Yesterday, I wrote about the common sense reality of learning to like or even love yourself, primarily because you’re forced to spend every waking moment with this person, so failing to do so will lead to an incredibly miserable life.
Part of the problem in liking yourself is often that you don’t like certain aspects of your character.
Perhaps you’re really shy and you feel that this holds you back from things you want to do and achieve. Maybe you’re too independent sometimes and unwilling to ask for help; perhaps you’ve pushed loved ones away with this attitude, and created a bed of loneliness for yourself to lie in. It might be that you’ve learned that you can’t trust yourself to do the things that you say, think, know you want to do.
Whatever your supposed character flaws are, follow these three steps to find self-acceptance and spark growth:
1. Separate this quality from your person and identity.
A nervous person isn’t a bad person. An independent/lonely person isn’t a bad person. A lazy, demotivated person isn’t a bad person. You’re just a person, who happens to be nervous/lonely/demotivated right now. These negative qualities don’t define you; they’re just clouds in your bright, blue sky.
2. Secondly, acknowledge that these weaknesses are the yin to the yang of your strengths; you can’t really have one without the other.
If you’re incredibly nervous, cowardly even, it’s likely that you’re also kind and thoughtful. If you’re independent to the point of making yourself lonely, it’s likely that you’re also fiercely self-reliant and determined. If you’re upset that you’re apparently lazy and demotivated, it’s probably because you have ambitious expectations for yourself.
3. Finally, recognise that being aware of these weaknesses, simply as the soil from which you grow, is an empowering place to be.
There’s no point in getting emotional about it – especially if you’ve already distanced yourself from this characteristic. Once you’ve acknowledged and accepted your own failings, you can begin to notice and observe those times and situations in which you’re nervous or push people away or fail to meet your expectations; you can begin to notice what’s happening and why it might be happening; what other factors might be at work. And then you can implement techniques that support change and growth.
The next time you notice this negative trait within your thoughts, words or actions…. take a breath. Notice this; acknowledge it; accept it. Then try to make your next moment a better one – a better thought, word or action.
Life isn’t black and white. People aren’t either good or bad. As absurd as it may seem, we have to know the darkness in order to truly find the light.