I recently heard someone express concern overworking on self-improvement. They worried that it was selfish to focus on themselves instead of others.
I did not realize that this sentiment existed. I think that when we work on ourselves it makes us more interesting to be around. It probably makes us better partners, better parents, better employees, and better leaders.
Certainly there may be a line with different activities. Working on being more present with a spouse is self-improvement but clearly has a direct impact on your spouse. Spending 20 hours a week training for an Ironman triathlon is self-improvement with a less direct Nexus. Some things may be a self-improvement but also may not fit in your life at all times.
But if you are drawing a line, make sure you know what line you are drawing. Don’t underestimate the positive influence your own self- improvement, including 20 hours a week on triathlon, can have on others around you. And don’t overestimate the negative consequences you think it can have on those around you.
Don’t say no to yourself because of impact it will have on others without being honest with yourself about what that impact is and without checking in with those ‘others’ to make sure that they agree with you.
3 thoughts on “Is self-improvement selfish?”
We need to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first before we can save anyone else…
So true Dorothy! I think there is a difference between self-care and self-improvement, though I’ve spent time thinking of the difference and am not sure where I stand, but I think self-care is essential just to keep us at our base level of goodness, and from there we can then work on improving in areas we desire to, but only if we have the base.
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I hadn’t thought about that before Liz, but I will ponder this. I do agree that self-care seems to be the the base that is needed. I’m not sure about the concept of self-improvement. Perhaps it would more accurately be described as self-knowledge? Ah, more thinking needed here, I have to let this tumble around and see where it lands!