Life is Not a Self-Improvement Project

Mar 25, 2022

I visited my local library recently.  It was the first time I’d set foot in a library in 2 years… because… say it with me… #covid.  I found my favorite section… self help/spirituality… and a happy little book caught my eye: “Good Morning, I love you” by Shauna Shapiro.

I haven’t had a chance to read it because I was hungry when I went to the library and I took more books than I could read in 3 weeks.  I renewed them all and now it’s time to return them, and still I haven’t opened the little book with the sunshine on the cover.  So, this morning over coffee, I flipped through the book and landed on a paragraph about the author speaking to a therapist who said to her, “Shauna, life is not a self-improvement project.”

Record scratch.

Wait, what?

It’s not?  I giggled a little.  You know, the ‘yeah right’ giggle?

I kept reading.  Shauna said she almost fell off the couch.  “I suddenly realized that my whole life had been focused on self-improvement: an endless quest for some future state of perfection where I would finally be loveable and could finally rest.”

Me too, Shauna.

I have loved self-help my WHOLE life. 

It lights me up.  I feel a pull towards these teachers, books, workshops, retreats, Mama Oprah!  But why?  Why do I love it so much?  Because at my core, I believe I always need to be better.  Like the capital letter N on my 1st grade report card… I have always believed, Gia… needs improvement.

In the generation I grew up in (70s/80s), in the part of the world I came up (south Louisiana), it seemed everyone was in agreement… babies are born sinful and must be trained like dogs to behave, sit still, be quiet, and please the grown-ups.  Mistakes were ok, only as long as I admitted them and could articulate how I’d learned from them.

Not saying I had it particularly rough as a child… my parents had it worse when they were little.  They came up in the days of full-coverage habit nuns and rulers slapping the backs of their hands in school and in church. 

Still, I learned early and often that I was a mess and I needed to do better…BE better.

The notion of me, as I am, good enough… was impossible to comprehend.

In my many years of studying self-help, I have picked up on the idea that the path to true freedom is to release oneself from the chains of self-loathing and self-doubt… but to imagine a life where I don’t think I need improvement… can this be possible?

I read on…

“We must change our mindset from self-improvement to self-liberation.  Self-liberation means freedom from our limiting beliefs, our misguided ideal that there is something wrong with us that needs to be “fixed.”  Our constant attempts to “get it right” and to be “perfect” leave us in a state of exhaustion, never resting in the present moment, never happy with who we are.”

Do you know what ‘never happy with who we are’ equals?  

Never happy with anything or anyone. 

All satisfaction bubbles from a well within.

Read that again.

Happiness comes FROM you… just as you are… no improvement needed.

So, does this mean I’m out of a job? 

No, it might surprise you to learn that coaching isn’t about self-improvement. 

Coaching is about self-belief.  My job is to teach you how to KNOW your inherent value…no matter what.  My job is to give you tools to coach yourself, calm yourself, encourage yourself, and to know for sure… that no matter what happens you are always going to be OK.

So hey Sunshine, I’m here when you are ready.  Are you ready to feel what it’s like to just BE yourself and be happy with that?  No improvement needed?  Does that sound like 'giving up?' It's not. You will do more with your life and go farther than you ever have before and you will do it with JOY and a feeling of LIGHTNESS and FREEDOM.  

I can help you.

Let's GO!

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