Liking yourself for who you are is sometimes easier said than done. But it’s worth the effort. I know firsthand how long it can take and that it’s a continual work-in-progress. Most people that know me probably assume that I’m a very confident person and content with myself. Part of it is true, now. I started this journey a couple of years ago, and a lot of work has gone into getting me to this place.
Outwardly I have a big personality; I’m friendly, talkative, laugh a lot and tell jokes, well sarcastic ones. People are shocked when I tell them I’m an introvert who just happens to be extremely chatty, and sometimes it takes a lot out of me to be “on” in social situations. I’m drained and need downtime afterwards.
I’m my worst enemy. In addition to being an introvert, I’m a perfectionist so I judge myself incredibly hard, much harder than I would judge anyone else. I’m always second guessing myself. Am I saying the right thing, are people going to think I’m stupid, do I look okay? I don’t hold my family or friends to specific standards; I accept them for who they are, no matter what. One day I finally wondered why I was incapable of doing the same for myself. So what if I talk too fast, am terrible at math, hate my legs and get anxious public speaking (I shortened this list for the sake of blog length!). I also have qualities that I like. If you’re anything like me, you overlook your good features and pick apart the ones you wish you could change.
Some of the tips that I used may work for you too.
Don’t hold yourself to unattainable standards.
Stop living up to unachievable ideals; yours or anyone else’s including family, friends, managers or the media. You don’t need to be a certain way, look a certain way, have a specific job, or particular possessions to be fabulous. Think back to some basic things that made you happy throughout your life and remember what it felt like rather than trying to attain something that may be out of reach.
Learn to accept your quirks.
Everyone has quirks. Embrace them! What’s original about you is what makes you remarkable and separates you from everyone else. If it’s something about the way you look, accentuate it, don’t hide it. If it’s something about your personality, just be you. If people don’t accept you for who you are, find someone that does. It’s much better to be yourself around one person than be someone else for many people. Trust me; it’s far less exhausting.
I don’t know one person that hasn’t made mistakes. It’s critical not to beat yourself up when you make them. When it happens, take the time to figure out why things went wrong so at least you’re learning from the mistake; it’ll help you let it go.
Do things that make you happy.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the only one that likes some of the things you like, do them. If someone wants to join you, then that’s great! If you have to do them alone, then that’s great too (see the point below about taking time for yourself). We all have guilty pleasures, but they’re pleasures so why not enjoy them and let people know. Who knows, you may find someone else that does too, and if not, who cares!
Value alone time.
You need to spend time alone to learn about yourself. Do you do things because others do or because you truly enjoy them? Figure out what makes you happy and then focus on doing those things. Spend less time doing things you do for the sake of fitting in or because you think you will upset someone if you say no. It’s especially important if you live with others or have children. Figure out a way squeeze in some alone time, even if it’s in the shower.
Find out what people enjoy about you.
If you’re having trouble nailing down your qualities, ask the people around you what it is they like about you and why they like to spend time with you. When you have doubts, remind yourself of what was said (it might help to write it down so you can always find it when needed). These are the people you should try to spend time with when you can. People that appreciate you should make you appreciate yourself.
Reduce the time you spend with people that put you down.
You can’t like yourself, let alone love yourself if you’re surrounded by people that put you down. Moderate the amount of time you spend with them. When you do have to see them, concentrate on the positive things others say about you and ignore the criticisms.
Stand up for yourself.
Be with people that treat you the way you want to be treated, and the way you treat others. Don’t let people disrespect you, make you feel bad about saying no, or take advantage of you. Don’t use up energy on people that treat you this way. It’s critical for your well-being. Remind yourself that you have every right to receive the same respect as everyone else.
Start by working on the tips you think are the easiest for you to do, and then pick one that you find most challenging. The harder one(s) will take you the longest time to integrate into your life so you may need to put some extra planning around how you can get it done.
You may backslide from time-to-time but remember to keep going and that the effort is worth it in the end. I can now say that not only is my view of myself more relaxed, but I feel my overall outlook is as well.