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Self-help is an aspect of life needed by every individual in their day to day undertaking. There are several individuals seeking recovery, behavior change, and self improvement or healing. There is a recent awakening on the need to improve personal standards. Through programs designed by psychologists and life coaching professionals, many institutions have started to realize the need to optimize its members’ ability and confidence. They underscore the need of having a team of self motivated individuals. Believing in ones-self and having the confidence of those around you is a factor to cherish.
Self improvement can be used as an alternative to self help. It involves a self initiated move to raise the standards of an individual economically, emotionally or intellectually. This is done with a close reference to psychological basis. The concepts of self help and self improvement are rather too general. There are several self help organizations specializing of particular area of life. Each and every one of these groups has specific methods of achieving self improvements among the members of its target group. The goals of these organizations are aimed at ensuring reconstruction of people’s values including recovery, drug addiction, family feuds and low self-esteem.
There are specialized groups focusing on specific areas of life. They use the readily available information and groups where individuals with similar conditions join up together. There is a sea of benefits arguing from self-help groups. They set the par for measuring the standards of life and enhancement of acceptability (Weber 2009 p.215). Working as a team in self improvement effort is more advantageous than charting individual’s path of progress. The groups have been more desirable that seeking help from professionals because alongside it are building of friendship, experiential knowledge, emotional support, meaningful roles, identity and sense of belonging. However, it does not mean that seeking professional help on individual basis is not helpful.
The efforts geared towards self improvement must set its priorities right. There must be a reasonable trade off between loss of personal image and acceptability in the society. This is common in the case of individuals who are constantly involved in the public engagements like presentations and media. A good illustration of this is the explosion in the reality television programs. Most of these programs have special focus on the personal attributes of their guests. Moreover, it must be noted that the personal attributes being focused on has a wide range of areas of specialization. It literally encompasses all the fields of life. However, there are those fields of special interest to the public than others. These includes but not limited to psychology, business, psychotherapy and education. Out of all these, psychology seems to take the leading role in self improvements. This is so because the rest aspects of life are centered of human behavior, independence and obedience.
Human behavior is controlled and confined by the prevailing conditions; the desire to conform and be acceptable in a society is motivated by the need to be acceptable in a group. Consequently every one appears to be in as journey towards attaining public approval. The decision to change and adjust personal behavior and general outlook is a mammoth task bearing in mind that most people are comfortable in the status quo. When the need to change dawn on an individual, the inner eyes are opened and a realization of the mental imprisonment witnessed. The efforts of self improvement are considered successful only if peace with inner self is achieved (Allen 1991, p. 39).
The challenge with self –improvement is the realization of its importance. Initiating self-improvement plan should be done early enough so as to enhance optimization of a person’s ability. Formulation of self-improvement plan and adjusting personal life to befit it is one of the best things an individual can do to himself. The glamour of the plan is realized in the implementation side of it. The ultimate beneficiary of this plan is no other than the person himself.
However, many people do not get the realization and motivation to enhance self image in good time. It calls for humility and vigor to achieve personal growth and improvement. It is a common phenomenon for a person to experience hardship in making decisions regarding self improvement. Despite this challenge, many people and educational systems have incorporated self awareness on their curriculum. Therefore, by default of being a student or member of a community an individual is subjected to involuntary self improvement program. If the decision to pursue self improvement was entirely left to an individual, then a number of hindrances are likely to be experienced.
Many people have a tendency of thinking that self-improvement efforts is other people’s responsibility instead of their own. When unpleasant circumstances prevail up on the life of individuals they tend to push the blame to others for causing misfortunes and hardships. Consequently, any self-improvement plan is going to realize substantial results only if the affected party appreciates the facts that transformation will only come from him and his ability to improve the state of affairs. Self-improvement plans of whatever nature emanates from within the affected party.
Once the urge to achieve an improvement in personality or any other aspect of life has been realized, then the following steps will be easy. This is only possible when there is an amicable plan. An optimum self improvement plan should spring out from an individual’s understanding of the particular areas which needs improvement. The most common areas of life where people may desire improvement includes career, health, relationships, finances among many others. If the focus is broken down in to the categories listed below, then alignment and focus of the plan would be made more precise.
