There are people who believe that personal development advice is either nonsense, irrelevant, or unnecessary.
If that’s you, no judgment . . . and also good on you for being open-minded to read this article anyway! If it’s not you, chances are that means two things: first, that you are interested in personal development, and second, that you’ve encountered people who don’t subscribe to it.
The point is, personal development advice can get a bad rap if not practiced with awareness and extreme care because it could mean the difference between self-love and self-loathing.
And because the process of evolving can get tricky and be at times uncomfortable, this article will share tips and practices to help you avoid self development traps!
So if you DO want to:
- Work on being a better person without falling into the trap of never feeling good enough
- Devote your attention to improving your future self without falling into the trap of losing sight of the amazing person you already are in this present moment
- Change your attitude to be more positive without falling into the trap of toxic positivity
… then keep reading for our no-nonsense personal development advice about what NOT TO DO.
Avoid These 10 Personal Development Traps:
Read on for the ten DONT’S to avoid in your personal development journey.
1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Here’s an example to understand this quote.
Let’s say you started working out and you’re beaming at yourself in front of the mirror feeling strong, filled with so much contentment and pride.
Then, an Instagram alert catches your eye on your phone. It’s from a fitness model you’ve followed on your own fitness journey and suddenly you feel your whole mood shift. You start thinking, “She’s still stronger than I am. She’s got abs and I don’t.” And so on and so forth.
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“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
When you were comparing yourself to yourself in the mirror, you felt joy. When you started comparing yourself to the fitness model, that joy was stolen from you.
When we compare ourselves to what others have, or simply how they are, it can make us feel inadequate, deflated, and unworthy of happiness. It robs us of feeling grateful for how far we’ve come on our own. But here’s the thing.
Self-development requires introspection; how can you be looking within if you’re too busy looking at everyone else outside?
What do self-esteem, self-care, and self-development have in common? They all start with SELF! When you think about it like that, doesn’t it seem kind of silly to use someone else as your benchmark for self-love anyway?
2. Don’t Be Anti-Social
Did you know hermit crabs are small crustaceans that lack a shell and rely on community as they must “borrow” one from another animal such as a snail? Well, now you do!
There are several reasons for sharing that fun, but seemingly unrelated fact with you.
Firstly, a self-development journey can leave us feeling vulnerable and exposed, just like a hermit crab as it looks for a home in a new shell.
Secondly, on a self-development journey, there are going to be times where we want to be a hermit, metaphorically, and to isolate ourselves to process our emotions. Real hermits also do this; they recognize their need for either seclusion or social rest.
But, ironically, even though they’re called hermits, they crave social connection! In their native habitat they form colonies of 100 or more and they help each other.
For example, hermit crabs will lift each other up, literally! They will crawl on each other’s backs to get to a higher place as needed. And there it is – the point of all this hermit crab talk . . .
As humans, when we are changing, evolving, or feeling downright ”crabby”, it can be easy to retreat into our shell. While this is healthy and natural, too much isolation is not. Humans, like hermits, are social creatures and we need social connection. We need each other!
So remember, as you are working through growing pains in your self-development journey, don’t be anti-social! Make sure you ask for help, support, and for others to lift you up by having your back when you’re feeling down.
3. Don’t Have Expectations
The only thing any of us know is that we don’t know anything for sure. So how can we expect anything of anyone if we don’t know anything for sure?
Not having expectations means we allow others and ourselves to be who we fully are wherever we are on our self-development journey. It means we understand everyone is at a different level of awareness; we all have different thoughts, feelings and experiences.
When we release our need for control, answers or results from others, we can put that energy back into ourselves. We are only responsible for managing our own feelings and moods regardless of what anyone else did or didn’t do.
Release the expectation you need to be a certain way, or anyone else needs to be a certain way, and then watch stress, anxiety and angst melt away!
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4. Don’t Stay at Your Pity Party for Too Long
It’s your pity party and you can cry if you want to. It is good that you’re feeling your feels on your self-development journey. But like the party game Twister, the longer you participate, the more tied up in knots you will get!
Playing with too much anger, sadness, and fear can suck you into emotional quicksand; the deeper you go the more you may not be able to control the things you say or do, or be able to pull yourself back out!
The coolest party trick when it comes to this self-development “DON’T” is learning how to move through the feeling of being stuck in that position.
Awareness is the best gift you can give yourself to do just that. The point of identifying your negative feelings isn’t so you can beat yourself up. It’s so you can learn what those feelings are trying to tell you about your boundaries, desires or needs.
