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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Get A Life: Pursue self-improvement, but don’t lose the playfulness

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  • I’m all for people doing everything they can to improve their lives, but I worry that for many people, the pursuit of self-improvement (when it becomes an obsession) can lead to a life characterized by struggle, disappointment and depression.
    I’d love for human beings everywhere to live a life full of joy, energy, celebration and fun. I want us all to laugh, enjoy, play, make love and do all the wonderful things that make life magical and amazing. Every single one of us can live life with a playful spirit. Perhaps not every moment, or every day, but when we are not in the midst of tragic circumstances, immersing ourselves in appreciation and joy can help us get through this roller coaster called life.
    However, many of us have taken the concept of self-improvement, which includes striving to be happy, into the realm of yet another demanding, high-stress job. We spend months reading books, attending seminars, taking classes and doing therapy in pursuit of making more of ourselves.
    Some people in our “you can do anything” society simply cannot accept the fact that there are certain things that they’re probably better off not doing. I find the most annoying part of their quests is their relentless need to impose it on others. I really don’t want to hear a lecture every time I’m with them about their new path to enlightenment. A lot of the individuals who pursue that path seem to be devoid of humor. I guess becoming enlightened is serious business.
    Unrealistic expectations — the sort that would convince us that all we need to do is to just believe in ourselves and never give up — are ridiculous. No matter how much I believe in myself, and no matter how much I strive into trying to change some things about myself, the fact remains that I have a biology that can get in the way.
    We also have to look at the years we have put into practicing who we are. I have been a perfectionist since childhood. It drove me crazy, and I’m sure it made others around me anxious. I have certainly curtailed my need to have everything look “just so,” but that occurred as a result of slowly recognizing the absurdity inherent in the behavior, but aging has played a big part, too. You just don’t have the energy to expend on making sure you’re living in a perfect atmosphere.
    Discovering that you can accept yourself and all your foibles can become a great way to live life. You may not be able to “become all you can be,” but you sure can learn to enjoy all that you are!
    Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360. Visit her website at www.stressed.com.
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