10 Simple ways to help you feel better about yourself.
1 Accept yourself warts and all.
Many of us feel that we have to be perfect, to give perfection and to be 100% happy, sweet and nice all the time. It’s simply not true. We all have our faults, our limitations, our sheer humanity and instead of seeing ourself as broken, flawed or imperfect we could simply embrace our ‘warts’ and hug them to ourselves. Just as the golden bits of a kintsugi pot stick the broken bits of a pot back together to make the whole thing more valuable, our humanity, our ‘broken-ness’ is what makes us interesting.
Imagine being with someone who was 100% perfect? I imagine that I’d be bored within 20 minutes. I love hearing the quirks and foibles of people. I’m always curious to know what keeps people awake at night, what makes them happy, what their biggest fear and greatest achievement is.
2. Know that you don’t have to be perfect to be loved, loving and loveable
For many years I believed myself to be unloveable because I wasn’t perfect. It never occurred to me until relatively recently that the things that make me imperfect are pretty much the same things that make me loveable. Know that it is safe to be you, and that people will love you anyway. Dare to be you. Perfectly, imperfect, loveable you.
3. Acknowledge that you’re doing your best with the information, resources and knowledge that you have available to you.
You are doing your best, and that’s all that matters. We often worry that we could have done better or if only we’d known then what we know now we would have done things differently. It’s important to realise that we’re always doing our best, and when we have more skills, more knowledge and more experience we will do better!
4. Comparison is the thief of all joy.
Never compare yourself to the illusion that anyone else is projecting. We will never really know what is going on in another persons life, and to compare ourselves negatively to the image that another person is projecting is only ever going to end in tears. Your next door neighbour may look like they have it all (in comparison to you) but you don’t know if secretly they fancy having a quieter life (Like you!) or whether they think you’re doing way better than them.
When my children were at primary school their headteacher raised a really good point. Each of us are given a tree to climb but the trees aren’t equal trees. Some trees have easier branches to climb so they will allow people to climb higher in their tree, but your tree might have an easier bit towards the top. I thought that was a nice way to think of it. I’ve now realised that putting my energy into what I’m doing is way more productive than fantasizing about how well everyone else is doing in comparison to me!
5. Speak kindly to yourself
What we say to others and what we say to ourselves can be two very different things. If you are kind to other people when they make a mistake and mean to yourself over the least little thing then please stop! I once heard someone say that ‘if you wouldn’t say that mean thing you’ve said to a child, don’t say it to yourself’ and that was incredibly powerful.
We are delicate beings and need to be treated with kindness. So next time you’re about to tell yourself off for some minor misdemeanour, stop! Tell yourself that you’ve tried your best and that you’ve now learned from your mistake and move on. Vow never to say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a child!
6. You are stronger than you think.
Even if you don’t feel it at times, you are strong. We all are. We all have our inner tiger ready to roar when necessary. It’s ok to allow that kitten to roar when needs must. You can still be a fabulous person and be assertive too.
If you find something seems a bit scary, maybe take the pressure off yourself and allow yourself to be playful and simply ‘see what happens if…’ Without the pressure of having to be successful, or having to pass that test, or get everything right first time you will gain confidence to experiment.
7. It’s ok to experience a range of emotions
You don’t have to be happy 100% of the time. Everyone experiences a range of emotions, including joy, sadness, fear, elation, anger, pain. And that’s ok. It can be hard when we feel we always have to be in a positive mindset. We really don’t. Whilst it is helpful to have a positive mindset some of the time, it is also perfectly normal to have times when you’re sad, angry or just plain bored. I always used to believe that I had to be happy all the time, that I wasn’t allowed to have a down moment or to feel angry or upset. That’s simply not the case!
8. People Make Mistakes
You can’t get everything right all of the time, so don’t beat yourself up too much when you make a silly mistake! Simply accept your humanity and be kind to yourself. I’ve wasted way too much of my life worrying about little mistakes that really didn’t matter in the long run. If necessary apologise and then move on with your life. Don’t let silly mistakes ruin the rest of your life!
9. It’s ok to do things that only make sense to you!
You don’t need to follow anyone else’s path nor dance to anyone else’s tune. I know way too many people with a story which goes like ‘ My……………. forced me to do ……….but I wanted to do ……..instead. I was unhappy. Now I’m doing…..and feel so much better.’ Follow your own path, dance your own tune. Don’t feel you have to get a glossy corporate job (unless you want a glossy corporate job!) If you would feel happier doing something creative, do that instead. Do whatever feels right for you. It doesn’t matter if other people don’t get it! Do it anyway!
10. People aren’t watching you as much as you might think!
In the past I’ve been held back by this thought that people are actually interested in what I’m doing, to the point that I worry that they’d have an opinion on how well I’m doing things etc. I’ve finally realised that people have so much stuff going on in their own lives that they literally don’t care what I’m up to. So do whatever makes sense for you and don’t worry about what other people think!
Sarah Cooper is a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner, Aromatherapist and Writer based in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, England.
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