I keep a list in my head where I file aspects of myself, in a bold typeface, under the category titled “must work on this”. Sometimes, on a foggy Saturday morning, I sit at a window with a leather bound journal and I write down ALL the things I need to get better at.
Bet you do these things too.
I’ve found somewhere between drawing scribbles on scraps of paper and buying our first house, as young adults we start to dissect ourselves. Strand by strand, like a fussy child eating spaghetti, we fixate on our faults and turn this thinking into a habit.
We write it down in long lists and call our criticism “self-improvement”. Or humility. Next time, we resolve every time we create our lists, I will be better at this. And this. Next time I will remove half of the “failures” from my list. Next time, we announce, I will be outgoing at parties, I’ll never eat chocolate, I’ll let go of the things which bug me AND I’ll clean my room. Next time, next time and next time.
Life isn’t a game you can win by working your way to the top. There are no bonus levels you reach by becoming “perfect”. There is you. And there is life. And there is the unique combination of you and life together.
Sadly, many of us go through life with a persistent drive to change everything about ourselves. We talk ourselves down. We admonish ourselves in our heads. We make decisions which undermine our worth. The thing is, we struggle to accept ourselves.
Acceptance is difficult; else everyone would have it sorted. It rubs against our desire for control. It feels like an opt out but many times acceptance is a sign of maturity. Acceptance comes from knowing your value, your talents, and weaknesses. And being ok with it. There are things about ourselves which we can not change, no matter how hard we try. That’s ok.
It’s time to change trying to change.
Accept your temperament
Usually, people feel like they are either too emotional or not emotional enough. Your temperament makes you who you are. If you had more emotions perhaps you would struggle to manage in your corporate job. If you were less emotional, perhaps you wouldn’t have the insight and compassion which make you a great parent.
Accept your core values
What is non-negotiable for you? Is it generosity? Attending a place of worship? Volunteering? Kindness? Integrity? A lot of the time we feel like we need to change our values to fit into the world around us. This isn’t true. You, and what you value, are important. You shouldn’t feel the need to change this. You shouldn’t pull back because of a lack of acceptance.
3. Accept if you are introverted or extroverted
Introverts often feel a lot of pressure to be the life of the party, when they would far rather spend an evening listening to others or reading a book. Extroverts often feel like they are too loud and overbearing. Neither good nor bad and the world needs both intro and extroverted people.
4. Accept your passions
I love writing and I love to travel. Nobody is made with the same sets of passions. You don’t have to rationalize what you prioritize or what you desire from life. You don’t have to listen to society or your family or your culture. You have your own set of dreams to follow and that’s something you should accept.
5. Accept your relationship status
Regardless of what your status is- single, married, divorced or complicated- your situation has pros and cons. Our relationship statuses can change at any moment, but it’s important to accept the stage we are in. While you are single date and have fun. When you have a child, delight in the little things they do and the miracle of childbirth. Don’t let yourself feel less worthwhile because you are single or divorced. Accept this. And make the most of it.
Stop in your busy and take a moment to think about all the things about you, you are trying to change. Get out a Notebook and for 10 minutes make a list. This time, write down everything you like about yourself and don’t want to change. It can be the way your nose freckles in summer. It can be your ability to play the piano; anything.
Delve into the deep parts of your heart and embrace who you truly are. Take a big breathe and try to accept yourself, pimples, cellulite and all. We need to feel at home in ourselves before we can feel at home in the world.