Accepting yourself and your situation in life can be a difficult task. For me, it's been damn near impossible. Here's how you know if you accept yourself. (We can deal with LIKING yourself, later.)

Do you tend to be more accepting of others' mistakes than your own? If so, you're being too hard on yourself!  Do you judge other people's clothes, jobs, skills, mistakes? You were created with a unique set of talents that no one else has, just like everyone else. You may not see them, or respect them! But they are there, I promise.

Becoming more accepting of yourself and loving yourself for the fine person that you are can lead you to greater happiness and a more fulfilling life.

Here are some techniques you can use to help you better accept yourself:

1. Focus on your positive qualities. And write them down! I have a running list of what makes me unique, because when I'm feeling “less than” it helps to remember things, even small ones, like “I don't like grits.”

Self-improvement is a good thing, but it's ALSO important that you identify and focus on your positive qualities, rather than concentrating on the qualities you feel negatively about and want to change.

  • Maintaining this positive focus will not only help you better accept yourself, but it'll also make it easier for you to attain your goals by utilizing your talents to boost yourself forward.

2. Consciously prevent negative thinking patterns. Negative thinking can really snowball fast if you don't get ahead of it. It's okay to be in a bad mood every once in awhile and have some negative thoughts; it happens to everyone. The trick is in learning how to push those negative thoughts aside and replace them with something positive. 

I know a lot of people who marinate in their own personal shame spiral. Don't. Do. This. In this way, the Laws of Attraction work strong. When you focus on positive, whether good things happen to you or now, you're happier and the same applies to negative thoughts. If you can only see what upsets you, you'll never, ever be happy.

  • Replace your negative thoughts about yourself with affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that affirm your positive qualities and help bring out the best in you. You can find affirmations in bookstores and on websites, or you can write your own.
  • If you believe in yourself, you can do it. It's really that simple. I truly believe that we can all do anything we want with the right amount of self-education, time dedication, and perseverance. 

3. Accept your imperfections. Another part of being human is having some imperfections. Instead of dwelling on the things you can't change, accept them for what they are. Making the best of your life starts with accepting your imperfections. One thing I do is tell jokes about my flaws. (this can backfire if you do a 10-minute comedy stand up bit on yourself. A few jokes here and there about your flaws are fine.) I often feel funny talking about my strengths, so when they're brought up I joke that it's “one of three skills I have.” I'm sure it isn't true but it takes the pressure off of feeling like I'm bragging.

4. Use positive self-talk. Positive self-talk can help you achieve great things and change the way you think about yourself. Make it a point to give sincere compliments to yourself.

  • Compliment yourself for the good things about your looks, your positive qualities, and every time you do something right. Do this each and every day until it becomes a habit. It can also help to use post-its at first to remind yourself that you are awesome.

5. Disregard what other people might think about your decisions. You'll never make everyone else happy. If you try, you'll soon discover that, not only will other people still be unhappy, but you'll also be exhausted and unhappy yourself.

  • Make your own decisions according to your priorities and be confident that you've done what is right for you. 

This could become easier with age. After a while, you learn to better trust your own instincts and what's right for you. Check in with yourself. If something doesn't feel good, THERE'S A REASON. Your job, your relationships, friendships, even your too-tight underpants are telling you something, and you should listen.

6. Don't worry. Worrying will never help your situation. Rather than wasting your time by being engulfed in fear, take action to do what you can to make the situation better. If there's nothing you can do to change it, focus on moving forward in other ways. 

I know that advice like “avoid worrying” is advice that no one can really give, or take. If you are a worrier, it's going to happen. But you can take breaths, you can talk yourself down, you can train yourself to NOT panic when you hear something unpleasant or are in a situation you feel like you can't change. 

The words “don't worry” don't mean “don't prepare” or “don't research” or “ignore your instincts.” Don't worry means don't overthink. Watch the movie Yes Man, with Jim Carrey. Jump in. Be nervous, but ask yourself WHAT IF?? Use the fear as a motivator to push ahead, if you can, rather than drowning in reasons why you can't do something.

7. Try your best and accept that you've done what you could. Do your best every day and be proud of yourself for your efforts. Let go of any negative thoughts, such as being angry with yourself for not being able to accomplish an impossible feat. We all do our best with that we have at the time.  

  • Even when you haven't done your best, find a way to forgive yourself. Move on and commit to trying harder next time. ALL of our lessons have been learned for a reason. 

In changing the way you think about yourself, you'll also change the way you see the world. Every day opens up new opportunities for you, and by utilizing positive thinking, you can make a real difference! 

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