a lack of faith in his ability to achieve happiness, wealth and health. But the novels make it possible to understand: human life is something complex and uncontrollable. Therefore, read at least one novel per month, ”writes Brinkman.
Artworks develop imagination, give emotions that can really change the look at certain situations. This is based on our internal trust in the authority of the author. Agree, the “Booker Prize laureate” sounds solid, it’s not your coach or success coach. Brinkman even advises specific authors whose approach to the novel, the choice of topics and methods for their implementation prove that a completely different concept of self can be possible, different from that offered by literature on self-development. This is Michelle Welbeck, Haruki Murakami, Karl Uwe Knausgor. A good list, we approve, because a good work of art is something that you can rely on in our unstable world.
Read more about ways to deal with the cult of self-improvement of Sven Brinkman can be found in the book: Svenn Brіnkman “Zupinysya! How to resist the cult of self-indulgence and mercy, ”said Vivat.
See also: Just do it: 5 myths about motivation
striving for the ideal