There's nothing wrong with self-improvement. Unless you don't feel like improving your self.
As this letter to the editor in the March 23, 2023 issue of New Scientist says, there's good reason to simply accept yourself as the imperfect person that you are (nobody's perfect, for sure), whose life is marked by some stupid decisions and screwups.
Fed up with the desire to spin our lives in this way
7 January, p 33
From Caroline Deforche,
According to your guide to being your own hero, psychologists say we should spin our memories "into a well-told life narrative" to "help us achieve our aspirations for self-improvement."
Why always this pressure to perform better, because that is what it comes down to (which isn't the same as saying that unhealthy behaviour shouldn't be changed)?
Why don't psychologists give a message about being content with who we are and accepting what we have done so far? Control over everything is an illusion.
What I found most useful were psychologist Kate McLean's reflections.
Indeed, we don't have to look for silver linings everywhere. Some events just suck and some choices we made were just stupid, or we simply had bad luck. Why not admit this and live with it? Why should we have to sugarcoat our story?
No one is completely the author of their own destiny and no one can mould themselves into the perfect shape.
I like these sentiments.
For most of my life I thought that I was supposed to work on making myself a better person. However, that attitude puts us on a hamster-wheel sort of path where we continually put in effort to arrive at a desired place, yet never arrive there, since it's always possible to be an even better person.
At some point I believe we have to reach a state of mind of This is as good as it gets.
In my experience, that requires a wisdom that comes with aging. Not just growing older -- everybody does that from the moment of their birth -- but reaching an age, for me it's 74, where you recognize that as the letter-writer said, no one can control life or form themselves into a perfect shape.
The best we can do is be as kind as possible to ourselves and others; try to make the world a bit better than it already is, or at least not worse; laugh when we're happy and cry when we're sad; accept that, as my 4th grade teacher liked to say, Do your best; angels can do no better; and flow with the unpredictable currents of life (not that we have any choice in this).