I can still remember the days when I would mentally berate myself for making a mistake when giving a talk, even though I knew better. As the years have gone by I have learnt to be kinder to myself, to accept that I am human and and to laugh at myself.
Someone recently said to me that she wanted to make a big difference with her life, but she struggled to accept herself exactly as she is and I know this is a challenge many people face. One of the most important things we can do, if we want our lives to flow is to accept ourselves exactly as we are right now. That doesn’t mean that we don’t work at improving ourselves, it just means we make don’t life harder for ourselves.
If you can’t be kind to yourself how can you expect other people to be kind to you? One of the things I’ve learnt is that all of the qualities you would like other people to embody, you need to embody yourself.
Being authentic means to be real or genuine. Whenever someone asks you what you think, how often do you give a polite response? You may think you are being kind, and there are instances where you may choose to be, but most people act in this way to avoid potential conflict. If you do this on a regular basis, then you develop a habit that doesn’t serve you. Being authentic doesn’t mean being cruel or rude, it simply means saying what you really mean in a way that matches the person you choose to be.
Think about how often you make excuses when you don’t want to do something, or tell a lie to get out of something. You don’t have to explain yourself to others you can simply say something like, “Sorry, I can’t make it.” Telling the truth, doesn’t mean being blunt, it’s often not what we say but the way we say it that people react to.
Be honest with yourself. Think about how often you push your needs aside and you don’t admit even to yourself how resentful you really feel at times.
One of the things I love about authentic people is that you can trust them. You may not always agree with them but you can always respect them because you know exactly where you stand.
Alcoholics are encouraged to attend 90 AA meetings in 90 days as this helps them change their drinking habits and who they associate with. So if you choose to focus on loving yourself more, consider spending the next 90 days with people whose words and actions support you. You may not always be able to do this with people you work with but you can certainly do it with family and friends outside of work.
There is a big difference between loving yourself and feeding your ego. Loving yourself is feeling good about you. It’s about looking in the mirror and liking the person who is looking back at you, not because of your achievements, or the way you look, but because of who you are.
Your ego can tell you that you have to look a certain way, or achieve a certain amount of success in order to be good enough. Your ego may encourage you to talk about yourself all the time and be totally self-absorbed. Your ego may want you to not even try in case you aren’t as good as everyone else. But ego takes you away from loving your life whereas self-love takes you towards loving your life.
Self-love is knowing that you are not your body or your accomplishments, because the body ages and success comes and goes. Self-love is not about being perfect. It’s about knowing that you have made mistakes, and will continue to make mistakes, but that you’re okay exactly as you are.