I don’t know many moms, if any, who don’t wish for more patience, or many artists who don’t think they need to put in more time, training and dedication to their craft, or many dieters who think they have enough self-discipline. I'm always saying I need more of those things. I would venture to say that everyone out there wishes they had more of some traits and less of others.
The struggle to improve is a noble one, but not if it comes at the cost of a constant sense of worthlessness, of not measuring up to some artificial ideal.
The challenge, then, is acknowledging the areas within ourselves that can be improved upon—and working on them—but still being able to acknowledge and celebrate the parts of ourselves that are already pretty damn great.
That step is important because if all we recognize is the bad, the inferior, the mess, how can we possibly motivate ourselves to improve? Why bother? It’s paralyzing. It’s too hard, too awful to think about making changes on such a massive scale. One or two things, even three, sure. That’s doable. But everything? Come on. We might as well hang it up now. That breeds depression and we wind up in a black hole of self-contempt, in need of professional help.
Sounds like fun, right? Not!
I don’t want to wind up there, and I don’t want you to, either. (But if you already are deeply depressed, please, please, please get professional help. This is a lighthearted blog and should in no way be taken as professional advice!)
Let’s start by making a short list. Three personality traits to work on AND three personality traits we’re already proud of. An even split. Then, when working on the three that need help starts to feel tough, we can come back and look at the three good ones and be bolstered anew, because hey, those three traits are pretty awesome. Here are mine:
Three Traits to Work On
- I’m stubborn
- I lack patience
- I can be selfish
Three Traits I’m Proud Of
- I’m loving
- I’m fun
- I’m decisive