I think one of the keys to being happy is to understand why you feel, think and behave the way you do. The first step towards understanding yourself is to accept yourself. The problem with self-acceptance is that we often struggle to see our true self. We tend to either see ourselves through rose tinted glasses and overestimate our strengths. Or conversely, we put ourselves down and exaggerate our weaknesses.
Sometimes there’s a disconnect between who we really are and who we’d like to be. Now I’m all for self-improvement and trying to better yourself. Growing as a person is really important to me. It’s why I prioritise studying, reading, meditating, eating well and training. I’m trying to be a healthier, both physically and mentally, year on year. But, and this is really important, I accept where I’m at now, I’m not desperate to change, just open to growth. Wanting to develop yourself in this way is driven by internal expectations, you do it because it’s important to you.
Wishing to be like someone else or trying to completely change your personality is unreasonable. A distain for who you are and a desperate desire to be someone else is likely to be driven by concern for what other people think of you. This is unhealthy. We must accept who we are right now and learn to love that person.
I mentioned in a previous post that I have been compared by many people to Monica Geller from Friends. As a teenager and into my early 20’s I absolutely hated this. I wanted to be Rachel Green, not Monica! Rachel was fun, easy going, a bit ditzy and the typical ‘girl next door’. In comparison, Monica is uptight, controlling, obsessive, a typical ‘type A’ personality.
For years I struggled to accept and to therefore understand myself. I fought against who I really was, in order to fit in and be accepted by others. I surrounded myself with people that brought me down. People that picked at my insecurities and were quick to remind me of personality traits that I didn’t wish to embrace. I now realise that kind of behaviour says a lot more about them than it does me.
Today, I couldn’t feel more different, I have learnt to love those personality traits I share with Monica. My personality has it strengths and I am rocking it. By accepting who I am, I now understand myself better. The people I chose to have around me are accepting and supportive. I do things that I truly enjoy and value.
Accepting yourself leads to more self-understanding, compassion and kindness. No one can do a better job of being you, so let go of concerning yourself of what’s cool or popular and live a life that is authentic to you.