What would your answer be if I were to ask you: ‘Do you like yourself? Are you happy being who you are?’ Would you be able to put your feelings into words, or would you just end up wanting to run away? Do you feel really good about yourself? Or are you constantly trying to hide the real you from the world, worried that if people really got to know you they would find some fault and reject you? Is your self-acceptance dependant on what you fear others might think of you?
Well the news is all good. It is okay to be you. In fact, it is wonderful to be you! You were put on this earth to be the person you truly are. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone, and you certainly have nothing to be ashamed of. You CAN learn to accept and love yourself just as you are. Once you understand this and start living your life as if it is absolutely amazing to be the unique and beautiful person you are, then you feel free to be even greater and grow to be the person you truly want to be – on your own terms and in your own way. As you experience the warmth of self acceptance you will find you blossom and grow in ways you never believed possible.
Below are seven ways you can begin to make self-acceptance a reality in your life and finally become all you are meant to be, free from self doubt and fear and living with renewed lightness and joy.
* Accept the wonderful person you truly are
You are a person of infinite worth and value, just because you exist. You don’t have to spend all your energy trying to gain acceptance from everyone else. Once you accept yourself and live out your uniqueness, others will feel better about you anyway! Spend some time getting to know yourself in a deeper way – discover your strengths, your values, your interest and passions – all the things that help to make you who you are and give your life a sense of meaning and purpose.
* Stop beating yourself up
Self-criticism is paralysing, making it difficult to take decisive and positive action. Self-hatred drains the joy from life and makes everything seem bleak and pointless. Forgiving yourself for your past mistakes (real or imagined) allows you to leave the past behind and begin enjoying the present. Once you learn to live in the here and now in an authentic and engaged way, you can start looking to the future with renewed hope and enthusiasm. Once you stop being so hard on yourself you will free up an enormous amount of energy to start living and enjoying life in a deeper and more meaningful way.
* Take responsibility for yourself
Take responsibility for your own actions as well as for your own happiness. Being ‘perfect’ isn’t achievable, so stop measuring yourself against an impossible standard. This doesn’t mean that you become complacent and just do as you like regardless of the consequences. What it does mean is that you do the best you can, to the best of your ability, and know that that is enough. Once you know that failing isn’t the end of the world you can risk not getting it right all the time and learn from your mistakes and get it better next time. You also free yourself from the tyranny of constantly wondering what ‘they’ might think of your efforts.
* Respect yourself and others
No-one else can do the job of being you. No-one else can fulfil your purpose but you. Become committed to your own best good. Once you know how to love yourself you will be able to truly love and care for others from a heart that is full, expressing a self that is complete. Accepting and loving yourself doesn’t mean living as if no-one else matters. When you realise that you are worthwhile then you come to know that others are too and you show them the respect and consideration that you crave fro yourself.
* Be kind to yourself and others
Be kind to yourself. Nurture and care for yourself as you would your best friend or closest family member. Look after yourself as you would your most precious possession. Eat well, exercise, challenge yourself, allow yourself rest and relaxation, and give yourself permission to enjoy being you. Realising your own worth and also considering the wellbeing of those around you starts to take the focus off all the things you might think are wrong with you or your life. Reaching out to people because you truly care brings such different results from always trying to please people so they will like you.
* Celebrate being you
Be happy to be who you are – take delight in your existence. Be grateful for each day you are alive. Give yourself credit for who you are and enjoy your achievements along the way. Learning to be proud of yourself isn’t arrogant or big-headed. It just means being able to tap into the pleasure that comes from working from your own strengths, expressing your own values and exercising your own abilities. Learning contentment opens you up to experiencing joy.
* Live with an open heart
Be open to life’s possibilities. Philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said ‘Trust yourself, then you will know how to live’. By learning to trust in your own instincts and relying on your own strengths and abilities you will be able to more readily respond to life’s opportunities, knowing that you are living in an authentic way. Being true to yourself will make your life choices clearer and help you to realise your promise and potential. You have the choice to move away from the messages you carry inside that tell you that you aren’t good enough and make the decision to love yourself. Start today to live your best life, happy and confident to be you.
© Copyright: Marian Kerr, Contemplate Life Coaching, 2009. All Rights Reserved