Self-improvement is often no more than self-criticism in an alluring outfit. Our culture focuses obsessively on the endless allure of improvement, but there’s a much more thrilling area of inquiry: What parts of ourselves are aching for expression, and why do we flee their heat?
Everyone’s heard this platitude: We need to love ourselves before we can love anyone else. This may sound wise, but it misses a great truth; if we want to experience true intimacy, we need to be taught to love ourselves-again and again-by the people around us. No amount of positive self-talk can replicate this experience. It is a gift of intimacy, not of will-power.