...stop trying to improve yourself.
I know, I know, it sounds paradoxical, but bear with me as I unpack it.
Dr. Robert Holden shared one of my all-time favorite quotes: "No level of self-improvement will ever make up for a lack of self-acceptance.
We're trying to use self-improvement as a substitute for self-acceptance, and it's not working!
There's a sequence that took me 20 years to discover, and here it is:
Self-Understanding --> Self-Acceptance --> Self-Improvement.
You can't improve yourself until you accept yourself, and you can't accept yourself until you understand yourself (HOW you became you)
Self-understanding is the foundation of self-improvement.
The vast majority of self-improvement endeavors are a subconscious attempt to meet an unmet need, and it never can or will. Until you understand this, you'll always be driven by deep, underlying fears.
The key here is learning how to become an observer of your life, dedicated to seeing WHY you're doing WHAT you're doing. As I always tell my clients: WHAT we do is not near as important as WHY we do it.
The WHY behind just about everything we do is driven by a desire to feel significant, worthwhile, acknowledged, appreciated, and connected. Once you realize that nothing outside of you can sustainably cause you to feel these ways, you release seeking external validation, joy surfaces, and things start improving.
"I have a feeling that inside you somewhere, there's somebody nobody knows about." Alfred Hitchcock