Skip The Personal Development and Do This Instead

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I was waiting in the pharmacy line getting suckered into all the goodies surrounding check out. I spotted a white glossy cover of the TIME magazine covered in sleek yellow emojis and promising happiness. It was $14 which even the store clerk double checked but I trust TIME and I love happiness so I took it anyhow.

Taking magazines to the beach with kids is an ambitious maneuver but I’ve been carting it to and fro in August slowly digesting the nuggets and tips on mental health and mindfulness. I can’t yet swear it’s fourteen dollars worth but there’s one piece that stuck out in the lists of suggested changes.

“Stop with the self improvement”. Given that personal development is in my top 5 priorities month over month, I stopped here. The blurb quickly followed with the suggestion to spend time instead auditing what you’re good at.

Reading that took me back to this little cafe I would sit at on Newbury street when I was single, working in advertising and living in Boston. On Saturdays, I would do a Vinyasa yoga class and then journal afterward. This was 10 years ago, well before the self-care trend so I was clearly onto something. I still have my journal and on each page in very feminine cursive I have a list of attributes that I loved about myself.

Now in looking back I also recall feeling my most beautiful. I often joke that was my peak. But maybe it had something to do with the care I took (and the sleep I got) but also the diligence in self affirmation. In meticulously and religiously reminding myself my strengths so I could project them into the world.

In my deep commitment to be the best wife and mother I’ve lost a bit of that. Coaching myself into managing conflicts better, taking feedback like a pro, thickening up my skin and finding more patience and being more present. It’s endless, my work in progress list.

Almost as endless as those lists in my journals from a decade back. And while we are all works in progress with the good fortune of a family as the best motivation, I’d like to get back to my peak and perhaps that lies not in bouncier hair (and boobs) but more in reminding myself of all the good.

Are you on any self-improvement kicks? What are your favorite qualities about yourself?

Featured Image by Ana Tavares on Unsplash