Lately, I've been contemplating the point at which wanting better becomes detrimental. While I don't have a foolproof formula to identify that point, I have identified three situations that illustrate it.
The first is very straightforward. It's destructive when a person wants better simply to feel like they're winning a competition with their peers, or worse, wants better because it's what society dictates they should want or lastly, uses better to substitute for a deficiency elsewhere in their lives. I don't think I need to go into too much more detail here because pop culture is laden with examples.
The second is when what's technically better goes against what's intuitively right. The best illustration I have of this comes from the novel I'm currently reading, Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit
When the population of any species outstrips its food resources, that population declines until it's once again in balance with its resources. Mother Culture says that humans should be exempt from that process, so when she finds a population that has outstripped its resources, she rushes in food from the outside, thus making it a certainty that there will be even more of them to starve in the next generation. Because the population is never allowed to decline to the point at which it can be supported by its own resources, famine becomes a chronic feature of their lives.What this is saying philosophically it's better to let people starve because it's nature's way of realigning the population with what it's able to provide for. That by trying to help, we're actually not only prolonging the inevitable, but also making it worse. That it's better to let everything take care of itself. But it comes at the expensive of human lives. Furthermore, it goes against most of our instincts to let others suffer when many of us are living in excess by some standards. So, where do we draw the line for what's better in this situation??
And in the broader scheme, the only way to keep from taking better too far is by making a personal decision about what's best for you.