Classification of areas which need improvement should only serve as a blueprint such that a room for adjustments is allowed. It is of paramount importance to realize this because there is no definite plan of activities. The conditions in life are dynamic and thus unpredictability of happenings in life cannot be avoided. The challenges facing execution of self improvement call for patience and perseverance. The unexpected hardships of life should not form the basis for surrendering the plan.
Moreover, it is note worth that the success of any self-improvement plans depends on the availability of support from people around the subject person. Friends, family and loved ones have a vital role to play because they can easily push their person forwards incase discouragement comes up. Although it has been mentioned earlier that self-improvement success depends on the affected party, the role others is equally important. The masterminds of the plan must underscore the fact that all people are interdependent.
Being a hard task it is, self improvement is important in boosting self esteem and morale only if the little gains are appreciated. Every milestone however little it may be must be perceived as a step on the right direction. When the little gains appreciate it furthers the philosophy of personality improvement. It offers an opportunity of appreciating the fact that no one was born with the ability to do everything.
As a matter of fact, there is at least something that must be discovered in life by every individual. Achievement is not an issue of luck but rather dedication, hard work and ability to overcome the obstacles. The most accomplished persons are those who became successful not by luck but by commitment to self-improvement plans. These are the individuals who wiling to go an extra mile without fearing disappointments which punctuate self-improvement efforts. They believe in their personalities and ability enhances full potential.
According to McGee, the notable success off self-help depends on the fact that the participants seamlessly merge two conflicting aspirations. That is the financial or general public outlook and the inner transcendence. We are living in an era characterized by dynamic cultural orientations. The culture of the world now is not the same as what we once knew. There is a mighty power of influence cutting through the perceptions the people. This power is in the name of reality. The majority of this reality is distributed in the television network. The reality shows as they have come to be known are targeting all sectors of life. They imprison the viewers by depicting the crystal clear intriguing, annoying and downright irresponsible behavior which can be easily committed by human beings. In such realities, actual stories are created so as to develop a new direction of thinking and ultimately change the behavior. The makeover culture brought about by Reality TV has generated a new frontier in the creation of new behaviors geared at self-improvement. There is no longer an absolute benchmark of what is real. The standards set by the shows are dynamic and thus human behavior is continually reviewed to suit the latest trends.
The obvious fact about these reality shows is the undying urge to get what we do not have and experiencing an exciting end. The past coupled of years have witnessed an increase in lifestyle television. A significant element of lifestyle programming has been the introduction of makeover format which promotes a change in garden, offices, habits, clothing and facial/bodily features. The outstanding feature of these make over formats is the radical makeover which takes the concept of business development in self-improvement. A good example of this case is cosmetic surgery which has continued to gain popularity among the youth. This is an offer to restructure anatomy through performance of medical procedures. This has happened because in consumer culture, the self is inextricably connected with the body. This means that there is no clear cut between the body and the self. As a result, a move to enhance self-improvement should be backed by the attractive facial appearance (Heyes 2007, p. 19). Ideologically and numerically, women are perceived as the basic objects of beautification and body improvements.
The desirable cultural ramification of reality television programs surrounds the impact on human behavior. The pessimistic perspective of this programs depict that the shows are doing nothing but self-degradation. For many years, women have had books and magazines which reveal what entails to be a perfect, beautiful woman. Such article had no impact on self help and self improvement. The reality shows have helped in revealing the actual lifestyles of the models featured in the magazines. Some are involved in drug abuse while others abstain from eating so as to cut excess weight. Others loose weight by having sleepless nights characterized by stress. The dimension brought about by reality shows has completely altered the way in which life is viewed. Life is now evaluated in terms of trials, tribulations, failures and successes. This is a notable shift in conservative cultural beliefs which believed otherwise. Either we deny or accept it the impact of Reality TV is having an enormous impact on the lives of many (Tan, Tan & Gibson 2003, p. 29).
