Becoming the Best Version of Yourself – An Introduction to Self-Improvement
This is an introduction and overview to self-improvement. It should be viewed as a roadmap as it does not contain a detailed description of each point. The road is long, but the points collected here present a good place to start. At least a direction can be made clearer for many out there. No one mortal is perfect, but view this as a genuine attempt to help others coming from a long-time wanderer on the path of self-improvement.
This is not the first or the last time you will read or hear about self-improvement, it will be a common feature here on This is Europa. This is a sort of general roadmap and by necessity it has to be very long, since it overviews many interrelated subjects that form a whole, rather than going into the detail of execution. Later, you will find various articles that fit into this with more detailed explanations and practical advice, rather than general overviews. Consider this as an introduction on how to become a better person and as a tool of achievement.
Let me start out by saying that this is perhaps one of the most complex subjects out there and it comprises everything from what you eat to what you wear, think, believe, do and say. Not only that, it undoubtedly matters greatly what other people do or say near you or to you. It may seem a bit ‘new-agey’ to say that we are all connected, but it is the truth. People like Carl-Gustav Jung, who first put words to the concept of the “collective unconscious”, and many after him have written endless numbers of books on this topic. We are connected, whether we like it or not. In order to make this into something constructive, I do not just want to say what is what and then leave you wondering. I am not perfect by any means myself, but I am following the path of self-improvement – and have been doing so consciously most days for a couple of decades – and I have a pretty good idea of what has made me a better person, which is why I want to share. Why? I am not trying to sell anything. I am not getting paid for sharing. I just want us to succeed and help make the world a better place.
First and foremost, change what you eat. Improving your diet will improve your whole lifestyle, and it is a good place for most people to start. Your refrigerator and fridge will soon be empty. Take the opportunity to replace the bad quality items with loads of organic green vegetables, proper meat, fish and dairy. Throw in a bit of fruit as well for taste, especially citrus fruits, avocado and so forth. Try getting into juicing – you all know what juicing is. You do not need to go overboard and become some crazy raw-food-only eating vegan. Just drink your veggies daily at least if you do not like eating them as they are, and eat quality protein. Avoid anything – including training supplements – with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and so forth. Avoid high doses of caffeine and stay away from toxins such as Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). Avoid products which have a large list of unnatural ingredients. The body does not know what to do with these, so it becomes fat if it is something that is too jumbled, processed and full of additives. I strongly recommend watching the documentary “Hungry for change“.
By self-acceptance we mean self-love. Accepting yourself does not mean that you should quit improving yourself, but in order to improve yourself it is important that you first are able to love yourself, and that you recognise that the reason for improvement is not because you are “not good enough”, but rather that you should want to become the best version of yourself.
By doing good things and trying to improve who you are, you can begin to feel good about yourself. Saying to yourself that you accept yourself fully as you are right now, without actually doing anything to improve, would likely feel false. We feel good when we act well and do good deeds, and we feel bad when we do bad things.
If you want to elevate yourself, then lift up somebody else.
Dress and style
Quite simply, dress like you are not part of the degeneracy visible elsewhere in society. Get a nice, classic hairstyle. If you are a man you should consider growing a nice beard and/or moustache if you can do so properly, and spend a few minutes on grooming here and there. Buy plain clothes of quality and gradually replace everything in your wardrobe that is not good enough. If you dream of a better kind of society, this is one of the best ways of being that change. People will see what you are wearing and they will consciously or unconsciously like to seek a proper style of dress and grooming themselves. What you wear will change your self-perception as well as how others view you and react towards you. Imagine yourself talking to a group of influential people. Would you want to stand there with a proper hairdo and a suit, or would you like to stand there in flip flops, shaved head and a t-shirt with a band name on it? If you are female, would the following seem acceptable: miniskirt, tank top and pink hair? It is quite obvious that anyone would pick the shirt or suit and proper hairdo over the less smart alternatives.
Third off is finding those natural endorphin boosters. My personal favourite is the gym because it is open all year-round. But make sure you find an activity that you love doing, and make sure to get out into nature, take walks, go places and do things. Whether you decide to get into crossfit, climbing, bodybuilding, dancing, yoga or running marathons, physical activity is very important for your health and well-being.
Returning to the subject of love, being in a stable relationship means finding your other half. Neurological studies show that people who have a significant other and experience all the blessings of physical love daily have a much denser network of neurons compared to those who live without it. If you try hard to improve, you will only get so far without love. It is also very, very important to have positive relations with your parents and your family. For some, this is not easy but it should nevertheless be on the agenda. Forgive them, ask for forgiveness. Just make sure you reconcile and are not on hostile terms.
Self-examination and improvement
Whilst accepting yourself is key, you also already know what you are lacking. Do not berate yourself for it. Do not tell yourself that you are limited in what you can do or what you are. Overcome your self-limiting beliefs, and instead think of what you should replace or add to your character or your life. Who you want to be is ultimately up to you, but there are some tried and true ways that we will get into.
You heard me right. Your life will not be full without faith. If you choose a life with no connection to the community, chances are that you will end up somewhere pretty miserable. Pray, reflect, be part of the community, attend mass, teach yourself and be taught. It will give you more than you can imagine. It can get rid of many bad influences and replace them with lighter, brighter and more positive things. It can literally change your wants and needs as well. If you share your religion with your partner, that is a double blessing which cannot be understated.
