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    The Power of 8

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  • Face to Face with Self-Acceptance

    What is the first thing that comes to mind when you see or hear the words “Self-Acceptance”? Does that word resonate in a positive or as a negative way for you? For many, the answer might change from one moment to the next or depending on where you are in your life. We have so much mental chatter going on all day that our own perception of self-acceptance might be cloudy from time to time. Judgment exists all around us. Social Media for one has heightened the level of judgment and high expectations for what our lives should look like. We have been fed a life full of perfected filters through our online social interactions. Although it may generate a picture perfect moment at that time for the world to see, the idea of accepting flaws and imperfections have been diluted. Some may say, that’s just the world we live in and that’s ok to a degree. I wonder, when do we just look at ourselves and say I’m enough just the way I am. Don’t get me wrong I’m not ganging up on photo filters. Hey, whatever makes your creative juices flow is a plus, but the point is, are we being ok with just accepting who we are just the way we are INSIDE and OUT? Acceptance is a powerful word because we do live in a time where tolerance is a point of discord in our country and around the world. But regardless of how we are perceived by others, our self-acceptance is where the true power lies.

    We have all lived through moments when we feel insecure or when we question who we are. No matter how confident you are, the human side will kick in at some point and make us question ourselves. Do you feel less than because you didn’t get that promotion? Do you feel out of sorts because you are not financially where you desire to be? Do you feel inadequate when you’re surrounded by just the sense of judgment from those around you? That is where that self-acceptance needs to come in and stand on solid ground. Believe me, there is no magic potion that cures insecurity, fear or low self-esteem. We are our biggest critics in our mind daily. But taking inventory of who you are is all you can do sometimes to get through the day.

    Here is one practice you can try when you are doubtful or out of your element. Begin by really looking at yourself and acknowledging what you do like about yourself. I’m all about lists, but not everyone is. So if you haven’t, give this a try. Take any sheet of paper and a pen, (In my case I would probably choose pretty stationary or something with color) then just write your name down. Now list your successes, what you like about yourself and what you have accomplished. Sometimes just getting up and getting dressed in the morning is a major mission accomplished. Have you decluttered your home, opened the door for someone, given a compliment, drank a little more water or had a healthier meal? At some point in your life, you must have had a good day or two, or maybe you had one moment that felt positive. What were they? Maybe someone did something kind for you. Write it all down! Connect to those moments, those words. Those are the bullet points you have to carry with you every day when you are hit with judgment or when you are feeling the lowest. No matter who you are there is something really great and special about you. No matter how dark you may think your path has been, you have risen to the occasion or you have moved past some kind of hardship. They key is to remember that only you are responsible for being discerning of your thoughts and how you see yourself. That also includes accountability for the voices you allow from the outside. It’s time to get assertive and not allow the opinions of others to take you off your path. Stand strong on your convictions and believe that you are doing the best you can! Keep repeating that to yourself. This is your MANTRA. No one can take that away from you no matter how many times you trip and fall. Take a breath, get right up and keep marching forward. There is no failure in falling and believe me I’ve tripped and fallen quite a bit. Accept your flaws and don’t dilute them. We are ALL made of imperfections. Take your flaws and now look at your bullet points of the greatness that you are and let this be your guide. Then you can tell your flaws, “OK, I see you but I’m a hell of a lot better than this”. Accept yourself for who you are. Like your thumbprint, you are one of a kind and that is where your greatness comes from.

    A Free Pat On Your Back

    Recently someone said to me, “Stop being so hard on yourself, you just don’t give yourself enough credit”. That made me stop in my tracks and really think about those words. We have so many conversations online and in-person but when you hear those words come from anyone, your best bet is to take that in and listen. I really had to take some inventory of how true those statements were for me. Why was I being so hard on myself? Well, the honest truth is that we are our worst and toughest critic.

    How often do we go through so many events in our lives that really push our limits to be stronger? How many times do we overcome losses, disappointments, rejection and still we dust ourselves off and move forward? Sometimes we don’t even realize that as time goes by, we have grown and learned so many lessons thanks to our strong spirit. We may have had failures but we also have made the conscious effort to keep pushing ahead for a better tomorrow. And even if tomorrow came and we stumbled again, we should just try again and just think, “Ok, this didn’t quite go the way I thought but what was my lesson here?” Your perseverance no matter how big or small should be acknowledged and celebrated. Now, sure you’re not going to throw yourself a party every time you overcome a problem (or would you? invites being accepted), but taking notice that you are trying is a HUGE step. Let’s agree to not be so hard on ourselves because if we were to look back, I’m sure we could find we have made bigger strides than we give ourselves credit for. Of course, it’s always nice to hear “great job” from your bosses, peers, friends but just remember not to let that command your thoughts or let that be your drive. An idea is to perhaps begin making a list of difficult circumstances you have experienced and how you saw yourself through it. Write down your strengths or actions that you may have taken to turn your situation around. Thinking about it just fine but there is something special about putting it on paper and seeing it in front of you. You don’t have to show this list to anyone. This is for yourself and a moment of face to face transparency and sincerity for you.  Just like any muscle that needs exercise, so is the act of validating your successes and your inner strength. Once you put some thought behind this you are off to empowering yourself to another level. Today, I am here to remind you that you should pat yourself on your back. Why? Because you deserve to give yourself much credit for working hard, being a great parent, sibling, friend, colleague and heck just for making it from one day to the next with all the obstacles out in the world.

    “Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.” ~Unknown

    Photo by: Nghia Le