It is said that one of the kindest things you can do for yourself is accept yourself just the way you are. It is also said that one of the bravest things you can do is stretch yourself and reach for your dreams. So which is it, self-acceptance or self-improvement? The truth is both. Psychologically speaking, if we are to improve ourselves and be happy and peaceful along the way, we have to learn to navigate the fine line between self-acceptance and self-improvement.
Everything we do (including all the “bettering” of our lovely selves) must come from a place of self-acceptance and love if it is to be of any real lasting benefit. No good ever came from beating ourselves into being better. In fact, pushing, criticising, and punishing are practices that leave us feeling empty, inferior and ultimately unmotivated, goal reached or not!If we are to ever make sustainable positive change and maintain a sense of fun and perspective along the way, the change must come from a place of unconditional love and positive regard for ourselves. From this healthy platform, change becomes fun and adventurous.
After all, there is no doubt that we can achieve goals through pure grit and determination. The problem is we are at risk of feeling empty and fatigued if sheer determination is not balanced with great big doses of creativity, fun and self-encouragement.
Here are a few ideas to keep things in balance
1. Remind yourself that you are worthy and wonderful, yes do this…. EVERY day!
2. Slow down and take in the beautiful things, they are always around us, besides, conquering the mountain is no fun if you miss the view, the flowers and the “lolly and water“ stops on the way up.
3. Have a grateful heart, be thankful to your body for carrying you around, your mind for giving you ideas, your spirit for giving you fuel and your soul for giving you the ability to make connections with people. These parts of you are functioning in the background all the time, so take the time to notice and say thank you.
4. Pace yourself. Self-improvement is a wonderful thing but must be paced. Sometimes asking if you would expect someone else to do the same thing for the same length of time, under the same circumstance can help you to gain perspective on how realistic you are being with yourself.
5. Finally, make sure your self-talk mimics that of a good friend “Good for you, going to the gym, making a sale, finishing an assignment”, “well done champion, you made a yummy dinner after a big day”, “great job sweetness, you got another load of washing done while the kiddies ate a sandwich, you are a rock star!”etc etc etc.
Think about some of the ways you can develop your own kindness and self -acceptance practices. You will be so glad you did!