When Self Development Becomes Self Destruction

This is related to my last post about taking on too many things and having a reality check because of it. I wanted to pull one single piece from that post and expand on it. Because while it was just a small piece of the pie, in retrospect it was a huge one.

Earlier this year I got into life coaching, I fell head over heels in love with the field. So much so that I decided to become a certified life coach. That’s all fine and dandy, and it was a lot of work. But what ensued after that was something I don’t think I would’ve ever asked myself, had it not been for my decision to become a life coach.

Life coaching involves a lot of self development, both for you and your client. In this field, most coaches refer to this as “the work”. You have to do your own work, in order to be able to also help your clients. Because if you aren’t able to work on your own personal “stuff” then how will you be able to help a client? Again this is all fine and dandy. BUT…

You see, this is just about the point where I took the whole self development bit a little too far. I am a very ambitious person and sometimes that can actually be a negative trait. I go headfirst sprinting into a new endeavor and come out banged and bruised on the other side. Which is quite the opposite effect I had expected most times.

This year I did A LOT of self development, and I mean a lot. Not only in my certification course, or with my own life coach, but I took it a hundred steps further in my personal time. I read countless self development books, until they all seemed to run together. My mind was trying to remember and implement the last thing I had learned, before I slammed it with another self improvement task.

But then something strange started happening…once I “fixed” one thing, I found a whole new thing to “fix”. It turned into this tornado of a pattern of never-ending, finding and fixing what was “wrong” with me. I wanted to make myself better, and better, and better, until finally all of my self development actually started having the opposite effect. It’s obvious to see the issue here.

The most bewildering thing, and the question I asked myself was, “Can too much self development be a bad thing?”

Let me answer this for you as simply as I can. Yes, it can most definitely be a bad thing.

And it’s crazy to even think that right? Everyone is so focused on improving themselves, the whole world promotes self development this, and improve your happiness that. But at what point is it all too much? I’ll tell you, it’s the point when it becomes your obsession and primary focus in life. If you live, breathe, eat, and sleep self development, you are already at that point. We think that by doing an ungodly amount of self development, that we will become the greatest version ourselves, ever.

But what really happens, is that we do the complete opposite, and lose part of ourselves instead. I was so focused on fixing myself, I remember my boyfriend said, “Stop trying to fix everything, your “flaws” are the reason I love you, if you go and change everything about yourself, you won’t be you anymore.”

And he is right.

Our world is so caught up with perfection, that is has turned into pure madness.

I find my blog humorous (to me) because I feel like I am always writing these blogs for myself, not my readers, which is so hilariously ironic. Sometimes when I reread a post I wrote a few months back, I always find that I can apply the message to my current situation. Like I wrote it in the past, for my future self to read and be like, “Oh, I get it now!”

But back to the perfection bit – I’ve written a lot about this topic and how “perfection” isn’t real. One thing I learned in life coaching is that:

Oftentimes what we are preaching and/or trying to teach others is exactly what we need to work on with our own selves.

Wham Bam! Let that sink in for a moment!

And in this case, it is definitely true for me. I need to practice what I preach and believe what I write I about. Tangent: it’s not that I don’t believe the lessons I write about, thats definitely not it, ‘t’s the fact that for whatever reason, my brain doesn’t think those lessons apply to me. Mainly because our brains are egomaniacs, and as soon as we “accept” something instead of trying to fix it, our brain goes bizerk…

So all of this to say, if you want to try and better yourself, absolutely go for it. I totally support self development. BUT what I do not support is taking it way to far and sabotaging everything that makes you, you. Because you dear, will never, ever, be perfect, and that is the greatest thing about you 🙂

-With Love, Raeanne



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