Most of us are not alcoholics and I never was one, but drinking to get drunk is not positive most of the time. It can be done on occasion, but normally every sane person should stay away from heavy drinking. Just think of all the stupid and impulsive things you have done whilst drunk. This is definitely one of those things where religion can change your wants. There is no bigger trap than alcohol in public places when it comes to getting into bad situations of all kinds, whether it is yourself you are endangering, others or your relationships. Stay sober and if you ever drink, do so moderately, either alone or with people you know very well. Replace club hopping with going to nice restaurants, non-marxist theatres, operas and/or concerts.
Whether or not you choose to go the religious route, sexual promiscuity is not positive. When you find the love of your life, would you have preferred him or her to be your first or your 103rd? Not to mention the high risks associated with venereal diseases. Going to bed with random men or women will take something from them and from their future husband or wife that can hardly be replaced. You, me, most of us have lived lives we, at times, may regret. Religion is a big help for many to stop this, because it helps you understand why it is not good. As Marcus Aurelius said, “If it is not true, do not say it. If it is not good, do not do it”.
To stop swearing is an important step for personal growth. Most of us do so by mistake even if we have not uttered a curse word in days. I still swear a little when something bad happens, but one method to help kick the habit is to replace the instinctive bad words with funny ones, so that you do not really say anything bad, mean anything bad and that it is slightly embarrassing when you do hit your toe and cry out “Gandhi!” or some other randomness. The new-agey theory relating to this is the one about negative thoughts forming and that we surround ourselves with them, and it appears to hold some water. Surround yourself with good words.
Yes, you heard me correctly (again). This one can be a really challenging part for most people. Especially if you start out “disagreeing”, because we modern people think that we have some automatic right to agree or disagree with factual statements. Music of various forms vibrates at various frequencies and those frequencies, harmonies and disharmonies have an impact on your psyche and even your physical state. Some good and some bad. Avoid modern music if you want to develop into a better person, since it is mostly just as bad as modern television; full of harmful things. Go back to positive music, like folk music, classical music, choir music and so forth. There is a line somewhere in the first half of the 20th century after which most music becomes degenerative and chaotic to some degree. There are of course a few exceptions to that, notably in movie music, some power metal and Enya type music, which is mostly very harmonic. The key here is harmony. It has a positive effect whereas chaotic, melancholy or simply dark music has various negative effects on your psyche.
Everyday life should be wonderful and if it is not, then you are doing something wrong. But we all need variety and a bit of excitement. Going off to do a bit of exploration is healthy at times, whether it is taking a proper vacation somewhere, trying out a few new restaurants, trying new sports, hiking or rifling through old books in the library.
Relax and read books
You can live a thousand lives before you are even thirty if you pick up a book and read a bit every day. I am not just talking about hardcore fact books here, but of real literature. Make it a habit, read with your spouse or significant other, to your children and never stop. It must not be a novelty or something outside of everyday life. On the contrary, make it part everyday life and do not fool yourself or anyone else by saying that you do not have the time. You do have the time, even if you do not realise it. A good idea is to replace TV time with reading time.
Consistency and cutting out negative influences
This is where most people fail, me included! Being consistently good, active and positive is hard, especially if you are spending a lot of time in negative environments or the wrong crowd. If you have those problems, you should change company, move to a better place, change job, political association or whatever it is that make you feel negative. The hallmark of something negative is that it will burn all your energy over time, along with your health, and leave you spent when the time comes to do what is really important. You need to identify what is what, replace it with something better and try your best every day. You will fail sometimes, more likely than not, but do not be disheartened. Just brush yourself off and continue. If it was a sin, ask forgiveness, whether from God or a fellow human being (or both), and repent.
Conscious choice will make you different
The greatest thing to do for your personal growth is to make conscious decisions hundreds of times every day. You will find that the world becomes less grey, that black and white takes on more definite forms. Decide what to watch, what to read, what to eat, what to listen to, who to see and so forth. Always try and pick what feels right, and if it does not then pick something else. I am not saying to you not to do your laundry, dishes or cleaning. I bet most of us do not like doing those chores, but have to do them anyway. The correct choice when doing things you have to but do not like is to choose to do them expediently, well and with a good attitude.
Get enough sleep, whatever that means to you. Some may think they can sleep three to five hours a night and that they are “fine”, but they will not be. Some can take more of a beating than others, but the bill will always be paid somehow. If you work, exercise and know that you will need seven to eight hours at least on most nights. A good way of not going into a negative cycle is to get to bed and get up at roughly the same times on weekends as on weekdays. Not drinking and going out partying really helps with this.
This has been a pretty long introduction, and I could have said much more. But you will find your way from here, if you want to. Let me sum it up for you: eat right, accept yourself but improve yourself too, exercise vigorously, find faith, find love and/or improve relationships, do not get drunk, do not cheat or sleep around, stop swearing, listen to real and positive music, go on little or big adventures, make sure your everyday life is wonderful, read books, try to stay consistent and realise that you can and will make those hundreds of conscious choices every single day in order to stay on the straight and narrow path of health and righteousness. When you inevitably slip, ask forgiveness. When done for the day, sleep like a baby.
Why do you want to do this?
Many people are negative, and nobody wants to listen to them. I was one of those people, you might be, and you probably want to be listened to. You may want to change things and even be helpful in changing the world. That is why you want to walk along the road of self-improvement, my friend. It really is that easy, it is just like going to the gym. No one will care if you do it one time, but if you stay consistent and do it year in and year out, one day you will be drawing eyes and will begin to influence people by doing things that you previously thought were impossible. Now, make a conscious decision and start walking the road of improvement every day. When you fall, get up. When you are tired, rest. But keep going my friend, and the world will one day be ours!