Ask a Coach: Am I Addicted to Fixing Myself?Aug 19, 2022 05:30AM ● By Adele Wang
One of the biggest challenges I see in clients that are on the wellness and spiritual growth path is a preoccupation with the “I must fix myself” energy. Whether it’s the desire for better health or for better relationships, they are consumed by a constant feeling of internal dissatisfaction mixed with goals of self-improvement. It’s natural and your birthright to desire to create the best life you can for yourself. But the need to fix yourself assumes something is wrong with you—and that does more harm than good.
The biggest problem is that people often confuse fixing themselves with knowing themselves. These are not the same energies. Fixing or even “improving” oneself is exhausting, unsustainable and draining; knowing oneself is curious, expansive, sustainable and, ultimately, much more fulfilling.
When people need to move through life’s challenges, they often resort to trying to fix or improve themselves, but that doesn’t usually work. It’s fine to stretch into new ways of doing things when life gets difficult. But in self-improvement, there’s often a loud, unspoken belief that where you are already—warts and all—is simply not good enough. You assume that if you feel pain, there’s something wrong with you, so you must fix yourself. Otherwise, you think, you might never “get there,” and that would be tragic. You assume that once you become that improved version of yourself, then you will be more lovable to yourself and to others—and life will finally be good.
Stop the Craziness
It’s time to stop the craziness of constantly trying to fix yourself. Although the desire behind it is great, it can leave you depressed and anxious. Constantly trying to fix yourself consumes a tremendous amount of energy that can’t be used for anything else. It saps your creativity and your ability to be fully present in your own life. Fixing tends to make people feel very stiff inside; it becomes a huge tax on their emotional and physical energy and reduces their ability to truly feel alive.
“I just need to…” has become such a common phrase that people don’t realize what they’re saying when they say it. It’s unacceptance of oneself. It’s a wish that they could be somewhere else other than where they are. It is exhausting and frustrating, and any change coming from such a tight, forced energy is usually not sustainable. Ironically, fixing doesn’t help anyone truly love themselves; it’s a recipe for being anxious and unfulfilled.
In an “I must fix myself” model, there’s never a shortage of things we think we should improve; there is always something else that needs to be fixed.
Self-Acceptance is the Core of Self-Love
In contrast, getting to know yourself better is a much different energy. It is the energy of accepting yourself as you are—not after you’ve improved yourself, but right now, warts and all.
Accepting yourself is the core of self-love. Self-love doesn’t mean shouting “Hurray!” for yourself all the time. It means an acceptance of where you are, knowing that nothing needs to be improved upon. There’s no tension in the body with acceptance. There’s no internal fight— wishing you were somehow different. It’s a sense that: “This is where I am right now, and it’s OK even if it’s not fun.” With this acceptance comes a lot of relief from not trying to make yourself think, feel or be something you aren’t. It’s being honest with yourself and being OK with wherever you are inside.
People struggle with self-acceptance a lot. They fear that if they do accept themselves, they’ll turn into an unlovable disaster in life. Many people secretly feel that the only thing that has kept them even remotely decent is their slew of constant self-improvement projects. They think self-fixing is synonymous with self-growth. And giving that up seems unacceptable.
But accepting yourself is the beginning of self-love. It doesn’t mean you’re not open to learning new stuff; there are always new ideas and suggestions every one of us could learn to do better. But it also doesn’t mean that where you are right now is wrong. If you never did another speck of personal development, you will still be just fine.
It’s a tremendous relief when you can allow yourself this self-acceptance. Then, you can be open to embracing the mystery and unknown in the moment without having a preconceived idea of how you should be. Your curiosity about who you are expands. Who is the real you that wants to emerge? Life can feel more like an adventure; there is joy and peace in finding out more about who you are.
You cannot criticize and fix yourself into loving yourself more. It simply isn’t possible. Go for self-acceptance instead and watch as you reach your full potential. ❧
Owner of Safe Haven Healing, Adele Wang is an energy healing practitioner and a licensed Art of Feminine Presence instructor. She has trained under several pioneers of energy medicine and has studied numerous energy-healing modalities. Find her on TW, IG, YT @AdeleWang and SafeHavenHealing.net on Facebook.