As humans we’re always striving for more. This can be a great motivator in some aspects of life such as a college education, but in many ways, it can leave you feeling less than. The world we live in (and not to mention the media… oh, the media) puts so much emphasis on self-improvement and becoming a better version of ourselves.
Think about it – just one small commercial or Facebook break offers you at least one way to look younger (with creams and potions), to be skinnier (with pre-processed microwave diet meals, of course), and to be more energetic (thanks to a bottle shot full of chemicals). No wonder we are always ‘working on ourselves.’
What if instead of thinking you need to be better, stronger, wealthier, faster, prettier, smarter, or skinnier, you genuinely believed that you were enough just as you are?
It’s such a radical thought, I’m going to say it again: You are enough.
Just as you are. Right now. No improvements necessary.
You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “Yeah, but… I really want to learn this … or I want to lose 10 pounds so I’m healthier … or [fill in the blank].”
I’ll be the first to admit that self-improvement and learning new things and striving for better health can be really great things. They ensure that you’re always moving forward and challenging yourself and growing.
The problem comes when you tie your self-worth up in the outcome of your more and better quest.
“I’ll be happier when I get this promotion at work.”
“I’ll love myself and start living my life when I lose this weight.”
I’m here to say you don’t (and shouldn’t) need to wait until the when happens. The sooner you can learn to accept yourself just as you are, the sooner you will realize that you are way more than enough without any extra bells, whistles, or tricks.
Say what? You say self-acceptance is hard? I agree.
Self-acceptance is kind of like your bicep. If you don’t work it out, it’s never going to get stronger. The first bicep curl isn’t easy either.
Consider the below the hammer curl for your self-acceptance muscle.
Each morning you wake up (or each time your roll out your mat), pick one quality that you have that you’re grateful for. What is one thing that you’re good at or one part of your body that you adore? Take that thing and use it as your intention for the day. Spend a few moments in the shower, on your mat, or commuting to work to sit with that quality and embrace it.
State to yourself (silently or out-loud): I am grateful for ________________. I am enough.
Throughout the day when things get crazy and you start feeling less than, simply stop and repeat the above.
Over time you will start to strengthen your self-acceptance muscle and you’ll start to feel comfortable in your own shoes, exactly as you are. You’ll open your heart and mind to more self-acceptance and joy.
And keep aiming for the stars, learning new languages, and training for marathons. Just don’t tie the achievement to those goals and results to your self-worth. Do them because you know you’re already your best self and you want to keep on growing and shining.