Does anyone else dislike the idea of self improvement? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Does anyone else dislike the idea of self improvement?


Deliberate self improvement that is. Not natural self improvement, and I'll explain what I mean below.

Have you ever watched one of those cheesy videos where someone puts on a really emotional face at and looks at the camera and says '' Do you wish you could be more charismatic? Have you ever wondered how some people have this magical ability to make everyone around them happy and light up a room wherever they go? Have you ever wanted to be one of these people? To radiate self confidence and stride with passion blah blah bah '' all the while while some stereotypical low budget '' inspirational '' feel good music is playing in the background.

I cannot stand videos like that or stand getting into the mindset that makes me watch videos like that. I've been there. We've all been there. We've all been in that position where we want to voluntarily improve ourselves and '' start over a new leaf ''.

The reason I have a problem with that is because it feels fake. Self improvement should be a natural thing that happens on its own. You shouldn't force it. But when you buy in to all those videos like that.......you're kind of deluding yourself. It just feels sad to me. It feels like you're trying too hard. It feels more like you're in a fantasy and less in reality. More wishful thinking and less rational thinking.

It's the same place where all of those '' motivational speeches '' come from. Usually the ones which have uber dramatic music playing in the background. They are designed to give people a quick temporary boost of motivation where they feel like they can change their life overnight......but that motivation wears off the next day. Because its synthetic. It was designed to make you feel good on a surface level

And it seems like there's some sinister marketing motive behind stuff like that. That they're all just playing into our emotions and fooling us into believing something that's not actually there. Making us feel '' special '' when in reality, we're just another customer. Just another pawn.

That's not to say all sources of motivation are like that. Usually you can tell........if something has got music playing in the background, then you know its just one of those shallow sensational pieces that are supposed to give you a immediate gratification boost. There's no depth to it. It wears off.

But if a video doesn't have music playing in the background.....that's a good sign lol. The purpose has to be real.....not sensational. You have to aim to tell people the truth, not just make them feel good. If someone's intent is real and comes from a good place, then that's good true motivation. If their intent is to educate people about something instead of just injecting them with fake happy serum.......that's good.
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Girl with a pen View Post
So is your issue with self improvement or with cheesy marketing?
My issue is with voluntary, artificial self improvement......as opposed to organic self improvement which happens on its own. That marking stuff I said ties in with this way of thinking.
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 05:37 PM
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Its called "success porn" and I hate it!
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 06:05 PM
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There is no self improvement that you dont have to fight tooth and nail for.

Enough about me, lets talk about you, what do you think about me?
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 07:21 PM
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I think it's hard to tell who is and who is not coming from a good place, and who has and does not have an effective strategy, based solely on how they market their services. There is a culture surrounding self-improvement, and people adapt their products to that culture.

I would be very wary of drawing a sharp distinction between 'organic' and 'artificial' self-improvement. I know what you're trying to get at, but to be very frank, disease is a perfectly organic process. Every person on this site has arrived here organically by doing what 'felt right' for them. If your only criteria is whether or not a change feels natural and comfortable, you may be feeding your dysfunctional thinking and behaviors, not outgrowing them.

If you "know" that people "don't like you" because you "have X or Y trait", you can justify avoiding anyone. That seems perfectly logical to the person who believes it, but it's based on at least 3 kinds of irrational thinking. You can always come up with a rational justification to act in unhealthy ways, and it's exactly that kind of thinking that feels organic from the inside. I would argue that, if you want to make a significant change, it's going to feel artificial. It will feel artificial because it's drastically different from the way you currently behave. But that doesn't mean that it's wrong.

For example, most people base their self-worth on how other people treat them. They wait for other people to start treating them well before they allow themselves to feel any sense of self-worth. Not only does this feel 'organic', but it's the way most people are taught to think about their worth. And it's completely wrong.

Your self-worth has a tremendous impact on your behaviors, and its those behaviors that other people respond to. If you have poor self-worth, you will act in ways that lead other people to treat you poorly. And then you use this poor treatment to justify your feeling of low self-worth. Most people try to improve their self-worth by changing particular traits; they believe that, by acquiring these new traits, people will begin to treat them well. And then, once that good treatment starts rolling in, they will start to feel good about themselves. This strategy is almost certainly doomed to fail, because as long as they feel poorly about themselves, despite whatever changes they are making, they will continue to act in ways that other people associate with low worth.

In order to correct poor self-worth, you cannot wait for other people to start treating you well. You have to make a decision that you have as much worth as anyone else, despite all the indications to the contrary. It's only after you make this decision that your behaviors change. And when your behaviors change, other people respond to those new behaviors and reflect back to you your changed sense of self-worth. This decision -- "I have as much worth as anyone else" -- is completely artificial, runs contrary to all the evidence you have accumulated, and will continue to conflict with evidence you are currently acquiring until the changed self-worth finally takes hold in changed behaviors.

