“Addicted To Improvement”-
It’s a real thing, people!
And I should know because I definitely drift into this pattern at times. The good thing is that I catch myself when I am leaning that way and I make a conscious choice to come back to one of my favorite phrases that one of teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh, puts so simply:
You Are Enough.
You Have Enough.
Or sometimes he just says the word:
“Enough” is such a Powerful word
Enough – is part of my personal daily practice of living mindfully and also it has woven itself into the tapestry of my work. I share this teaching with as many people as I can now because I feel it is so important to settle into the knowingness of this truth.
Knowing this helps us not go down the rabbit hole of constant self-improvement, which takes us to a place of never being satisfied, always thinking we need to fix something, and often times missing the fact that all is well.
I have even noticed myself at times saying the phrase, okay things are going well, how can I now make them go even better? That mindset often takes me to places that are not helpful.
If my skin is doing well I start researching new things I can do or I start wondering if perhaps there is an even better product on the market I should be using. Her skin looks really good, what does she use? And so forth.
Sometimes I am eating really well, feeling great, and then I think I could take it to the next level and do even better. You see where I am going with this, right?
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You Are Enough
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
Every time I have given in to these whims I have created a bit of a secondary challenge. The first challenge being the thought, how can I improve this? The second challenge is presented when I went ahead and tried to improve what was already working, which often creates imbalances and new problems.
When I try a new product and my skin doesn’t like it, I go back to what I was using before and remind myself that what I am doing is working for me. When I change my diet when it doesn’t need to be changed, I often don’t feel as good. Then I realize that all was fine before and I should have left well enough alone.
I have spoken to many of my fellow mindful practitioners/healers/guides/teachers and one thing we have all had a lot of personal experience with is the ability to always be working on ourselves. This, of course, definitely has positive elements to it. But it also can be a trap that prevents us from ever truly being at peace and simply letting well enough be and enjoying life as it is.
Don’t be trapped into thinking that you always have to improve…
Can you let go and enjoy life just as it is?
You Are Enough
What I realize needs improvement is the tendency to always be improving something.
When I find myself going down the proverbal rabbit hole of unconscious improvement I now check myself and pause. I stop the momentum of the conditioned behavior of always making something better. Here are some things I do that help me find my way back to the true reality of my life, which is, all is well; I have enough, I am enough.
I can do this in many aspects of my life. I can make a list of things I want to improve in my home, with my work, for my health, with my body, in my relationships, in my garden, even in my meditation and spiritual world. Peace lies in knowing you are lost in wanting things better and choosing to see how good things already are instead.
4 Tips to Break an “Improvement” Addiction
You Are Enough!
1. Resist the urge to keep re-doing
If you truly do KonMari organizing properly, you only need to do it once. That is the beauty of the art of KonMari. Once you have done it, you’re done. There is no need to re-do it, improve upon it, or have another round of it. Do it once and then rest in the splendor of the simplicity of space and harmony.
2. Move every day
If you are moving your body daily, sweating and getting out of breath for at least 30-45 minutes then you are showing up for yourself and you can check that off your list. There is no need to keep trying to figure out what the best workout is and how to do it. Just be active and be consistent. Then rest in knowing that you have done enough.
*That being said, you should of course vary this so you include some yoga, stretching, cardio, weights, etc. But it doesn’t have to be continually improved upon; it just has to be done. So many clients tell me that they need to improve their fitness routine and they tell me what they have done in the past. I tell them that they don’t actually need to improve anything, it’s perfect! Just actually do it.
3. Work WITH your body and doctor
Get your blood work done and work with a holistic doctor and find out what your body actually needs by looking inside the body. You can keep buying supplements and trendy powders and elixirs (done it all!) but unless you know what your body is deficient in, and if it even is deficient in anything, you might not be helping, or improving anything. Instead of falling for every new bit of research, products, celebrity endorsements, etc. work with your doctor and give your body what it needs because you actually know what it needs. And then stop.
Don’t keep futzing with it; trying to improve it. That can actually create new problems and imbalances in the body. And then guess what, you actually do have a problem to fix and an area that needs improvement. Less is more is a great philosophy when it comes to supplements. This is why a healthy diet is so important because we can get most of what we need from our foods.
*Get your blood work done annually to stay in good relationship with your body and its needs.
4. Allow Relationships to Breathe
I have definitely slipped into the constant improving of my relationship with my husband. I did so more in the early years, when I was young and naïve. ☺ Now that I am older, and wiser ☺ I notice when I begin seeing the relationship as something to improve rather than something to simply experience and be in. There are definitely times when communication can be more clear, when arguing can be done more respectfully, and such.
However, generally speaking things are often absolutely fine and quite fulfilling when we get out of the way. Now I get to live in the space of deep gratitude for what is; what works, what is not wrong. Instead of constantly noticing what is wrong, what could be improved upon, how can we do it better, etc.
As you can see, it is quite easy to live in the current of improving.
We also live in a society that supports this tendency; don’t get pulled under.
You Are Enough
It’s Your Choice To Break an “Improvement” Addiction
Pause and consciously choose what you want to do because it is truly necessary, in your best interest and for the greater good.
My husband and I have been known to write a list of all the improvements we want to do to our house. Every time we get in that improvement mode the list comes out and we say, let’s actually do it this time!
Then you know what happens? We realize that everything is actually also just fine as it is. Yes, it would be an improvement and yes, it would be nice to have a new kitchen or a bigger master bedroom but is it truly necessary? Nope. All is perfect as it is. We have enough. I choose to observe the current of constant improvement, rather than be swept up in it.
Try it on in your life.
Play with it and discover where you can actually soften and let go of the need to improve. Discover how your life is already quite perfect and you where you can see that you are enough.
I will leave you with some homework. Begin noticing what’s not wrong in your life. Every day pause and bear witness to all the things that don’t need improvement.
- What doesn’t hurt?
- What isn’t wrong?
- What is perfect as it is?
- What works so well already?
- What is right?
Please share any of your observations with me. I would love to know what you see is already well enough in your life.
I send you love and blessings of good health, peace and patience.
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Dove’s boutique studio, Dove’s Bodies, has been an LA institution for more than 35 years. With a background combining decades’ worth of studies in fitness, dance, pilates, martial arts, primal movement, yoga, pranayama, organic nutrition, energy healing, mindful living, intuitive clearing and meditation, Dove is sought out for her unique, intuitive wholistic total-body approach. Dove’s life passion is to guide her clients on their own unique path to wellness, wholeness, and the full integration of mind, body and spirit.
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