Can personal development be bad?

I am very familiar with the feeling of not being enough. Like I am supposed to be way further with my life but I just don’t seem to know where/what that further is. But the thing is I have gotten myself into a cycle that is horrible for me.  Here is where I tell you the negative aspect of personal development. This is not to say that it is always bad and you shouldn’t work on yourself. This is to say that you have to watch out for your limits.

Personal development is everywhere. Social media is filled with it. There are blogs, youtube channels and all of the other platforms for it. Thousands of books, millions of success stories and often only one side, the pretty side, is visible. And let’s be real here even if people also tell about the negative things they had to overcome to be where they are now, we often only listen to the pretty little tales don’t we?

I have for a pretty long time felt like I am not enough, like I am already 21 (note the sarcasm) why aren’t I like that one person who invented that cool thing when he was 15. Or why am I not owning my own business like that other young adult? And then on top of this, I would read self-help books, or how to be successful books and blogs and all I could get my hands on. And this was bad. Not because the sources are bad or because what they say would be untrue, but because I was in the state of mind where all that I read I would see as proof that I was not good enough.  And that is not what personal development is about.

Personal development is a process where you see what you aren’t that good at and make it better, with small steps. While being proud and happy of who you are at this moment. You aren’t supposed to feel like shit and be demotivated to work, just because you feel like there is always another obstacle or that you are always 3 steps behind that other success story.

If you feel like I have for a while. Close the blog, book or social media page you are looking at and just come back to who and where you are. Don’t know what you want to do? That is fine, just do things you are doing as well as you can. Take opportunities that come your way and take it one step at a time.

Do not read the books in order to feel bad about who you are at this moment. Read them as a motivational tool, to learn about new people and new things. And if you feel like you just don’t get that positive feeling from reading them right now, then don’t read them for a while. It is alright to take a personal development research pause once in a while. Just like you take pauses from social media. That doesn’t mean you are giving up, and please don’t. Because like everything in life, this is a journey with a lot of work as well as rest.

I hope my thoughts came across clearly and I wish all of you a great rest of the week.


15 thoughts on “Can personal development be bad?

  1. I think, the reason we feel not good enough, overwhelmed and unhappy with ourselves is because we rushed. We compare where success people are with where we are right now. And that’s unfair…

    That’s unfair to ourselves because we are we. Not them. We have our own pace. And so are they.

    So I agree with you Alisa. We need rest as much as we need progress. Heck, this blog title sums it all. The thing we need the most: “The Balanced Life”

    Good job for the wonderful post, Alisa 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Alisa, great post! Very thoughts-provoking.. because yes… everything has some drawbacks, minuses…

    Yes, it does feel sometimes like we are not good enough but I think personal development is about learning new skills and knowledge, and starting to believe in ourselves more too, becoming more confident while learning about and accepting or working on our weaknesses, and focusing on our strengths. It’s difficult to compare ourselves with others and always just get motivated and inspired. I think we, human beings, have tendency to think negatively but it’s important to work on it. It is possible to create new habits, new ways of thinking, change attitude and mindset. Doing what you love is one of the best ways to achieving that.

    If you are interested and have a moment please have a look at my blog. I write about positive psychology and personal growth. My new blog post is here:

    Aggie 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Alisa!

    I was just discussing this issue in response to a personal development blog a few days ago, so I am so glad you wrote about it. It is so common for people to feel inadequate when pursuing personal development. That is not the intent, but I know from persona experience it does happen. But if you think about it, a person can feel inadequate watching almost anything, because the feeling of not being good enough is about what’s going on inside. The external things are just triggers that ignite thoughts that already exist.

    The stories that come from personal development thought leaders are meant to inspire us, not make us feel less than. I do agree that taking a break from personal development media/resources is a good idea if someone starts to feel overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy. However, in addition to taking a break, it is also beneficial to take inventory of your own strengths and accomplishments and start to visualize how those attributes can lead to success in one’s own life. Thinking of what you are grateful for is also helpful. Recognizing what we have to offer and being grateful for what we have puts us in a place to be happy for those who have experienced great success rather than envious or sad because we haven’t gotten there yet.

    Not feeling good enough is usually a result of focusing on what we don’t have and not putting enough of a spotlight on what we do. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, victories and adversity. When we focus on someone else’s success, we discount what it took for them to get there, which is the part that is meant to inspire and motivate us. Most personal development leaders are very transparent about where they began and the shortcomings they had before succeeding. If we take inventory of those weaknesses, hurdles, and setbacks, we will see they are really not much different from us, and might even be weak in some areas we are strong. That should give us hope.

    You really hit on an important area here Alisa. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful post so people can talk about this and hopefully move past any feelings of inadequacy and get the full benefit of all the personal development resources available. Let’s slow down and enjoy the journey and not feel so much pressure to measure up!



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for a great comment. It gives me a lot of happiness when there is a conversation that starts form my posts. You are absolutely right about all that you said. In order to have a “good” personal development journey we should really mostly look on the inside and not compare ourselves to others. Sadly this is very hard to do. But that is also kind of my point. We look up to so many people to give us motivation to work hard and hustle and win life and really in the end the only one who can motivate or force (sometimes that’s what it needs) is ourselves. And sadly we can’t always see that if we only listent to motivational speakers and want a “magic” solution. Again thank you so much for your comment and I will be sure to check out your blog and the post you mentioned above. -Alisa

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great points again Alisa. We definitely should not underestimate the value and power of looking inside ourselves and not just externally.

    I too enjoy when posts lead to interesting discussions! There are a lot of smart people out there and I think we can all learn and grow from one another.

    Thanks again for the wonderful post and I look forward to reading more from you! 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  5. The idea and the growth of personal development amplifies the insecurities which then feeds back into personal development.
    But if taken into consideration with improving yourself from your past oppose to the ones around you, you’ll always feel sufficient enough and naturally want to work towards your potential and self-actualization.
    Good post nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment! I appreciate it a lot 🙂 You are right 🙂 But it does take quite a lot of insight to be in that stage, that is why I posted this. Because I have gone through the struggle myself, where I look up to other people and then hate myself for not being them. And that is not a good place to start working on self-actualization.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Life is not about being perfect or not showing any weaknesses, it’s about learning to handle the occasional storms and being happy in the present moment

    Liked by 1 person

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