-Phoebe in Wonderland
Self-acceptance. I am 28 years old and I've only started to get there within the past few years, but let me tell you, it's a beautiful thing to even be on the road headed there. Some of you, like me, might be close, but not quite there yet, some of you might still be trying to figure out who you are in this great big world, and some of you may just be starting on that journey...but don't give up! Self-acceptance is an important part of growing as individuals, and once you get on the right track the universe is a smiling place. I definitely didn't always feel this way growing up, and I'm not fully 100% there yet, but I'm at a good place where I can look in the mirror and say, "hey, I like you!" and feel happy in my life. With that said, I wanted to share some of the lessons I've learned along this grateful path to self-acceptance, as I truly believe that each and every one of us is capable of getting there.
1) Treat yourself with respect. This is such an important one, and naturally the key component in accepting yourself. If you don't respect yourself, how can anyone else? I'm sure there is someone in your life that you love more than anything. Maybe it's your dog, your best friend, your mom, your partner...and if you think about how you treat this person, I'm sure it's with the utmost respect and love. You go out of your way to do nice things for them, call and check in to see how they're doing, and in the case of your pet, you take them out for exercise and give them treats. Now think about yourself- do you treat yourself with the same amount of kindness? Do you tell yourself "I love you"? Do you take a time out and check in with yourself to see how you're doing? Do you exercise your precious body and reward yourself with something you love for a job well done? It's important to look at the relationship you have with yourself and see if it measures up. You deserve me-time, you deserve to surround yourself with positive people who lift you up rather than break you down. When I think of self-respect, I think of it as looking at your body and your spirit as something sacred. I try to put the best fuel in my body in the form of food and drink, because I deserve it. I know how my body feels when I disrespect it with unhealthy food choices. I exercise because I am showing myself respect and it makes me happy to use my body in an active way. I surround myself with positive people who respect me, because I respect myself. I know that for some people it can be hard to see why they should respect themselves. Perhaps growing up someone told them they weren't worth much. But you ARE. You are so beautiful and unique, and you deserve the love that I know you are capable of giving yourself. Start there. Start by telling yourself how wonderful you think you are. Even if you don't yet believe it, you will soon. List all of your great qualities on a piece of paper and tape it to your mirror. Go on a walk, eat healthy, be around other who respect themselves, and you! In time, you will start to see how fabulous you've always been.
2) Stop caring what other people think. If I can summarize one of the major lessons I've learned over the past few years, it's this. We get one life, once chance, one go round on this beautiful world. If you waste your precious time on what other people think, you will go crazy. Everyone always has an opinion. Not everyone will like you, not everyone will agree with you, and the sooner you accept this fact and move on with you life, you will be a lot happier. You need to do what makes your heart happy. You can keep people in consideration, but in the end, it's you you have to answer to. Perhaps you question a fun outfit you put together, maybe you want to make a new friend that you know your other friends won't approve of, let's say you're tempted to make a risky career move...there will be people that support you and people that don't. Always. You just have to make your own decisions, and truly give up what others think. If you live your life for others' approval or for the sake of impressing someone (or everyone), you will never be happy.
3) No one cares as much as you think they do! This goes hand in hand with number two. Even now, at the ripe old age of 28, there are times when I feel totally self-conscious. Let's say I have an event to go to, and I know I will be the only tattooed person there...I often have this five minute dialogue in my head where I have to tell myself that no one cares about my tattoos as much as I think they do. Although I love them so, so much, it can still be annoying and hard to be the only person in a room with visible tattoos. I've experience a lot of rudeness because of them, but ultimately no one cares as much as I think they do. The world does not revolve around me, there is no need to feel uncomfortable in my own skin due to anyone else. I'm sure you know the feeling, you wear something a little weird, maybe a headband that you feel self-conscious in, and all day long you feel like everyone is staring at you...well guess what? They're not! No one cares as much as we build them up to care in our minds.
4) See yourself through someone else's eyes. On the converse side of the last two points I've discussed, it is good to take a step back and see ourselves through the eyes of someone who loves us. When we are struggling to the see the purpose in everyday, when we find it hard to understand our place or our value, there is always someone in the world who finds us valuable. I'd say that my husband, Hank, has been one of the major reasons I've grown to really find my path to accepting myself. When I think about how he sees me, or even really try to see what he sees, I see someone beautiful, caring, and kind. On days when I feel downtrodden or depressed, I now know that it's just a passing mood, and I can remind myself that other people do NOT see me in this way. Take a step back and try and view yourself through the eyes of loving people in your life. The same examples I used above work great here: your pet, best friend, parent or partner. Gain perspective by stepping out of yourself, and more often than not you will be enlightened with how amazing people really think you are.
5) Focus on the positive. So many times I hear people compare themselves to others, "She is just so good at this or that, I could never do that." No? Well guess what- you're absolutely good at something else. Often we get so hung up on what we can't do, that we lose sight of what we can do. Perhaps you have a blog friend that is just amazing at crafts. She can sew, crochet, paint, you name it! You admire her work often, but sometimes you start to experience negative thoughts creeping up, telling you that you're not as good as her, you can't do the things she does. During times like this, stop the negative self talk immediately and remind yourself of all the things you are good at! Maybe you write well, you're a great guitar player, you bake with the best of them, or you can run 10 miles without getting winded. Perhaps you can sew or draw, you can find bargains like no one's business, or you are simply a friend to all. We all have strengths, we all have weaknesses. You can work on your weaknesses, but always remember your strengths...and focus on the positive rather than obsessing over what you lack.
I have more things of this nature that I will continue to share as time goes on, but I wanted to share these five with you today. It's my hope that we as women can learn to LOVE ourselves, and begin to love each other more. Remember, we're all on this same journey. Showing love and compassion can be pivotal on someone else's path, and also your own. We all hurt, we're all growing, we're all learning. It's a beautiful thing to realize how universal our experiences really are. So with that, I hope all of you have a fantastic day! I LOVE YOU!