If you’ve spent any time in my corner of the world, you know that I’m all about getting better. I’m a junkie for self-development, change, and growth. And if you’ve found your way here, I bet that you can say the same thing for yourself!
And yet, no matter how gung-ho you might be about self-improvement, sometimes you just get tired. That 24/7 drive can wear you out. And eventually, you might find yourself wondering if constant go, go, go is REALLY the key to happiness.
I mean, seriously…what if you actually are OK just the way you are right now?
It’s an interesting question, especially for goal-driven groove seekers like us, isn’t it?
I hear it all the time from the women I work with. So many of us struggle with self-acceptance, constantly hustling and pushing ourselves to be some version of “better.”
When sometimes the secret to growth is giving yourself a break!
What it comes down to is finding a way to balance the drive to improve yourself and the importance of self-acceptance. It’s balancing the desire for growth with the need for grace.
Of course, cutting yourself some slack isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a results-driven, Type-A like I am!
Let me share a story and you’ll see what I mean…
A few nights ago, just after Easter, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling defeated, exhausted, and angry. Angry mainly with myself.
We’d just gotten through a holiday weekend. And I was feeling pretty miserable in the aftermath of several not-so-healthy holiday food choices I’d made.
Only I wasn’t heaping a ton of criticism on myself for JUST one holiday. I took it a LOT further than that…(because why not, right?!)
There I was, calling myself out about for every food free-for-all I’d indulged in over the past few weeks. I was lying there, wide-awake, drowning in shame. Calling myself dumb and pathetic. Wondering why I couldn’t just get my shit together and discipline my ass to be better.
Needless to say, it didn’t make for a very good night’s sleep. And what really struck me after the fact was that I would never speak to anybody else in that way. Not my children. Not my clients. Not a perfect stranger.
So why was I short-changing myself in the love department?
No matter how much you desire a change in your life, excessive self-criticism isn’t the answer. Neither is focusing on everything that you believe is wrong without giving yourself credit for everything you’re doing right.
And like I described in my story above, everyone falls down that shame spiral from time to time. But if you’ve only ever been able to kickstart change by shaming yourself into submission, it might be time to give yourself a little bit of a break and a LOT of love.
What’s the secret? It’s finding the balance between the acceptance of where you are now and the drive to become your best possible YOU.
Sound impossible? It’s actually a lot easier than you might think! And today, I’m going to share four tips that’ll help you keep your eye on the prize while remembering that you’re already a treasure.
How do you keep striving for the next level and still remember what a badass you are right now? Let’s get right to my top four tips right now!
You don’t have to either accept yourself as you are or continue to grow. This is not an either/or proposition.
Just because you accept where you are doesn’t mean that you’re not seeking improvement.
You can acknowledge that you’re not perfect in every way and still be grateful for everything that you ARE in this moment.
So first, remember that it’s not an either/or thing. You don’t have to choose between loving yourself and changing yourself. You can do both at once!
Let’s be real. We all have things we’d like to improve. But if you browbeat yourself into changing by dwelling on what you do wrong, it’s not going to end well.
Most of us default to self-criticism as our primary motivator. But what happens when you try to force, blame or guilt-trip your way into being a better you?
The subtext in that strategy is that you’ll believe you are only worthy of self-acceptance AFTER you change.
But here’s the truth: no matter how unhappy you are in any area of your life, you are ALWAYS worthy of love, acceptance, and grace.
When you force yourself to change from a place of shame, embarrassment, or disgust, you end up feeling disempowered. Rejected. Maybe even unloved.
And you can guess what that does for your motivation, right?
But what if you traded self-loathing for self-love? What if you focused on everything you do RIGHT instead of dwelling on everything you think is WRONG?
Try this approach: acknowledge everything you’re awesome at FIRST. And as for what you want to fix or improve? Lucky you! You get to work on those things. And eventually, the things that used to be “wrong” will become another thing on your “awesome” list!
So focus on your strengths. And consider the things that you want to change as exciting self-improvement projects. Base your desire for change on love rather than fear.
I’m sure there’s something that you wish you did a lot better. But every time you feel that twinge to make a change, ask yourself this: what’s the reason behind that burning desire to change something? What are your real intentions in the self-improvement game?
Maybe you think you have to change to please someone else. Or maybe you believe that losing 20 pounds, getting a better job, or becoming a better friend might make finally make you feel loved, valued, or worthy.
But if your motivations are tied to external sources (like other people’s approval), you’re fighting a losing battle from the start.
Why? Because until you feel content with yourself on the inside, making lasting change on the outside will be a tall order. And if you try to change to get someone else’s approval, you’ll probably fall short of both the change and the approval.
So ask yourself the tough questions. And be honest about what is behind your desire to be different.
Here’s the thing: accepting yourself is not the same as resigning yourself to the status quo. It’s something that I’ve struggled to really “get” over the years. But when it finally clicked, it was a game-changing a-ha moment for me.
Accepting yourself for who and where you are doesn’t mean you’re resigned to your current situation. It’s not saying that you’ve given up all hope of change. Acceptance is just an acknowledgment of what IS.
What else does acceptance say? That no matter what, you’re a worthy human being. That you deserve love, acknowledgment, and grace. Sure, you might not like everything about your life right now. But you love, honor, and respect yourself in every moment.
And you are worthy just as you are right NOW.
So the idea that you’ll only be worth when you’re thinner, richer, more successful in your business, or happier in your relationships is ineffective at best. And damaging at worst.
Accept yourself as you are right now, and let your own self-respect be the catalyst for change.
If you want to meet your goals without hating yourself until you get there, take action from a place of honor rather than anger. It’s the only way to sustain your motivation and create change that lasts.
So acknowledge and love who you are now. And remember that your self-improvement projects are simply the starting point of something amazing!
It’s OK to be unhappy about where you are, as long as it doesn’t devolve into self-loathing. Nothing good comes from a space of hate. It’s objective, non-judgmental acknowledgment that is the key to growth. Not forcing, shaming, or blaming.
Sure, perhaps you got to where you are through a few questionable decisions. But your value as a person cannot be reduced to a string of choices. YOU are much bigger than the decisions you made in the past.
And every day is an opportunity to make a NEW choice!
So instead of making a self-improvement project into a prison sentence, make it a journey of expansion, growth, and gratitude. And remember to give yourself a break every now and then. After all, you deserve the same kind of love and support you give to the rest of the world!
Everyone on this planet is on their own personal journey. And your only job is to find your path, honor yourself, and move toward the highest version of you that you can be every single day. With a whole lot of self-love and grace along the way!
So which of these four tips speaks to you the most? Does one stand out more than the others, or do all of them resonate? Leave me a comment and let me know!