Even as an adult I can still fall into the deficit thinking trap - wasting time thinking about the things I should do or worse should be - I should exercise more, I should ear more healthy, I should stick to a budget, I should be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend. I should be more generous with my time, I should be more patient or I should be more grateful. The list goes on.
However I have come to realise that a preoccupation with what we should be distracts us from the things we are and prevents us from valuing ourselves. Always wishing or trying to be something we are not also prevents us living to our fullest and having authentic relationships with others.
Guidelines for accepting yourself as immeasurably, utterly and completely fine as you are - warts and all:
- Accept Yourself Body and Soul -
- Know your Own Values -The Emotion Machine , provides a 5 minute activity to help you determine your most important values. Give it a try.
- Don't Pretend to Be Something You're Not (or like something you don't) -
- Know your own Strengths and Stretches -A quick way to discover your strengths is to take the “Brief Strengths Test” created by Martin Seligman. This test takes just a few minutes to complete and measure 24 different strengths.
- Be Aware of Your Own Thoughts- you can test, challenge and change your self-talk. You can change some of the negative aspects of your thinking by challenging the irrational parts - take the inner voice to task and question the validity of what it is saying (Is it true? Does it make me feel good? Does it help me reach my goals?) Or try replacing them with more reasonable thoughts. Doing this will enable you to feel better and to respond to situations in a more helpful way. Ben Martin in the article Challenging Negative Self Talk provides a list of challenging questions to ask yourself. Free Self-Esteem Worksheets can be downloaded Self -Esteem School.
So while I didn't believe it when my Mum told it to me all those years ago, with the benefit of hindsight and the experience of years, I now know it's true. "Just Be Yourself" because the people who know and care for me will LOVE YOU just the way you are - warts and all.