Do you feel ashamed and annoyed by your imperfections?
If so, I can completely relate.
In my last article, I mentioned how I was driven to prove that I was good enough, lovable enough, and worthy enough for my father’s attention. I had such an intense need to be flawless, because I truly believed it was impossible to receive the love that I craved unless I first reached a state of perfection.
It was my life coach who helped me to see that my imperfections are part of my authentic self, and they actually make me more interesting, special, and unique. I began to realize that people find me even more lovable when I screw things up, since it invokes my humanity. Others like to see that we’re only human because, let’s face it, who wants to be around someone who’s perfect all the time?
This has been an important lesson for me. And now I want to share it with you…
Because, if you’re anything like me, you probably tend toward being too hard on yourself. And it’s much easier to make your way through the world if you love yourself. Perhaps our greatest struggle is to accept and love ourselves in spite of our many flaws. Since we tend to be programmed with a desire for perfection, this isn’t something that’s likely to happen without some work.
Self-Acceptance is key to self-love
You can’t experience optimal well-being and unconditional love if you’re always pursuing perfection. The notion of perfection is flawed, it’s an illusion, a human construct that creates more pain and angst than joy. It’s also exhausting, and will distract you from being fully present. So, if you truly want to be happy, try striving for excellence – not perfection.
When I finally acknowledged these truths, I was able to accept my flaws, instead of fighting them. And through a process of self-acceptance, I learned to love myself no matter what by healing the core belief that I have to be perfect if I want to be loved.
Self-acceptance is steady and unconditional. Once you are able to accept yourself despite any perceived flaws, failures, and limitations, you will be able to see yourself and your imperfections as “perfect” for you. You’ll also be more self-forgiving, letting go of self-judgment and perfectionism.
A transformational metaphor for life
In Japan, there’s a centuries-old tradition – known as kintsugi – of mending broken ceramics with gold. Instead of dismissing broken pottery as junk, the Japanese consider it more beautiful and authentic for having been broken.
Literally meaning “golden joinery”, kintsugi is the art of repairing cracked pottery with gold-painted glue. The golden seams that join the broken pieces together accentuate the imperfections that make the object uniquely beautiful.
The philosophy behind kintsugi is to value an object’s imperfections, as well as its beauty, and celebrate them equally. By embracing these flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.
As I see it, this ancient concept doesn’t just apply to broken things— it’s a metaphor for transforming the broken, flawed, painful parts of the self so they may radiate their unique golden beauty.
Kintsugi holds valuable lessons about life and self-love. Its principles help you mend your mind and heal your body by nourishing mind, body and soul. Here are tips on how to do this…
Embrace your imperfections and discover greater self-love
1.Accept your imperfections
Many mental health professionals believe that self-acceptance is necessary before change can occur. And, if you’re feeling stuck, accepting your flaws may be the first challenge to overcome.
The key to a fulfilling and happy life is accepting yourself. Once you acknowledge that your imperfections are a unique part of you, you can move on to loving yourself.
2. Appreciate your uniqueness
Be grateful for your body, mind, and uniqueness. You are better than you think. The most valuable parts of you are those that are different from others. So embrace your qualities, skills, or abilities that are unique. Appreciating what you have makes it easier to love yourself.
3. Detach from your parents’ behavior
Some parents are better than others. Overly critical parents don’t have bad children, they’re just lousy parents. There’s little to be gained by giving your parents a hard time for their inadequacies. The solution is to forgive them and release yourself from the past. Avoid judging yourself based on the parenting you received. It’s a reflection of them, not you.
4. Pay attention to what you say to yourself
Notice if you use negative self-talk that’s humiliating or demoralizing. Does your inner dialogue make you feel inferior, ashamed, or guilty? You don’t want your words to create more pain and suffering. There is a direct link between self-talk and your health and mental wellness.
So, eliminate negative self-talk. Because it’s difficult to love yourself if you’re constantly insulting yourself. Speak to yourself the way you would a good friend. Be a friend to yourself. Be more gentle with yourself. Each time you say something negative, say “cancel clear” immediately and change it to words of love and support.
5. Practice forgiveness
Forgive your past self. Sure, you’ve made some mistakes and probably done and said a few awful things along the way. Who hasn’t? But why drag the past into the present? Learn from the experience and move on. Let it go. You can make a fresh start each day.
If you’re harping on your past transgressions, self-love will be in short-supply. There will be moments when you’re less capable than others, and vice versa. Give yourself a break. Forgive yourself for your flaws and mistakes. You would do the same for someone you care about, so do it for yourself. Know that you are doing the best you can.
