Progress, not perfection

Society is lost right now. Many people have no center and are just floating through their daily lives without goals and a purpose. The amount of people experiencing depression, anxiety and serious psychological distress continues to increase despite the number of social media influencers posting about self-love and saying that people should just do what makes them feel good all the time. People are more stressed and unhappy than ever before, even though they are receiving these messages of “positivity” daily.

The answer to why society is struggling is simple. The problem is that messages of self-love and positivity cannot get people through the times in their lives when they must rely on themselves because they did absolutely nothing to earn this self-love. They don’t believe in themselves because they never did anything to prove to themselves that they are capable individuals. They also don’t have the mental toughness that comes with doing hard things, and mental toughness is an essential component of getting through the tough situations that many are experiencing.

Mental toughness is vital to one’s success in whatever one chooses to pursue, although there is not just one definition of mental toughness. Mental toughness is defined as the ability to resist, manage and overcome doubts, worries or concerns that may prevent one from succeeding or excelling at a task. It is the ability to face adversity, failure and negative events. Being mentally tough is more than being able to bounce back after a bad exam grade or a breakup with a significant other. It is proving to oneself that they are who they say they are. It is calling out one’s shortcomings. It is discipline. It is doing what they said you were going to do even though no one is watching. Mental toughness is 100% how you choose to hold yourself accountable. Setting goals and achieving them is one way to build mental toughness. Sticking to a plan for months on end and following through with it even when it is not easy is how one begins to believe in themselves. A person gains self-confidence when they begin to see improvements in whatever goal they have set out to achieve. People don’t start to believe in themselves until they start to work towards a goal or do hard things daily because they don’t have something to base their success on.

At the end of the day, the only person who knows if a person has succeeded at carrying out what they said they were going to do for the day is themselves. One can’t always do what makes them happy, especially if it also makes them unhealthy, sad and insecure. When one does things that they don’t necessarily want to do because they know they will be better for it, they begin to strengthen their mental toughness.

The problem with the self-love movement is that it leads people to believe that just by existing, they are fulfilling their full potential which could not be further from the truth. To be worthy of one’s self-love, people need to do things that challenge them and make them overall better people. Anyone that tells you that you are perfect the way you are or that you do not need to improve yourself is misleading you. Many people preach self-love because they do not love themselves and they would rather be surrounded by a community who follows their lead than people who call them out on their failures or inability to see the truth. It is great to acknowledge that you are a work in progress, but it is not ok to lie to yourself. True self-love is seeing oneself for who one is and accepting that there is still work to be done and progress to be made.