The above strategy certainly feels like you're "deluding yourself", but it's the only effective way to correct the problem. If you smoke, the only way to correct the problems associated with smoking is by quitting; eating better, getting more exercise, and getting more sleep are not sufficient alternatives, even though they all feel a lot more natural and 'organic' than quitting.

And no, I do not dislike the idea of self-improvement. I'm a self-improvement junkie. But I understand the distaste for the marketing. A lot of it is awful. And a lot of the advice is awful, too. I'm sure my advice seems awful to most people because a lot of it is counter-intuitive.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 07:51 PM
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yeah I guess I dislike it. mostly because I cant do it. trying to make my fantasy life become real was never something that worked out in any way.

I left my last partner and last job because they made me unhappy and now I only work part time at a worse job which makes me slightly less unhappy and am alone which makes me slightly more unhappy. I made a new friend and kind of a new friend group (which is disappearing now though) but i moved away from a bunch of friends (who were also disappearing anyway). this is all net zero change pretty much.

I haven't been working on my personality or behaviours because it hurts too much to try to change those things. and no surprises that none of that has changed much. I dont talk to people and will continue to not talk to them. try teaching a dog to talk! I am not the right kind of animal.

anyway the culture we live in now is incoherent and progress itself is incoherent.

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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 08:07 PM
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There's no need for self improvement outside of your own personal goals and desires. So if you want to be able to talk to pple more easily for personal goals (friendships, romance) or professional, then self improvement is natural. The impulse to move towards your goals is natural thus the desire to develop skills to meet your goals is natural.

I guess there's self improvement just for it's own sake, but idk if that's even a thing. Everything anyone does is a result of their own innate desire. A desire to lose weight and be healthy, a desire to be knowledgeable and well read, a desire to impress someone, etc.

So yea- self improvement is as natural as it gets in my book and I have no issue with it.

The only time it could be a problem is if you generally dislike yourself and begin relating to yourself as a series of problems to be fixed rather than a human being with a goal (which I can see being fairly common amongst pple with mental health difficulties.)

Edited- oh yea and marketing, advertising and sales is a bunch of manipulative bs playing upon human emotions- so totally get why that aspect feels ****ty. They're designed to make you feel you're not good enough or you're missing out and you need this thing to be better.

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Know your ACE (adverse childhood experiences) score?
Sometimes, SA is a symptom of significant developmental, attachment or interpersonal trauma (emotional neglect counts). If you're still stuck after you've tried SA treatments such as CBT and exposure, research C-PTSD and see if it resonates. Here's an awesome resource. Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 09:15 PM
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I'm not even interested in that bs... As it is totally pointless and never gonna work...

Even shy people can be sassy sometimes...
I'll put drunk raccoon in my signature as well, because I CAN...
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 12:14 AM
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Yes because it's not the thing even...

Same as people who think you can overcome depression by thinking in the "right" way. Toxic thinking masked under cheesy stuff a la "you must be grateful for what you have compared to these or those people", cheesy quotes, stuff like you mentioned etc or stuff like Jordan Peterson. I might be wrong, but isn't it also what CBT proposes?

The truth is it tries hard to nurture a false ego (psychoanalytically speaking) which is lifeless, but is all about doing things it thinks it NEEDS to do to keep living even if you feel empty inside, have no energy and lifeforce, only enough energy to constantly push yourself into things and to call yourself names for being weak or just repress the voice of your true ego that has a potential for vitality which pushes the true ego and true emotions deeper down into subconscious.

The truth is people do these things naturally because their needs were mostly addressed appropriately since they were born. And I'm not talking about basic physical ones like " to eat", "to be warm", " to have a roof under your head", "to sleep", " to be changed" which I mean automatically... Talking about needs in connection with a caregiver/caregivers, emotional needs etc. People grow up and they don't know that's what was wrong and that's what created their pathologies psychologically just like people who have good things naturally due to their childhood and internalized the 'good enough object' since babyhood and childhood don't know that's why they have it. So most people judge others by themselves and they think because they have their own depressive feelings from time to time and were able to overcome them by reading inspirational quotes or something mentioned earlier, everyone can. Or they have mostly a repressed personality themselves like Peterson.

I mean it's not wrong because if you can't access something, you still have to live in the present and make yourself do things for survival, it should be just viewed as a temporary technique and should not be taken that seriously.

Therapies like psychodynamic one try to heal that true ego and childhood traumas and promise to help you in that way and heal it to a certain extent. You would have more energy due to your emotions being mirrored, due to empathy of a therapist and your therapeutic relationship with them. How true it actually is I don't know because after two years of such therapy I don't have a lot of progress due to numerous reasons... I only know that the theory of childhood development and how it influences your adulthood, how those primary relationships with your caregivers shape you during development if psyche when you're a baby and then a child is true.

