The Cold Penguin

expanding the box

Self acceptance for self improvement

on May 14, 2014

Yesterday I spent a lot of time reading other blogs.  I searched the tag self-improvement since it’s an area I’m interested in, and let’s face it, I’m always trying to improve myself, as many of us are.

I read a lot of well written posts.  Most of them talk about how you need to make a change in order to change your life.  You know, a take on the old saying “What’s the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over again expecting new results.”  And this message is true, its fabulous and one that I need to remind myself of at least once a month.

Then there was a lot about overcoming fears and other life obstacles.  This one is a big issue for me.  Fear holds me back a lot and I know I need to face my fears in order to improve my life in the areas I’m desiring improvement.  It’s just not as easy as it sounds!

I also read a lot of great posts about self acceptance.  These were the most intriguing to me, because self-improvement and self acceptance usually don’t go hand in hand.

Usually when you are trying to improve yourself, it’s because you don’t like an aspect of yourself.  Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional or social, there is something about you or your life that you want to change.  And generally this aspect is looked upon as a negative trait you possess.

I want to change my physical appearance by losing some weight and toning up.  And when you read between the lines, it means I’m unhappy with my body and want to change it.

I want to learn how to better manage stress and not overreact when certain stressors are thrown my way.  Reading between the lines, I’m a big old mess and I need to be cleaned up!

I want to make new friends and have new experiences.  Translation: I am bored, am a boring person, and no one likes me.

Not exactly self acceptance.

Instead of thinking, hey, I’m a big fat slob and need to lose some weight, you need to first accept and love the body you currently have.  Then when you love your body, you will want to take better care of it – and the health and weight loss benefits will start pouring out as a side effect of loving yourself.

I’m just a mess can be changed into I need to focus more on caring for myself because I deserve to be cared for!  Instead of wanting to be fixed or cleaned up, think of stress management techniques as caring and loving for yourself.  Because everyone has stressful moments and it’s ok to be stressed.  Stress is your body and mind saying, “hey, I need a break and some TLC!”  So listen to it and take care of yourself.

And never think you are a boring person that no one likes, because really that is not true at all.  We can all name at least one person who likes or loves us, even if at times we think this is not true.  And just because you may be introverted, does not mean you are not an awesome person!

A neighborhood salon had a slogan painted on their windows.  It said “You’re Alive.  You’re Awesome.  Live Like It.”  I loved this slogan and every time I passed by it I always got a little ego boost.  It’s right.  I’m a great person and I’m alive – so I need to enjoy my current life!

And that doesn’t mean comparing myself to anyone else.  People who are social butterflies with a zillion friends are just different from me.  And if I pretended to be those people, I would be an unhappy and stressed out person.  I enjoy quiet nights in with my husband, having time alone to read, and every now and then going out and visiting with friends and family.  I hate crowded bars and restaurants.  I’m just not that person.  And that’s ok.  My group of friends may be small, but that does not mean I’m boring or unlikable.  It just means that I’m being true to myself and surrounding myself with those that I truly love and care about.  That’s not bad at all!

And if you want to broaden your horizons with new friends and experiences, go for it!  Just figure out what interests you, make a plan to get involved, put fear aside and try it out.

My rule of thumb is, when trying something new, whether it be a new food, a new social group or a new activity, give it at least 2 tries.  The first time is always filled with fear and anxiety.  The second time you know what to expect so the anxiety slips away and you can fully experience what is before you.

So remember, accept yourself as who you are.  If you need a break, it’s ok.  If you need a push, that’s ok too.  Self acceptance is the first step in self-improvement.  It’s the hardest to do, but the rest is downhill from there!




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