I shared a talk I gave at church a few weeks ago and in that talk I shared how I love self-improvement books. But as I was preparing I had a sudden thought, "should we be working on self-improvement or self-acceptance?" This was an entirely new thought for me, but when I did a search on self-improvement vs. self-acceptance I was surprised that this was something already talked about and considered. I loved reading other people's thoughts on the topic. At first I thought I should have been working on self-acceptance not self-improvement all this time, but as I read more I realized that both thoughts have their pro's and con's.
Self-improvement seems to be recognized as the process of making yourself a better person. In fact, I started on self-improvement long before I started therapy. I just always liked the thought of making this better, like when I'm doing organization I'm looking for the most efficient way of doing things. To me that is the bottom line of self-improvement, being the best and most efficient I can be.
Self-acceptance seems to be recognized as the process of being happy with who you are. As I think about it now, this is probably what I was able to do through my therapy process. I didn't love myself, I didn't accept who I was with all the good and the bad. To me I now believe that self-acceptance is loving who you are no matter what you look like, what you do or do not do, believe you are worth everything you have and will have in your life.
After pondering self-improvement vs. self-acceptance and reading various articles online I see that both are important, but I do feel like having self-acceptance first will benefit anyone before tackling self-improvement as it is too easy to take self-improvement to a level where you cut yourself down. In the end, I'm back to my teeter-totter analogy, its the bouncing back and forth between self-improvement and self-acceptance that creates balance.