Despite gaining popularity, self-help culture has resulted in boundary disputes with other disciplines and approaches towards character formation. This is because there are conventional means which have been believed to shape humanity. Some authors have objected classification of their works as ‘self-help’ because of this drawback. However, others like positive psychology want to be connected to self-help band wagon. The main aim of positive psychology is to become a reliable link between ivory tower and Main Street. That is to say it makes a connection between academic prowess and the glamour surrounding self-improvement efforts. The main aim of such literary works is to establish a refined self-improvement genre through deliberate increase in scientifically acceptable research and carefully selected models. These have resulted in focus and methodologies specialization towards several subfields of self-improvement like personal effectiveness, positive psychology and the overall qualitative personal growth.
As a matter of fact these attempts to increase the effectiveness of self-help are some how misguided. Most of the theories formulated from makeover programs and geared towards self improvement are not necessarily practical. As an illustration, there is no living proof that the twelve-step program of reducing alcohol dependence is superior to any other. On the same school of thought, there is no evidence that there is something about working together that is curative. For example, smoking increases the rate of deaths by 1.6 while social segregation does that by 2.0, meaning that a self-help group like Alcoholics Anonymous should be added.
The efficacy of self-help or self-improvement is a factor of both the source and the receiver. When the two parties share similar opinions there is no doubt that the process of self-improvement through character formation is going to be effective.
The impact of self-help is continually intensifying. There is various points view concerning the efficacy of self-help programs. While others argue that the programs are yielding positive results others dismiss it as a mere psychological satisfaction with no outstanding impact. In her book, McGee shows a country depending so much on self-help culture for reference to how life should be in a competitive and dynamic work world. The book reveals how the majority of Americans are trapped in vicious cycle of self-invention and struggles as they aspire to stay competitive in a rapidly changing cultural setting. The book continues to reveal the undying commitment to self-improvement. There are several books and other media channels at the disposal of citizen to assist in enhancing self-improvement (McGee 2005, p. 13).
There is enough evidence to reveal that make over industry is rapidly growing. The unlimited sea of human wants yields various desires which cannot be satisfied by the present self-improvement tools. Resolutions and the need to do better are the main components of everyone’s diary. That is the reason why the notion of makeover and self improvement, of transforming oneself in some ideal manner has continued to have profound appeal. There no one who is able to resist change when confronted with a reflection of mundane existence. Once the train of transformation has started, there is no looking back. The person who has realized a transformation through an elaborate makeover will be more than willing to extend the same spirit to others aspects of life which need makeover. If an opportunity is given to individuals, there would be hardly anyone willing to accept programs leading to becoming richer, more punctual, healthier, thinner or more organized. However, the reality cannot allow such decisions to be made. Consequently, everyone is always striving to stay at par with standards set by reality shows.
Over the past few years, the perception of what entails realistic ambition has changed drastically. The books and televisions programs are released with attractive titles. At a first glance these forms of medium promise good things which would not have been considered before. At the first sight we get convinced that the forms of media are going to have revolutionary impact on our lives. As a result a culture with little limits is developed. The internet, books, magazines and televisions shows promise that they have the ability of showing what needs how things are done, ways of better living and becoming a fulfilled person. Nearly all of the breakfast shows in the television contains some bit of self-improvement. On the internet as well, a person needs to spend a few minutes searching and everything right from diet to launching presidential campaign will be found. A little effort is required for the public to get anything they want. However this information is mere theory because the actual details of achieving things like fitness, financial stability and beauty are not such easy. One interesting thing about self-help is it steady growth despite economic challenges. It is estimated that the self-help industry is worth more than 10 billion US dollars in the United States and 122 million US dollars in Britain in the last five years. The makeover has cut itself a niche in shaping cultural standards of the world. The improvements in makeover are amplified in the advertisements, cinema newspapers and magazines.
In conclusion, it must be noted that the aspects of self-improvement cannot be delineated from others subsectors of life. The mindsets of a population are controlled by their psychological and cultural tenets. Therefore the impact of psychological and cultural settings cannot be neglected in the assessment of makeover’s efficacy in self-improvement. The areas where there is a rampant increase on self-help programs backed by extreme makeover are characterized by a population with receptive psychological and cultural setting.
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