I’m thinking today about the idea of “self-improvement.” So many courses are available that promise to improve your self-esteem, your ability to market, to clear out issues from the past, and many other tempting possibilities.

In many (not all) of these offerings lurks the suggestion that something in you is broken and that if you take this course, you’ll get fixed. All you have to do is buy the “Inner Mechanic’s Guide.”

This approach resembles the basic concept of Western medicine: that the body is a machine in need of repair. In contrast, holistic approaches to health propose a system of mind-body integration.

Because I, like many of you, grew up going to Western medicine doctors, I’ve been trained in the mechanical approach to the body and have translated it to the emotions and mind. I often find myself thinking I have to fix something about myself. Today, when I caught myself thinking that, I suddenly heard a very definite “No.” And it felt good.

I don’t need to be fixed. And neither do you. Everyone has areas in their lives—thoughts, beliefs, and habits—that may keep them from living the lives they want to experience, but that doesn’t mean we’re broken. We developed the thoughts and behaviors that now seem to be malfunctioning because we thought we needed them to be happy and/or safe.

Once we realize this, we don’t have to blame ourselves for having them. When we discover that we no longer need them, we can thank them for doing their best, thank ourselves for doing our best for ourselves, and move on.

This is much easier to do when we know that we’re not broken.

I’m not.

Neither are you.

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