Sorry for not currently replying to your posts addressed to me. I will do that later (hopefully in a few days) because now I can't Please, don't take it personally because you have nothing to do with it.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 12:55 AM
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I take improvement advice from friends and my pimps only, i would never yield to advice from a stranger on a video.

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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 02:26 AM
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I don't know about "self-improvement" but I do know I hate all those bloody self-help books. There's no way I can concentrate long enough to read a whole one of those.

(mind you I'm still trying to get over that post above me)
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 02:48 AM
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I agree.. and the same goes with trying hard to be social, to bring “good vibes” and being anything other than who you are. Anything that you do forcefully and try to force anything is obviously gonna feel forced too.

Also, businesses and companies that do the whole “think positive, be proactive!” thing are a scam. Vector Marketing, Cutco, Primerica.. they’re all scams.



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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 08:24 AM
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Well I don't like con artists regardless of what they're selling.

Quote:
And it seems like there's some sinister marketing motive behind stuff like that. That they're all just playing into our emotions and fooling us into believing something that's not actually there. Making us feel '' special '' when in reality, we're just another customer. Just another pawn.
Yeah and when you think about it even real self improvement is usually just designed to make you a better worker or give birth to more workers. If support comes from someone close to you, then they might want to help you (though it will probably be a secondary motivation after the primary one that is helping you fit in.)
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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 08:43 AM
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 02:00 PM
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There are some good messages from people honestly trying to help, but there is also a ton of marketing type stuff that doesn't really work. Just cheerleading type of motivation videos and conferences. I suppose it works for some because Tony Robbins has been pretty popular for many years. A healthy self confidence takes years of personal work to improve on. A lot of the youtube videos out there are kind of band-aids for open heart surgery in terms of boosting self confidence. You can't really change your personality or fix serious mental problems overnight from some video full of positive affirmations. There are helpful programs like the Overcoming Social Anxiety CBT audio. I own it and it's helped some but needs a lot of dedication and work. Not something you just listen to and then jump back into regular life.

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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 02:53 PM
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I guess what i dislike is that it feels almost as an obligation for you to be whatever they want you to be. As if you don't achieve things is because you are lazy and etc... I don't think things are that simple.
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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 07:31 PM
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Self improvement is always an active choice you’re making for yourself but you don’t have to go about it in a commodified way...for example we’re always sold that getting in shape is all about acquiring a certain body type/size and/or losing weight but actually a simple & persistent routine is both easier to maintain, less discouraging when you skip a session(ie you don’t feel like a failure), and in the long term that regular activity goes a long way, especially with mild diet changes...but from an advertising perspective that’s not sexy or likely to convince anyone to buy your product or in this case training guide
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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 04:40 AM
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I can understand things such as exercise and learning new skills. ''Self-improvement'' in the form of changing your personality in order to be more likeable has always seemed pitiful to me. If you let social expectations determine your personality and how you conduct yourself, that's honestly pretty weak and desperate. Whatever you do with your life, it should be because you genuinely want it for yourself.
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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 04:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScorchedEarth View Post
I can understand things such as exercise and learning new skills. ''Self-improvement'' in the form of changing your personality in order to be more likeable has always seemed pitiful to me. If you let social expectations determine your personality and how you conduct yourself, that's honestly pretty weak and desperate. Whatever you do with your life, it should be because you genuinely want it for yourself.
Well, there's this and then there's the fact that if your natural personality if very wrong, it can be very hard to live that way. Sometimes people have to at least fake a personality that isn't them to do the things they need to do just to have a basic life.

You can afford to not be the life of the party but you can't really afford to be hated or give off the wrong vibes before people actually get to know you. First impressions are even more important in a world with a microscopic attention span and an eagerness to shun.

/WYSD
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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 08:15 PM
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A lot of people equate "self-improvement" with "social adjustment". I have never thought of it that way. I'm pretty intensely averse to being told what to do by anyone, and I would never change myself, or encourage anyone else to change themselves, just to make other people happy. I think that's very unhealthy.

When I talk about self-improvement, I mean making yourself strong enough to live authentically despite all the outside pressure to conform, as it's generally this pressure to conform, our inability to conform, and the feeling that not conforming makes us bad people, which is at the root of a lot of MH issues.

But I realize that many self-help coaches and therapists have normative views about human nature and try to impose those views on other people. There are bad coaches and therapists, just like there are bad doctors and lawyers. That doesn't mean all coaches and therapists in the self-improvement community are bad and ignorant people. Many of them are very firmly in the living authentically camp and wouldn't push anyone to conform.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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