Let's talk about self-improvement, okay? Okay.
I read this post about not being embarrassed by wanting to improve yourself and I can't stop thinking about it. If I'm being honest with myself, I'm on a self-improvement mission this year. But I never call it that. I say that I want to get healthier, experience less pain, have more energy, and reduce my stress. I'm taking an entire year off from something I adore to do it. This is big.
What I'm really doing is trying to improve myself. I'm digging deep to try and live my life according to some of my deepest desires: I want to be healthy and I want to feel emotionally well. For me (but maybe not for you) that means dreaming up all the things I think will make an impact on my life. I want to enjoy nourishing food. I want feel heathly. I want to feel vibrant. (I also want to not feel overwhelmed by all of these things, which sometimes happens, too.)
In some ways I'm trying to live my ideal life, and isn't that what self-improvement is all about? Sometimes people will nudge me to try and step back from all these idealistic changes. These are well-meaning suggestions, meant to protect me against feeling let down if changes don't happen. These comments used to make me feel worse, as though no one believed that I could do these things and was destined to feel a low-energy slug my entire life. But lately I've heard these comments as love--as good friends wanting me to be gentle with myself. I've decided to take their advice and go gently into this year, but I won't set aside my ideals.
And this is where my hopes and goals for a healthier life really illuminate my secret life as a self-improvement junkie. I have been stagnant since giving birth to my first daughter. I have slowly watched my health decline these last seven years and haven't been able to stop it. If change is going to happen, I need to think big. I don't just need to eat more vegetables, I need my own revolution. My ideals serve to move me, to shake myself out of this rut. I need to imagine a new way of living and slowly work toward that place.
Hello, my name is Danielle, and I want to live a better life. There's no shame in that.
I read inspirational blog posts. I devour people's stories about how they decided to make changes in the lives and what they did about it. I leave reminders for myself around the house. But I've always done this quietly, in the background, afraid that someone might see this part of me for what I truly am: a person who sees so much possibility for better things. And one of these days, I'll figure out just what to do get there. (That's where you come in, dear readers, because I'm sharing this all with you.)
So, please, if you want to make changes, whatever they might look like look, pursue these goals without embarrassment. Run after your goals with abandon, no matter how silly you look. Believe me, we are here to cheer you on.