Self acceptance is key to happiness. I used to think there was something wrong with me as a woman. I didn’t like to wear make up, jewelry, dresses…I like to be comfortable, wear pants, and be ready in 15 minutes or less, just not what I thought was normal for a woman.
My sister is the exact opposite. She will not leave the house without makeup, and a perfectly-selected outfit. I thought she looked better going to the gym than I would at my own wedding. Ok, I’m exaggerating but you get the point. This was my belief system until I learned better.
It took me until I was nearly 30 years old and a workshop to change those beliefs. I loved turning 30. It was during that time that I finally came into my own, that I finally achieved self acceptance. I became clear as to who I was and embraced that person. What contributed to this realization and embrace was also a style workshop that my sister treated me to. It was a workshop on learning about my colors and body type. I had no idea that a four-hour workshop could so drastically change the way I saw myself.
In the workshop that I attended with other women, I examined for the first time bone structure, shape, and coloring in an objective way. I saw myself in a new light and realized that we are all perfect the way we are. We are exactly the way we were intended to be and unbelievably (at least at the time) the way I like to dress works for me.
The 3 steps to self acceptance:
So here are the steps that were instrumental in my reaching a whole new level of happiness. I do believe that happiness comes from within and self acceptance is key to that happiness.
- Awareness – Truly being aware of yourself and your body is amazing. You’d be amazed at all the little things unique to you that make you beautiful. Forget what the magazines or society deem beautiful. We are all beautiful in our own way. A great lesson I learned about self acceptance from my doctor when I was a teenager was that less than 1% of women could ever be super models. Even if you spent your life working out and eating right, 99% of us just are not made that way and that’s ok.
- Self Acceptance – Accepting yourself for who you are is key to happiness. Do not let yourself be influenced by the media or others. Do not compare yourself to others. What’s the point of that? You can always argue that someone else is happier, more successful, more toned, funnier, wiser… whatever it may be. Appreciate your qualities and know that they make you special and wonderful. I am not saying that you shouldn’t strive to be the best that you can be. On the contrary, I believe that working on ourselves and our happiness is an ongoing process – there’s always room for improvement but we cannot change that which we aren’t aware of.
- Embrace – I love this one. What I learned at the workshop is that I am a bold natural aka an “earth mama”. I’ve never felt right in a little black dress but I do love linen pants. I don’t wear silk blouses but I do wear cotton tunics. Once I embraced me for the way I am, I starting owning it and having fun. I now wear things I never dreamed possible. I even wore pants on my wedding day! Instead of trying to be someone else, someone who I thought I should be, I embraced me just the way I am and let me tell you: self acceptance feels great!
You may already accept and embrace your uniqueness and qualities. That’s awesome! If you’re not there, it’s ok. You and only you, can make you happy so do be patient with yourself, don’t judge, have fun, and be happy!
I’ll leave you with a few great quotes:
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell
“It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine.” – Byron Katie
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde
♦ Byron Katie‘s blog