When it comes to personal development, we find it important that we always continue to improve ourselves to become the best version of ourselves: we want to be more relaxed, more productive happier, more good looking. I also believe that learning and developing yourself gives meaning to your life: life becomes more interesting and enjoyable and it ultimately brings more happiness. You also discover who you are and what you want by doing and experiencing. At the same time it is also important to accept yourself as you are, this reinforces your self-image. Both of them turn out to lead to a healthier and happier life, but they sound contradictory. Is it possible to find a compromise between the two?
When you are working on yourself, it seems that you are not satisfied with yourself at the moment. “First I have to be perfect, only then can I really accept myself”. However, this is a mistake that many people make, including myself. Wanting to be perfect before you can accept yourself is never going to happen. I see many people around me who are constantly busy with being fitter, smarter, more popular, more social and never about to being satisfied with themselves.
I think it works the other way around: first you have to accept yourself as you are in order for you to grow. You are unique, you have your own personality with your strengths but also your weaknesses. Be yourself and appreciate the fact that you are unique, that is what makes you beautiful!
Tips for self-acceptance
Take some time off for yourself to think carefully. Ask yourself the following questions: How do I feel? Am I satisfied with my work? Do some people cost too much energy? What do I like to do and do I want it to do more often? What do I dislike and would I be able to do it less often?
Also try to reflect on moments when you can really be yourself. We all wear a mask because, for example, we do not dare to be ourselves. When can you be honest with your feelings and thoughts?
By taking time for yourself you unconsciously saying to yourself that you are important. That is a good way to get to know yourself and to love yourself more. That way you can bring more balance to your life and grow.
- Take care of yourself
After your own self-reflection, you probably know how you can take care of yourself in the best way possible. I want you to relax by going to the movies, eating delicious food, reading a book, going for a walk, watching videos, taking a bath, going to the hairdresser. Try to recognize when you need a moment and plan a moment for yourself. Accepting yourself is also recognizing when you need some relaxation in your life.
- Recognize your strengths
If you know which strengths you have, you can better accept your weaknesses. Make a list with all your strengths. If you find it difficult, you can also ask people in your surroundings to help you. You can fill in that list endlessly. If you are done filling in the list, hang it on your fridge, mirror, in your room, put it in your purse or wallet so that you do not forget what your strengths are. That way you are building self-knowledge and self-confidence.
- Changing negative thoughts
We all have a voice in our heads that often criticizes us. He tells you things like “You are too fat”, “You can not handle that”, “You are not good enough”. Try to become aware of what your inner critic is saying by noticing when you are feeling a bit down. Your thoughts determine how you feel. When you catch your inner critic saying negative things, look at your own thoughts objectively and then ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the proof that this thought is true?
- What would a loved one say to me?
- Is this thoughts making me feel good?By looking at your thoughts from a distance and objectively answering these questions, you are challenging your thoughts. If your thoughts are hurting you, you have to come up with alternative thoughts that help you to put things in perspective and to move forward in your life.
Little steps towards your dreams
Now that you have learned to get to know yourself and accept yourself by reflecting, taking care of yourself and changing your negative thoughts, you also have a better idea of what you want out of life. Self-knowledge and self-love is already a huge part of personal development. Make a list of all the dreams that you have in your life. Choose the most important goals and make a plan which include small steps to your dreams. Setting small goals to achieve a bigger goal is very important. Indeed, setting a big goal can feel like a huge mountain that is impossible to climb. If you take baby steps towards your big goal, you make it much easier for yourself and in that way you also keep your motivation!