We’re hard on ourselves. Many of us are more understanding and forgiving of others than we are of ourselves. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. If anyone is going to be on your side, it should be you!
There are several common signs that you’re being too hard on yourself:
1. You dwell on your mistakes. This accomplishes nothing positive. It does accomplish several things that are negative. Avoid doing this.
○ We’re all human and make mistakes. Dwelling on mistakes makes you feel less capable and miserable in general.
2. You compare yourself to others. There’s always someone richer, better looking, more musically talented, “luckier,” or has children that do better in school.
○ Comparing yourself to others is dangerous. You don’t know the other person’s background or available resources. They may have a huge advantage.
○ You’re also more likely to compare yourself to exceptional people. Do you compare your looks to the middle-age man or woman at work that has three kids? Of course not! You compare yourself to the 21-year old intern that models on the side.
3. You don’t give your own ideas a fair chance. How many great ideas have you had, but ultimately dismissed?
4. You spend too much time thinking about your past failures. Oh, the past. You chickened out and didn’t ask Mary to prom. Or you majored in liberal arts instead of engineering. Maybe you didn’t get that dream job. There’s always something.
○ If you focus on negative experiences, you’re failing to accept yourself and your current reality.
5. You can’t take a compliment well. There are good things about you. It’s okay when others acknowledge those things. Your inability to accept a compliment from others is a sign that you don't accept yourself.
6. You’re unrealistic. Being unrealistic might be seen as being kind to yourself, but it’s not. If you truly don’t have what it takes to become an NBA star, or a Rhodes Scholar, or a CEO, you’re not doing yourself any favors by holding onto unrealistic expectations. You’re ultimately being hard on yourself.
It’s not easy to accept yourself. We’ve been taught that the ideal person is financially successful, athletic, attractive, cool under pressure, hilarious, creative, and the life of the party. Most of us will never check all of those boxes.
There are many signs that you’re not as accepting of yourself as you could be. Be on the lookout for these signs. You probably don’t accept yourself as much as you think!
Accepting yourself is a process. It’s a habit.
The little things you do, or fail to do, each day determine your level of self- acceptance. Developing these useful habits and dropping the negative habits is a huge step in the right direction. It’s hard to accept yourself any other way.
“I think happiness comes from self-acceptance. We all try different things, and we find some comfortable sense of who we are. We look at our parents and learn and grow and move on. We change.”
– Jamie Lee Curtis
9 Ways To Begin Accepting Yourself
Be accepting of yourself each and every day by making these actions habits:
1. Let go of your mistakes and failures. Take the necessary time to learn from your negative experiences. Once you’ve done that, there’s nothing else to be gained by them. Let them go.
○ Decide how you can avoid making the same error in the future. Then move on.
2. Only compare yourself to yourself. Comparing yourself to someone else is like comparing a tree to a loaf of bread. There’s no comparison. However, you can compare yourself to your previous results.
○ If you’re doing “better,” you have
every right to be excited.
○ If you’re coming up short, be excited that you know you can easily rectify the situation.
3. Separate yourself from your emotions. Your emotions are separate from you. They are something that you’re experiencing, just like someone stepping on your toe. Observe them as a feeling in your body, or as a piece of paper blowing down the street. Just observe them.
○ A piece of paper blowing by doesn’t have any control over you. Your emotions don't have to control you either.
4. Be aware of what makes you unique and embrace it. It might be your flaming red hair, your incredible IQ, or your compassion for animals. Maybe you’re in the bottom 5th percentile for height. You’re not exactly the same as anyone else.
○ It’s your uniqueness that potentially provides the most value to you and the world.
5. Let go of the things you can’t change or control. You’re not accepting of your life or your limitations if you worry about those things beyond your influence.
○ Ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do about this?” If not, there’s no reason to dwell on it.
6. Do something that you’ve always wanted to do. Avoid denying your impulses. If you’ve always want to learn how to play the bagpipes or write a sappy screenplay, now is the time. When you deny your healthy impulses, you’re not accepting yourself.
7. Be more assertive. Let people know what you think. Give your opinion. Allow your voice to be heard. Do the things you want to do. Assertiveness is a form of honesty - about you and your own desires.
8. Recognize your thoughts and feelings. Examine your self-talk. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and take a good look at yourself. Notice your thoughts throughout the day. Acknowledge how you judge yourself.
○ Most people distract themselves with TV, the internet, food, their smartphone, or some other strategy. This is to avoid spending time with themselves. Turn off the distractions and notice what happens.
9. Continue evolving. Those with little self-acceptance tend to be stuck. They can’t move toward anything positive. Be honest with yourself about what you like and dislike and allow your life to evolve.
Treat each day as a new opportunity to practice self-acceptance. You must choose self-acceptance if you want to experience it firsthand. It won’t happen by accident. Develop self-acceptance habits and drop your tendency to judge yourself harshly. Free yourself from tyring to stuff your emotions.