The second step in my “Steps to a Happier Life” is Accepting Yourself.
Research by Robert Holden has shown that your level of self-acceptance has a huge impact on your happiness: Accepting ourselves makes us feel happier because it empowers us and brings us resilience and contentment.
Some times it isn’t easy to accept yourself – perhaps because it can be easy to focus on your own failings rather than successes. In coaching sessions I sometimes do work with people on changing their focus, to see some more of the positives about themselves.
One thing you can do is to write down at the end of every day, for at least a fortnight, 3 things you think you did well that day, or are proud of.
Over time you will start to see more and more things that you like about yourself. This makes it easier to accept yourself as a whole package: no-one is perfect, but seeing some of the positives makes the negatives less significant.
As you start to see more positive things about yourself, and see fewer negatives, you will begin to love yourself for who you are, and be at peace with yourself. It’s not about ignoring our faults, and I am not saying that one shouldn’t strive to be a better person: life, ideally, is a journey of self-growth. But that journey will be far more enjoyable if we are at peace with ourselves, wherever we are on our path, as we travel!
Another key part of self-acceptance is to forgive yourself the mistakes of the past – leave them where they belong.
We are often so much harsher to ourselves than we would be with a friend who has made a mistake. Time to be kind to yourself.
Complete this statement with 10 responses:
I will forgive myself for….
Write them down and then throw the piece of paper away, or burn it, and really let go of your mistakes. Learn from mistakes, but free yourself from guilt.
Finally, dismiss your negative mind-chatter in order to feel comfortable with yourself – complete these statements with 10 responses:
One self-defeating attitude I want to give up is….
One self-defeating behaviour I want to give up is….
One of the things I work on with clients is how to give up their self-defeating attitudes and behaviours. I also help clients to examine their beliefs about themselves to determine if their mind is telling them the truth – what real evidence do you have for your negative self-beliefs?
The things above are just the starting point to accepting yourself, but if you put them into action you should notice some real benefits.
And, tell me what you think – share what you have done to accept yourself more, and how you felt afterwards – it’s great to hear your experiences, and I feature some of them in my newsletters.
Leave a comment here, or email me: Mary@Coach-me-Happy.co.uk