Why seeking to improve isn’t really right.

by Zoe A. Choo

In the midst of growing up, well, during my adolescences, I repeatedly seek to improve myself. I would ask my friends routinely on what should I improve about myself. I was always very cautious, or in anxiety. I would call myself quite a perfectionist and perpetually fear if I’d look bad or whether I am seemingly fantastic enough.

Now, growth is a natural part of life. We either grow, or begin to wither away – just like plants. Yet, there was something wrong with my obsession to be better (oh the irony). Here’s why.


Just that. I was unable to accept myself – how I looked, how I was. Sometimes, I look into the mirror and I did not just hate, but I was afraid of what I was looking at. “How did I get this way?” I would wonder. Despite making sure I’ve made it seem like I’ve had it all together, I was a complete wreck. I thought I was pathetic.

Finally when I could accept myself, I accepted and believed in the lies my parents said to me out of their hurt and anger, and the self-condemning lies I told myself. Those self-condemning lies I told myself are also the negative labels society can stamp upon us. As much as we can blame society for all our mental torment, we are altogether society. I accepted that I belonged no where and I believed no one truly loved me for me. I continued to live in a cycle of misery – being unable to accept myself and then accepting I was simply rotten and then not accepting myself for being like this again and then again until God led me back into His arms.

Until we know who we are, what we are meant to do, what we are living for, until we realise we have a God who loves us more than anything else in this world, even if our parents have abandoned us, even if the world rejects us, we have a God who loves us despite all the wrongs we have done, or how ugly we feel, He loves us. Until we know that, we are unable to ever truly be better, to ever truly be satisfied. 

It was that I knew I am His child, that all that I went through was for a greater purpose, that I truly became me. And where I am today, it is all because of His love and grace.