And once you simply acknowledge the negative feelings, you can focus on beating the piñata up instead!
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5. Don’t Become Paralyzed Because Your Ego Over-Analyzed
Whenever we are on a path of personal development or changing who we currently are into who we want to be, our ego will do everything in its power to convince us not to. Because sadly, it thinks it’s going to die if we change.
So, your ego might sound like this:
- There are too many resources about self development, so don’t pick any
- You’ll need forever to understand all this information about personal development, so don’t even start
- You’re already an adult and developed, so why bother now
That voice might be speaking so loudly you feel like a deer stuck in headlights listening to it. But, you don’t have to believe it.
Even if you are unsure of the logistical, tangible tasks that need to be done – what books to read, what podcast to listen to, what coach to talk to, etc. – there is one step that will always be right and move you forward when your ego is overanalyzing; silence it with love.
The coolest self-development “DON’T” party-trick is learning how to move through the feeling of being stuck in that position.
Tell it you love it, thank it for trying to protect you, keep you safe and alive. Explain that you appreciate everything it’s done for you and that you promise you still need it moving forward!
Now, talking to an imaginary voice in your head may sound crazy, but what would be even more wild is you staying the same.
6. Don’t Be a Stone Wall
On a personal development journey, there are going to be some rocky times and it’s easy to turn to stone when they happen. Don’t put up an emotional wall.
The cornerstone of self-development is using pain as a stepping stone to gain more clarity.
You have to feel to heal.
You have to let your feelings flow to grow.
The more permission you give yourself to break into a million pebbles, the greater you will gravel at how rock solid your internal foundation is when you put yourself back together!
7. Don’t Be That Jealous Person
In the song “Pretty Girl Rock” by Keri Hilson, she says, “Get yourself together, don’t hate. Jealousy is the ugliest trait.”
Key words… “Get yourself together.”
Being envious of someone else means they’re triggering something within you that you are not happy about. Therefore, jealousy has nothing to do with the other person, and everything to do with you.
Jealousy is a self-development trap because it makes you believe you are not accountable for your own feelings, but rather someone else is responsible for making you feel that way.
The real work in self-development is understanding that no one can make you feel any type of way without your consent; you are in complete control about choosing how you react.
8. Don’t Be Excessive
When you’re on a self-development journey, you can get really ambitious about learning. You can get a certain hunger for personal development advice so you will consume various books, podcasts, videos, movies and more! That’s not the trap.
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The self-development trap is not having balance. To avoid this trap, you want to find the sweet spot between not digesting any personal development content and not being gluttonous by feeding your brain so much information that it gets the “itis” and needs a nap.
When we are taking in a lot of new ideas, inspiration and innovative concepts, it’s important to integrate! Otherwise, things are going to go in one ear and right out the other without you ever having the chance to practically apply it.
Don’t be like the tree in the forest where no one knows if it made a sound.
In other words; if you read all the self-development material, but you didn’t remember any of the self-development material, did you ever actually self-develop?
9. Don’t Race to an Invisible Finish Line
NEWS FLASH! There is no self-development/success finish line. There is no one waiting with a trophy; you racing against yourself to be a better person in the marathon of life is the prize!
Sure, you have goals and dreams and desired dates to accomplish them. You should!
But what you shouldn’t have is a bar set so high it only creates self-esteem hurdles on your personal-development track if you don’t clear them when you expected to (refer back to #3: Don’t Have Expectations.)
A self-development journey is one step at a time over your lifetime. There is no need to run yourself in circles.
10. Don’t Lose Focus
Unfocused energy can wreak havoc on your personal development journey!
It could mean the difference between spending time scrolling on Tik Tok or spending time writing in a journal and spending money online or doing self-introspection about why you’re feeling like you aren’t valuable.
The self-development trap is that everyone and everything is constantly competing for your attention and it feels good!
There is the instant gratification of getting a package from Amazon prime. There is the instant gratification of laughing at that funny YouTube cat video. There is that instant gratification of your ego getting stroked when someone likes your latest post.
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Self-development isn’t instant gratification. Self-development requires extreme awareness, focus and energy to produce results over time.
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The Best Personal Development Advice
The best personal development advice we can give you is to do what’s best for YOU!
And, we hope if you take our advice about avoiding these ten common self-development traps people fall into, that you will inevitably fall in love with yourself even more too!
Bonus piece of advice: smiling is one of the quickest ways to self-develop! 🙂
What personal development advice have you found most useful on your journey? Please share in the comments below so we can all grow and thrive. We love hearing from you.