Even if your latest Instagram post is preaching the power of positive thinking, are your thoughts reflecting the same?
Self-acceptance is when you finally stop comparing yourself to others. It’s when you start allowing yourself to be who you really are instead of who you think others want you to be. We spend such a large part of our lives trying to fit in, eventually it becomes exhausting. But once you realise you'll be spending your entire life with yourself - wasting time obsessing over your flaws and failures suddenly seems absurd.
So in 2017, instead of focusing on being a good friend to others, it’s time to work on being a good friend to yourself.
First, explore your many amazing qualities. I can see you cringing now and I know, it can seem a bit silly. But do me a favour, try to focus on the things you do well and let go of the things you can’t. Maybe you’re an amazing dancer or song-writer or musician. Maybe you’re a good listener or you can squat your body weight. Whatever it is, if you’re good at it, acknowledge it. And everything you’re not great at, let it go. Your faults don’t define you.
Second, you need to get used to being alone. Learning to enjoy your own company is so important. We are rarely alone these days because even when we’re physically by ourselves, we’re still connected with others through text and social media. So if even just for twenty minutes put your phone down and take yourself for a walk outside. Enjoy the silence. Really focus on your thoughts. Are they positive or negative? Do you belittle yourself or uplift yourself? Accepting who you are becomes so much easier when you learn to ignore those voices in your head that only ever try to bring you down.
Third, do things for yourself and no one else. We are so good at putting other people’s needs over our own. I’m not telling you to become selfish. Just make sure the things you do for others balances out with things you do for yourself. Dedicate one day a week to yourself. Go for coffee or a run along the beach. Take a yoga class or just take a nap. Spend time doing whatever makes you happy simply because it makes you happy. You don’t need a better reason than that.
Finally, the big one. Letting go of your physical insecurities. As much as we don’t like to admit it, we rarely think kind thoughts about ourselves. We think we’re too fat, too thin, our eyebrows aren’t perfectly even. Our inner monologue can be so harsh. We say things about ourselves that we’d never even dream of saying to others. So before you berate yourself for anything, run it through what I like to call The Stranger Filter. Would you say it to a stranger? No? Then don’t say it to yourself.
Loving yourself takes a lot of hard work and patience. It doesn’t happen overnight. Luckily, you have the rest of your life to perfect it. But there’s no better time to start than right now.
Words: Elizabeth Clinen
Elizabeth is a young mother, writer and editor living by the beach on the west coast of Australia. An aspiring polyglot, she is currently learning Russian and her life goal is to read War & Peace in its native language. Elizabeth prides herself on her voracious appetite for food and knowledge. She enjoys doing yoga, smelling good and being happy. You can usually find her in the sun, writing, reading or breastfeeding. Sometimes all at once.