I'm probably not the best person to answer this, but since I can relate to it, maybe my thoughts will make some sense.Something I've been struggling with lately (maybe grappling is a better word) is the proper amount of effort needed to nurture and support a self-improvement initiative. When the motivation to improve one's self becomes so strong, it can turn into shame, thinking that there's something wrong with one's current state of being. The shame only adds layers of problems, especially when it starts to spiral as the person starts to feel ashamed about being ashamed. The net effect is the creation of an internal environment where self-help becomes even more difficult because your mind is occupied with shame, and because you feel worse (ashamed, uncomfortable, worried, and self-conscious) than when you embarked on the journey. It's these qualities, I believe, that are the cause of discomfort in the first place.
Is there a balance between accepting one's self as you already are but still setting a course to change who you are? Are these two aims contradictory or reconcilable? What practical techniques could a person employ to strike this balance?
It may be minor, but I draw a distinction between self help and self improvement. To me, self improvement is when I try to find ways I could be a better person by either improving what I already see as good things, or by trying to do things that will bring me closer to being who/what I think I want to be. Self help on the other hand I see as an attempt to fix things that I've recognized as problems or undesirable aspects of myself that I have accepted as things that are not part of who/what I want to be.
To me, the important part is to know why I want to make the change and envision how it will either improve me or help fix whats broken. Once I can do that, it becomes a lot easier to focus on doing things to achieve those goals.
As for shame and guilt, this may or may not be more type specific, but I find talking about it to be the best (and sometimes only) way to resolve those feelings when I have them. If I don't feel comfortable talking about something with anyone, then another alternative I sometimes use is to write a personal journal that does not go anywhere (just a text file on my pc).