Amanda discusses finding your feet in a new situation and learning to love yourself in spite of doubts.
Self-acceptance is hard to come by. I’m no stranger to not feeling good enough sometimes. Particularly on bad days. It often feels like I cannot do a single thing right (despite this rarely being true). What about you? I thought so. For many, like myself, we struggle to accept ourselves as we are because we are overly self-critical. We create unrealistic expectations of how our reality should be, which may appear to differ dramatically from how it actually is. To be clear: there is nothing wrong with wanting better for yourself, but that does not mean that what you have already is not good enough.
Self-acceptance is ultimately a journey and it involves embracing where you currently are and leaving the past behind and all that we cannot control. Here are five essential steps that help us get back on track when we catch ourselves losing our way.
1: Recognise and understand your power
We have a greater ability to control our emotions and thoughts than we think. The most important thing to consider in difficult situations is how we choose to respond to them. Start by learning more about yourself and developing your emotional awareness. What emotions do you experience during moments of stress? How do you feel about experiencing these emotions? What actions do these feelings evoke? The more aware you are of your emotions, the easier it is to control them.
2: Celebrate your strengths
Focus on the positives. We often dwell on our shortcomings and overlook our merits and abilities. The more we focus on negative thoughts, the more ingrained and overbearing they become. Recognizing your strengths will help you to realise what you are capable of and the positive impact that you have. Create a list of things that you are good at, however small, and try to hone these skills and utilise them regularly.
3: Progress rather than perfection
We’re all preoccupied with the need to “get it right”. When we fall short of perfection by not achieving our desired outcome, our self-esteem takes a hit. We as a society often forget that the journey counts as much as the result itself. Forget about self-loathing and beating yourself up about what you could have done differently. Hush your inner-critic. Focus on the progress you have made in coming as far as you have. It may not have been easy, and you may have stumbled along the way but here you are standing tall and ready to try again. That’s got to count for something.
4: Stop comparing yourself to others
We all compare ourselves to others. We judge ourselves against the lives of countless others, most of whom who will, similarly, barely have their life together, but are just better at putting up a front. We’re guilty of setting a standard for ourselves designed to perfectly fit someone else.
5: Forgive yourself
We’re only human. Making mistakes is part of our perfectly imperfect nature, we shouldn’t feel guilty or punish ourselves when they do occur. Try not being so hard on yourself when you make a mistake; realise, learn and move on, next chapter. Learn to make peace with your current situation. Where you are right now in life is necessary for you to reach where you want to be later. Trusting yourself and your instincts in this world will make you feel at ease on the rocky journey to accepting yourself.