self improvement

Not long ago, I ran across the statement “Just for today, I will not try to improve anyone by myself!” What a great thought…if only we could live by it so easily as it is said.

It is about as easy and convenient for us to “improve” someone else as it is to improve our generosity with money we wish we had. We all know better. So why, then, do we do it? Let me offer a few thoughts, just for the fun of it.

One reason we try to improve others is that we hate to see potential go to waste. We say, “You have some great potential, so much to offer. If you would only change your attitude or habits, you would go a long way in life.” Another reason is many of us carry around an inner drive to fix whatever we think is wrong with the character of someone else. And, by tending to the improvement of someone else, we can distract ourselves from tending to our own!

Some of us see the need to improve others as a crisis which must be addressed on the spot. Then there are those of us who see improving someone else as our pressing personal goal in life. Robert Louis Stevenson, though, saw the matter correctly. He said, “The only person whom it is my duty to make good is myself.”

Regardless of how noble our reasons may be to improve others, it is extremely difficult to see clearly how to do it. The major difficulty is having to look through and around the glaring flaws of our own lives. I don’t know about you, but I have enough of my own flaws to deal with to concern myself with what I may consider flaws in others.

Keeping that in mind just for today goes a long way toward self-improvement for any day!