If you’ve ever told a little girl that she looks pretty, you have probably heard the response “I know!” or something similar. Yet, if you tell an adult woman that she looks nice, you will probably get a ducked head, a self-defacing comment, or a redirection of your compliment. So what happens to our self-confidence in between our childhood and adulthood, and why can’t we love ourselves? Too often we set impossible standards for ourselves before we consider ourselves worthy of love or even positive thoughts. This is incredibly damaging, so how do we fix it?
How Mindfulness Can Help You Accept Yourself
“Mindfulness” is a major buzzword that’s generated thousands of articles and how-tos over the last year, but mindfulness isn’t meditation or simply an exercise. The act of being mindful teaches core principles you can carry into your daily life that will ultimately make you a more accepting and caring person toward others and yourself. Mindfulness is about being focused on the moment you are in, while not being overwhelmed or reactive to what is going on around you. This allows you to enjoy the moment without worrying about what others think or judging yourself.
Stop Identifying with Your Worst Traits
Think about the people you love most in the world. Your mom. Your best friend. Your husband. Now, think of two qualities each person exhibits that you don’t like. Do these traits make up the whole person? Not at all. The same goes for you.
Being able to admit that you have certain traits or exhibit certain behaviors you dislike doesn’t make you less likable; if anything, it shows that you’re self-aware. The ability to notice things you dislike about your past, yourself and your actions grants you the opportunity to heal, grow and make things better in the future.
The second you decide to accept yourself as you are, you are forever changed. You may lapse into periods of self-doubt and maybe even sometimes self-hatred, but you will always be a step further than you were before you decided to start valuing yourself more than your flaws.
Surround Yourself with the Right Company
It’s difficult to accept yourself when the people around you don’t. Although it may be difficult to sever ties with family or people you’ve known for years, it’s even more important, to be honest with yourself and acknowledge a toxic relationship and its impact on your personal growth. No one else deserves to own your future, so you have to take the necessary steps to protect your present self from people that will only stall your growth.
As women, we need the support of other women to help develop ourselves. When we struggle, we are best lifted by other women. Many recovery centers utilize women-specific programs for that very reason. We understand each other and how our emotions work. Reach out to other women and let them help you see yourself as you really are.
Start with the Now
As you embark on a new journey of self-acceptance, shape a mindset that will allow you to break up with painful memories and emotions associated with them. Say, “Now, I…” and take a deep breath. Now you breathe. You open your eyes and see the world around you and revel in discovering your place in it. Now you love.