Accept who you are - be happy with THAT person.
Easy? Not at all.
Worth it? Without question.
When should you do it? NOW
If you are constantly beating yourself up - treating yourself worse than you'd treat a stranger that you were annoyed with - you will never be able to accept yourself.
Are there things you may want to change about yourself? The answer to that, if you're being honest, is an unqualified YES. There are times where we NEED to be self-critical, to call ourselves out on our messes and our mess-ups, but that doesn't have to be a 24 x 7 state of mind.
Richard Carlson, Ph. D authored the book "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's All Small Stuff" in 1997. His premise? People must face minor irritants throughout their lives, but if you let the small stuff get to you and knock you off your game, how would you ever deal with the bigger, life-changing "stuff" that comes up in our perfectly imperfect human lives?
Celebrate Your Strengths
Let's begin by learning to celebrate our strengths. Everyone walking the planet is good at something. Maybe it's your talent for talking people down when their emotions get the better of them. Maybe it's your ability to pour all your love and caring into the meals you cook, providing food for the soul as well as the body.
Are you one of those verbally talented folks that can talk anyone into (or out of) anything? Some folks would say that you could "talk the birds out of the trees." That's a skill you should be proud of!
When you're the one people turn to and ask for a "plain English" translation of a complicated instructional manual, you've got a strength that should be celebrated.
People come to you because of your talent. Just because an activity or a skill comes easily to you doesn't mean it shouldn't be celebrated.
Accept Your Perfectly Imperfect, Beautifully Human Self
The other side of that equation? You must learn to accept what you aren't good at. There will be situations and circumstances where you're just not the hero (or heroine). Equations outside of your understanding, contract negotiations that you just can't help with, or playing an instrument - everyone can't be good at everything.
The key is to realize when you're not good at something - hard, but doable. Accepting that you're not good at playing the concert piano, for instance, shouldn't make you doubt your abilities in other areas. Extending yourself a degree of compassion means that you shouldn't expect that you'll be an accomplished pianist overnight.
Accepting that you are a perfectly imperfect human being shouldn't be as big a deal as some people make it. There's usually one person that cannot accept their weaknesses or their inability to accomplish something, and they either turn it around to make things harder on themselves in trying to overcome it, or they get angry when others notice their imperfections.
That's displaying a lack of self-compassion, and it's a recipe for low self-esteem. If we cannot accept ourselves, how can we expect others to do so? Feeling like you're "no good" - no matter what the subject - is building a deep pool of negativity and drowning out your natural level of self-acceptance.
Accepting your imperfections doesn't mean you're stuck with them.
Don't retreat into laziness and decide you don't have to try to accomplish things because you have leaned into your status as a perfectly imperfect human being.
It's far better for you to decide to take the time required and give the activity your best effort. Trying is better than settling - even when you're not 100% successful.
Have Faith in Yourself - Don't Stop Trying to Get Better
Don't talk yourself into believing that you don't have (or can't develop) certain skills or capabilities. Give yourself a good dose of self-compassion and review what you're capable of. You are the only one that can make the decision to stop trying.
A lack of faith from others toward your goals and dreams can serve as a motivator - a potent force that empowers you to make things work. You get fired up and decide to prove those naysayers wrong.
You may be one of your own naysayers, but you can turn that around. Don't let anyone - not even yourself - put your efforts down to the point where you refuse to try.
Extending and expressing self-compassion - the same level of kindness and understanding you would show a friend or loved one - is worth the effort you'll make to do it.
Consider this: are the words you're saying to yourself or thinking about yourself terms that you'd allow someone else to use against someone you love and care about?
Then STOP using those words in relation to who you are.
Do you describe yourself using language that would cause you to rush to the defense of a friend or loved one? Yes? Be your own best advocate, and don't allow your self-talk to aggravate your feelings of inadequacy.
Use the affirmations below to start strengthening your self-compassion and self-acceptance. Choose one or two to work with over the next 30 to 60 days and give yourself the self-compassion necessary to recognize you want the change, and that you're committed to working on it.
Extend yourself the same (or more) compassion and acceptance you'd extend to a friend or loved one, and in the process, you'll build yourself up instead of tearing yourself down.
Affirmations to Strengthen Your Self-Compassion & Self-Acceptance
I feel better and better, one beat of my heart at a time.
I will treat myself with compassion in every situation.
My passion is fueled by self-compassion.
Every day is an opportunity to enjoy the wonder of my being.
I am worthy of celebration.
I will do the best I can in every situation.
I love myself in every moment, no matter what happens.
Failure is evidence that I am learning.
I allow myself space to heal because I am worthy of happiness.
I trust myself to do my best in every situation.
I do my best, and that is good enough.
I am on a journey, and it is okay to make mistakes.