Try to be better than yourself.
I used to remark that all those self help books began with Chapter Two. Chapter Two is entitled "You can have whatever you want out of life if you really want it" or something similar. Chapter One, which isn't in the book, says "You can know yourself well enough to know what you want out of life." If you don't know what you want from life all those self help books are useless. Eventually some books were written which addressed the topic.
I also used to think that the purpose of improving myself was for other people, due in part to my life as an entertainer where how I appeared to others was crucial to my work.
Lately however I have learned to turn the other cheek on myself and find the flaws, my failings as a human being and the ways in which I don't come up to my own standards. The smack on the cheek comes because we aren't as aware as we ought to be about the things that cause us to drop from those standards. We go through a wrong door and wonder how we got where we did. We make choices without considering the consequences. We respond impulsively and not from thought. We simply may be fooled by something or someone. We do dumb things and think we will get away with them.
Maybe some people will spend their whole lives and never take stock of themselves. But I think those people will live worthless, wasted lives, as a life lived in a pit of shame and self disrespect never noticing it. Pity them.
Only the man or woman who is willing to look at themselves with stern objectivity can measure aright the person they see and thus compare with it the person they could be. To change, to improve, to become better than yourself is a noble task for the benefit of yourself. As Janis Joplin said "Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got."
Along the rocky road of existence stumbling is inevitable, but it won't matter if the steps you take are sincere: not acquiescing to the wrong, not answering folly with folly, avoiding immoral circumstances and people, testing every thought and theory against the touchstone of your own standard, seeing the hills and valleys of your life as only part of the journey, approving of yourself and congratulating yourself for every victory over selfishness. "In the way of righteousness is life." (Proverbs 12:28)
It's a simple journey, one step at a time. But the destination is a worthy life.
DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up