Would you climb a mountain with a backpack full of rocks?
You would probably stop and remove the rocks first -- even if this means you don't start your climb right away. Or, if you couldn't remove the rocks, you would still understand that you don't need to climb as fast as someone who isn't weighed down.
For some reason, we don't apply this same logic to self-improvement.
We might be weighed down by social anxiety, or past trauma, or an empty bank account, or problems with physical or mental health, or by a schedule that is jam packed with commitments -- the rocks that we carry can look very different.
But our response to them is unfortunately very similar. Either we try to ignore them and push ourselves towards incredibly ambitious goals (and then pay the cost in burnout and shame when our burdens block us from those goals), or we give up and say "I can't even try to climb this mountain -- my rocks are too heavy."
I'd like to propose a different way.
Instead of surrendering to our burdens or trying to ignore them, let's try to take care of ourselves.
Maybe that means spending more time doing the things that you love, even if it feels like a waste of time.
Maybe that means reaching out to a counselor or a friend and letting them know you're struggling.
Maybe that means saying "No" to some things in your life.
Maybe it just means giving yourself permission to not be ok all the time.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm all about self improvement. But sometimes you need to take care of yourself before you can improve yourself.
So my challenge for you is simple. Figure out how you could take the first step towards removing some rocks -- or at least towards accepting yourself, rocks and all -- and then go do it.