Many people speak of self confidence and self esteem as if they are the same thing but that is not true. Self confidence is action related whereby you can be confident in one area of your life but not in another. Self esteem is how you value yourself and your place in the world. There is some overlap in the sense that if you have very low self esteem, you are unlikely to be very confident. If you don’t believe that you can create the life that you want, you need to examine your self esteem. And, that starts with accepting yourself. Do you accept yourself for who you are, or are you the type of person who doesn’t feel comfortable in their own skin? In other words you are always trying to be someone else? Feeling comfortable and accepting yourself is important if you want to lead a fulfilling and happy life. Let’s take a look at how you can achieve these feelings.
Your first step is to ask yourself a couple of questions:
- Who is the person that you want to become? Describe this person in detail.
- What are the things that you really care about?
- Is there anything or anyone who you may lose if you start to live the life you truly want?
Write your answers out in detail. This way you have a full description of the person you want to become and why.
During this journey you also need to understand and accept that nobody is perfect. Every person has faults, and you have to learn to live with them. You are now ready to begin living your life the way you want to, and the way you deserve to.
How to make sure you accept yourself
Once you have answered the questions above, you need to make sure that you live your daily life in a manner which allows you to accept yourself for who you are on a daily basis. This requires that you live your life from the inside out. Rather than have others dictate how you live your life; you take charge and determine the course of your own life.
The following are some necessities for achieving this:
1. Know your purpose
Your purpose is the objective of your life. Your purpose is simply how you want to contribute to the world and help make it a better place. It is not necessarily your profession though your profession is often used as a vehicle to fulfill your purpose. For example, education is important part of the purpose for each of the men in my family but we have all gone about it in different ways:
- One brother works in the education sector
- I am a stress and performance coach
- Another brother is a football coach
- My father coached young referees in Gaelic games
Each of us had education had the core of what we do but we just do it in different ways as each of us has our own unique purpose.
If you are unsure as to what your purpose is, the Living Purposefully Workbook can help.
2. Live your values
Your values are like your rules for life. They govern what behaviour you think is acceptable and what you think is unacceptable. Even if you are unaware of your values, and many people are, you do still have values. It may be that you only realise how important one of these values is when you do something which contradicts it e.g. you value honesty but you tell a lie to someone you care about.
Each of us has our own unique set of values and our own definition of each value e.g. you and I may have different interpretations of loyalty. When you are clear about your decisions, you make better decisions and you live happier because you don’t just accept yourself, you are putting that self acceptance into practice.
If you need to identify and define your values, check out Values Based Living.
3. Set effective goals
Many people say they have goals but they have little more than wishes. When it comes to putting the effort in to achieving these goals, they soon run out of steam. The main reason for this is that these goals are usually influenced by the society and their environment. They are not driven by their own needs, wants and desires. If a goal is not driven by your own needs, wants and desires; as soon as you hit an obstacle, you are going to struggle to find the willpower to push through it.
Instead, goals should come from within. The majority of your goals should, at least in some small way, directly serve your purpose. They should help you to be the person you want to be, do the things you want to do and, have the things that you want to have. It is important too that your goals are prioritised in that order i.e. be, do, have. Unfortunately, most people focus on what they would like to have first which leads to goals driven by materialism which are not linked to their purpose. It doesn’t take long before they give up on these goals because they just don’t mean enough to them.
To set effective goals which inspire and motivate you, check out Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting.
4. Prioritise your time
One of the easiest ways to spot whether somebody truly accepts themselves is to watch how they spend their time. You can only effectively manage your time if you put yourself at the centre of your life. To do this, you must accept yourself for who you are and who you want to be.
When you do this, you can then prioritise tasks and projects which help you to live your purpose and achieve your goals. Remaining time can be used to work on projects.
Allow me to give you an example from my own life. Over the past month I have worked on a few projects for voluntary groups. In one of these groups, I wasn’t even getting any respect for the effort I was putting in. In the mean time, it was having an impact on my business as the first half of July was poor from an income standpoint.
I realised that I was not accepting myself and prioritising my needs and wants so I started to reduce my external commitments. Last Wednesday, I had a disagreement with one of the groups and realised it was best for me to walk away. I spent the next 2 days focusing solely on my own business and the results were telling. As a result of my greater focus in the second half of the month, my income for the second half of the month was 4 times my income for the first half.
The lesson is simple. In order to accept yourself on a daily basis, you must be prioritising your own tasks and projects. I am not suggesting that you stop helping others with their projects but it cannot be at the expense of your own work. Prioritise your own work first and then you can see how much time you have available to help others e.g. community groups.
If you struggle with your confidence, check out Unbreakable Self Confidence.
Every day you want to focus on how you can do things that showcase the person you really are and help you become the person you want to be. If you want to speak out about something, then do so. Don’t stay quiet just because your friends or family may not approve. Always try to stay true to yourself as much as possible.
Before going to bed each night ask yourself if you were the best you that you could possibly be. Did you make the right choices or did you let fear keep you hiding in the shadows? This entire journey of accepting yourself will take time, and yes, it may not always be easy… By becoming the person you really want to be, you will be happier and this will reflect on your entire life. To take the self acceptance into your daily life, focus on your purpose, your vision, your goals and how you spend your time. When you do this, self acceptance becomes easy and a happier and healthier life will soon be yours.