The Deep Personal Loss Experienced By Not Focusing on Bettering Yourself

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I’d like to start this by sharing with you part of a journal entry written by a friend of mine.

"For the longest time, life has been an upward climb of harsh realities and unforgiving life circumstances."
"It’ll be no surprise to tell you then that concepts like bettering myself seemed so fantastical and optimistic that for most of my life I could only think about self-improvement with apathy hidden behind sarcasm. I just didn't believe in it."
"I thought life was just easier to deal with by drowning my sorrows, daily inner-conflicts, and locking my demons to the deepest, darkest recesses of my mind."
"You know what’s ironic though? For how eager I was to drown out the pain I felt inside on the daily, physically drowning has always been my greatest fear, and what I was doing to myself was drowning in the darkness of my own self perpetuated despair."
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.
— Haruki Murakami

Well, as anyone who has ever dealt with their shit can tell you, locking away the monsters in your mind further into your mind only the delays the inevitable:

Outbursts of inner anguish brought to the forefront, usually in front of or directed at a loved one, with rage and sorrow bundled up together in a fireworks display of shouts and tears.

This is a recurring motion throughout the life of someone not focused on self improvement; the bottling and neglect of negative emotions until you burst.

When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

You do calm down eventually, the rage and sorrow pass and what is likely left in their wake is exhaustion in its purest form.

This is usually when you are at your most vulnerable; you’ll think about old dark memories, you’ll explore the scars you’ve hidden away in your psyche.

And during all of that, those demons - those dark ideas we’ve given power over ourselves - will breach the weakened gates you’ve placed them behind and will just feed your hate, will feed your self-deprecation.

This might be the point where you begin to have disturbing and dark thoughts about your future or the future of others.

Those twisted thoughts are what I describe as the darkness calling you to fully accept it’s embrace.


So What Do You Lose Without Bettering Yourself?

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It’s unlikely you’ll answer the call the first time - or the second time - because on a deeper level there is a part of you that exists that understands those thoughts are fabrications that hide the truth of your potential.

At some point you’ll gain back some self-control to return to a functioning existence - albeit lacking joy and consistent happiness - and bury the dark thoughts and demons back to their jail, and you’ll try to move on with your life.

If this sort of event was rare in your life, it wouldn’t be a risk of personal loss, more so just a really shitty day.

No, the problem exists for the many that experience this on the daily.

They experience a cycle, and cycles repeat themselves. Over and Over.

I mentioned it was unlikely you would accept the darkness calling you, but when the temptation is brought forth to you over and over again, day after day, one of the most important personal losses begins to emerge; the loss of resistance to the call.

That is a dangerous and potentially life threatening reality to live with.

Another loss you will experience will be the loss of time; your only true valuable commodity will spent on dark thoughts and unhappy moments.

This is time you cannot regain, time that will spent and gone forever. And instead of using it to build a better future for yourself, that time is going towards you sinking deeper into your sorrow.

I’m not saying this as an accusation, I’m simply stating the reality of the matter. It’s important to accept where you are to be able to move forward.

Beyond resistance and time, there will also be the loss of opportunities.

Ever let your depression stop you from going out with your friends?

Maybe you met some cool new people, and they invite you to hang out with them and enjoy the evening together, but you just keep rejecting their offer even though this a new life experience to be had, an adventure in all but name, where the opportunity available to you is making new friends, creating cherished memories, and who knows, one of them might become special to you.

“Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the Earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?”
— Haruki Murakami

But then there’s that anchor dragging you deeper down into the depths of your inner ocean, and in that darkness deep below the surface a voice tells you “No, you can’t.” and you repeat out loud. “No, I can’t. Sorry guys.”

And what’s the trade off? Another day spent in your room, alone.

Focusing on Self Improvement: Where to Start

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This is why there is a fundamental need for an individual, no matter how broken they are on the inside, no matter how horrible life may be, to put one foot in front of the other and begin to move forward.

If you cannot walk, then crawl forward. If you cannot crawl, then inch yourself forward by any means necessary. The point is to keep moving, don’t concern yourself with how much ground you covered.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes, all that matter is that there is progress being made.

Regardless of how small or insignificant of progress it may seem, when you have nothing positive supporting your inner foundation as a human being, those small achievements can make the difference in your day.

Start small, don’t rush yourself and remember that you’re in a long-term battle for your own happiness.

We talked about setting smart goals for yourself in another article, and when you want to focus on bettering yourself, the best way to get started on that is by setting achievable goals.

Have small daily goals to help with your sense of productivity. Start with small, easily completed task to not overwhelm yourself.

It will also be beneficial if these small daily goals lead up to a long-term goal, which will give more impact and value to the smaller tasks you complete.

Even if they don’t correlate directly, you can give yourself an overarching long-term goal where you can place simpler goals under their umbrella.

These general long term goals can look like:

  1. Stop losing your only true currency; time.

  2. Stop losing opportunities - you deserve happiness and adventure.

  3. Stop letting your inner darkness control you - you are so much more than that.


A very compelling video about misery by CGP Grey


There are many ways you can help yourself, the main point is to take that first step and go with it.

Feeling stuck and helpless is normal in a situation like this, but the wonderful thing is that with the internet there are so many ways to help yourself or be helped by others.

If you enjoy reading articles, you can check out our other articles, or even other blogs like Fearless Motivation and Pick the Brain.

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