The Ultimate Guide to Self-Actualization (Beyond the Self-Improvement Grind)

So, Self-Improvement Didn’t Make You Happy?

Alina | Psychodynamic Psychology
27 min readFeb 25, 2022
Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash

Many people — maybe also you — start the new year, the new month, or the new day with the intention to become better, more productive, efficient, calm, focused, happy. You aim for more clarity — who has not asked themselves at some point: “What am I supposed to do with my life?”

And wanting to move forward, to grow, as we will see is a very normal healthy part of being human. So then you try a bunch of things. Let that be minimalism, bullet proof coffee, journaling, all sorts of meditation, cold showers, and every possible variation of a 4am morning routine. And I can imagine that there are actually some positive outcomes of that self-improvement grind. Maybe you will finally improve your health, get better grades, or the promotion you wanted to.

But what happens to many — and all the recent videos about “toxic self-help”, “why self-improvement will ruin your life” or “quit hustle culture” attest to that — is that the self-improvement grind doesn’t always deliver on the promise of the optimised life. Or even if it does, people still end up asking themselves: “I do everything I should do. Why do I not feel happier?”