Sometime in the 1970s or '80s, before I gave up on improving myself, I read a few self-improvement books. They didn't improve me.  

Self-improvement is a wondrous thing, of course. Everyone I know could stand some serious improving. Think you'd look better as a blonde? Bleach it, dye it, blow-dry it. If you want to be a surgeon, buy a saw and practice. I'm not opposed, but — moderation in all things, including self-improvement. 

There are things you can't change about yourself. If you’re 25 and short, you’re not going to get taller. If you don’t like your flat forehead or big nose or disability, there's nothing you can do about it, short of plastic surgery or joining the X-Men. It's better to fuggedaboutit.

There are things you can change, so maybe you try. If people don't like you because you're fat, you could eliminate the joy of cheesecake, obsess about calories or carbs, and maybe drop to your "chart weight" after a few years' of miserable effort. People still might not like you, though. Maybe being fat isn't the problem. 

And there are things you could change, and maybe you try — or maybe you don't. I'm here to say something in favor of "Don't."

There are other so-called sins that inexplicably didn't make the list, but consider the "seven deadly sins": Pride, covetousness, lust, gluttony, envy, anger, and sloth. To quote the philosopher Mary Poppins, "Those are a few of my favorite things." Can't speak for you, but if you take those deadly sins away from me, there'd be nothing much left.

Instead of trying to eliminate such faults, I'd suggest asking Who's really harmed? Or Are these really problems at all? The answers I've come up with are Nobody, and No

I am what I am, and I'm not changing me to please you. We are not required to be better people tomorrow than today, or even to try being better. It's OK to relax, live your life as yourself, and have a good time being you.

 Self-improvement is fine, but self-acceptance is divine.



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