This blog is full of advice: don't give up, persist, keep learning and striving. And I believe this advice—if I didn't believe it wouldn't write it. But sometimes, doubt creeps in. Why am I doing this? Why do I bother? I don't have many readers. I hope to someday, but I don't have them now. I write consistently, and take observations from my own life and others' successes and failures and turn them into something useful for you.
With little audience and no recognition, why do I continue? Because from time to time, I reflect on my own mistakes in dating and relationships and I think of how difficult, painful—but to some extent avoidable—they were. And I see others making those same mistakes, following very familiar patterns, and I want to shout "Hey, don't do that! There's a better way to handle this!" And then I remember the reason why I write: to impart some small kernels of wisdom or guidance to others so they can have a better life.
There's no way to go through life without making mistakes, big ones. No matter how much you read this blog and other sources, you're going to make them regularly. And of course it's always easier to see others' mistakes than your own, and to offer good advice. It's hard to give yourself good advice, and harder still to follow it.
Make your life better, right now
But with all this in mind, there are steps you can take, things you can do to make life better right now: more meaningful, less painful, more productive. You can't avoid pain or mistakes, but you can shift the odds a little in your favor. In the end, that's all self improvement advice can do. I can't do the work for you, nor magically know how to solve your unique challenges. It can only offer some tools, angles, approaches that try to make life a touch better for you and people you care about.
So even on my least optimistic days, when I question why I bother writing material that few people read, I remember something I fumbled at age 26, and think "if only I had known..." By sharing my experience, I hope to spare others some of the headaches I created for myself.
To you, dear reader, I hope you will gain some benefit from my writing, take what's useful of the advice and discard the rest, and put it into practice for a better life.
Happy New Year.