MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE
The problem with focusing on constant self-optimization is that it is a process without end. We can never say we've reached the full version of ourselves. We may feel that we are not (and can never be) good enough. We're never allowed to be happy and satisfied.
Also, it's not that you shouldn't become your best self, but the concern is that the self-help craze, with the drive to optimize yourself all the time, has become pathological.
In a way, depression is our way of reacting, withdrawing, and possibly metaphorically recharging our batteries.
There's so much pressure in modern society to perform and be productive, to be efficient, that we don't get time to recharge. This leads to sadness and loss of energy.
We should stop trying to adjust people to circumstances that are not worth being adjusted to. If people suffer from stress in an organization, try to look at how work is organized and change it, instead of referring them to something like stress coaching, or psychotherapies or mindfulness exercises that are really just treating symptoms.
These sensitive, intelligent, resourceful people should be out changing the world, not just sitting in therapy rooms trying to improve themselves.
In the self-help world, it is very common to say that you need to work on yourself before you can work on the world. It's not a stupid thing to say.
But, people are becoming too self-absorbed, looking only on themselves and forgetting to take an interest in the people around them. We actually need people who are brave enough also to take an interest in the broader structure.
We're obsessed with being ourselves, being authentic, being unique. This is sad because what if you find that you are just the average, boring, mean person.
It's better to emulate someone you look up to. If in doubt, ask what your role model would do.
The following exercise has been demonstrated to help revive your self-esteem after it sustained a blow: Make a list of qualities you have that are meaningful in the specific context. For example, if you got rejected by your date, list qualities that make you a good relationship prospect. Then choose one of the items on your list and write a brief essay (one to two paragraphs) about why the quality is valuable and likely to be appreciated by other people in the future. Do the exercise every day for a week or whenever you need a self-esteem boost.