The self-improvement game is not for the weak. Well, it is but it isn’t. Being weak in some form or another is probably what lead you to the self-improvementsphere, but you need to be strong to keep playing the game because the harsh reality of the thing is that self-improvement NEVER ends.
Stamina is the key. There will always be something new you need to work on. In the beginning of your self-improvement journey you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, all the things you’re constantly messing up, and by all the pain that comes with realizing what a poor excuse for a human being you are. I know I felt that way, and even after years of taking my self-improvement seriously, I’m still screwing up every now and then.
If you don’t have stamina, then you’re not going to make it. Even when I think I’ve finally conquered a bad habit or bad quality or maybe a flaw in my character, life comes around and shows me that I still have work to do. In fact, I’ve finally come to realize there will always be work to do and that there’s no magical place we get to where we’ve defeated all of our faults and vanquished all of our demons. Maybe we will make it most of the way there and get really close, but I think that there will always be something new to test us if we have our eyes open to see the opportunities. Life is just a test after all.
You have to keep going. This is why the Virtue of Perseverance is so important to me. It never stops, so you shouldn’t stop either. It’s going to get hard. Its going to be frustrating and you’re going to experience some heart-breakers, and its going to make you give up but you can’t. Giving up is worse. Giving up is willingly taking back all that negative energy you once had in your life and allowing it to live rent-free in your heart and mind. Giving up means all your effort was for nothing and that you don’t think you’re worth it. I don’t know about you, but I’d never want to go back to living the way I was before or to being the kind of person I was before. I’m happy with myself now even if I screw up sometimes.
It gets better. Eventually, you stop making the bad decisions and you start making the good ones instead. If you persevere the quality of your life will start to improve and then you’ll start feeling great and you’ll wonder why you ever lived the way you did before you decided to make changes. You’ll fly to great heights if you persevere and keep fighting the good fight, but don’t ever get tricked into thinking its over.
Sometimes when you have self-improved to the point where you don’t really have any serious problems and you’re content and life is all positive, you’ll fool yourself into thinking you’ve done it; you’ve won. Then life throws a wrench your way, and it will only make the negative feel more extreme when it inevitably pops back up again. Life is like, hello, this is your reminder that you’re not done yet. You‘re not done until you’re dead. Harsh truth. That’s just the way it is, and you can take comfort in that.
I was having a bad day, which was out of the normal now that I rarely have bad days, and I had that harsh realization about stamina. I have to do this for the rest of my life, I thought as I mopped up the floor. I had messed up and gotten upset about something and I said some stuff I really shouldn’t have that was more just plain mean instead of contributing to some sort of solution or just not saying anything at all and accepting that the situation was out of my control. This sort of thing hadn’t happened to me in the longest time and not only was I upset about the situation, but I was upset about the way I had reacted to it.
I almost gave into feeling sorry for myself as I mopped away, but then I thought, I have the rest of my life to do this. It wasn’t a sad, defeated thought this time. I realized that messing up isn’t the end because I had all the time in my life to do better. I stopped feeling exhausted by my defeat and started to feel encouraged. I have until I die to keep getting better and better, and it felt like a challenge I wanted to take on and less like some kind of cruel punishment. Cleaning your house is a great way to clean up negative emotions. Take comfort that you only have to do this until you die, and be grateful for life because one day it will be over. See how far you can level up before its done.