Plus, keep in mind that the ability to forgive yourself is proportional to your ability to forgive others. When you practice forgiving others, you’ll find that self-love comes much easier.
6. Be authentic
You may hide your brokenness, because you don’t want to seem weak or incompetent. Yet the art of kintsugi teaches you to honor your broken parts as they are testaments to your unique journeys and to your ability to grow and heal. So, authentically own your scars and celebrate the experiences that taught you the greatest lessons.
In addition, when you put on a persona for the world, you’re not giving others the opportunity to love you as you are. So how will you be able to love yourself? When you’re authentic, the love you receive feels infinitely more meaningful. Living honestly is scary, but surprisingly easy. People admire and respect those with the strength to be authentic.
7. Evaluate your relationships
Toxic people can make it harder for you to accept and love your imperfections. Odds are that at least one of your relationships is poisoning your life. It might be a friendship, romantic relationship, or a relationship with a family member. Reduce contact with those who consistently make you feel bad about yourself. Value yourself enough to avoid negative people that drag you down.
Instead, focus on those relationships that are healthier for you. Spend time with those friends and family who build you up and bring out the best in you.
8. Reframe hardship as opportunity
You may have days that make you feel amazing and on top of the world. You’ll also have days that make you feel defeated, sad, and tired, especially when life takes a turn you didn’t expect—a job loss, a relationship breakup, sickness, the loss of a loved-one. This rollercoaster of life is normal. The key is to avoid letting the difficult days affect you long-term. Regardless of what you’re struggling with or recovering from, look at reframing this hardship as an experience that can help you come out even stronger.
Challenges are a part of everyone’s life. There isn’t something inherently wrong with you because you have obstacles. Turn your focus to brainstorming a solution and taking action on your new approach to each issue.
Celebrate your imperfections!
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”
~ Ernest Hemingway
Your imperfections make you the unique person you are. So, use the tips above to learn to love yourself inside and out. Then you’ll boost your self-confidence, increase your charisma, and gain greater peace as you pursue a life you’ll love.
You have many wonderful qualities that you’ve been overlooking. Believe that you deserve love from yourself and those in your life. A little self-love will enhance every part of your life.
Yet loving yourself, imperfections and all, doesn’t mean you won’t still have goals for self-improvement. You can strive to strengthen your good qualities and develop skills and characteristics that you desire, while loving the person you are.
A gift for loving your imperfections
We know that life can be messy, always changing and rarely perfect. And that’s okay. We can embrace imperfection, finding beauty and authenticity in it. Thus, we acknowledge the perfection of imperfection. In Japan, this idea is known as wabi-sabi.
Earlier I spoke about the Japanese art of kintsugi, which transforms broken pieces into an even more beautiful new object. Kintsugi is a part of the concept of wabi-sabi.
Wabi-sabi is the practice of coaxing beauty out of unexpected places, from a broken vase and teacup to upended plans and unexpected setbacks. An ancient philosophy rooted in Zen Buddhism, wabi-sabi is sometimes described as appreciating beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature.
The wabi-sabi tea ceremony is a ritual of purity and simplicity in which Zen masters prized bowls that were handmade, irregularly shaped, with uneven glaze and cracks, yet possessed an unexpected beauty in their deliberate imperfection. These antique bowls are prized because of (not in spite of) their drips and cracks.
What if you learned to prize the drips and cracks in your messy life?
For ways to bring greater self-love into your life, click here and claim your FREE gift, The Wabi-Sabi Path To Greater Happiness Checklist. Wabi-sabi is a practice easily applied in everyday life. This checklist is a gift that:
- Invites a celebration of your imperfections as potential strengths (not weaknesses).
- Inspires you to live in the present moment.
- Encourages you to recognize and treasure the gifts you have.
- Brings a sense of calm, presence and beauty into your life.
- Helps you find happiness right where you are and joy in everything you do.
Click here now to claim your free gift: The Wabi-Sabi Path To Greater Happiness Checklist.
Till next time,
I hope you took some time over the last two weeks to think about a relationship in your life that has been suffering; that you’ve reflected on your memories of time spent with that person.
If you recall, I encouraged you to remove all judgment and consider only the positives that this connection brought to your life.
You may have completed my Let Go of What’s Holding You Back checklist and worksheet to help you decide whether to let go with grace or take steps to restore that relationship.
If you’ve chosen to restore a relationship to a place of importance in your life and you’ve set new boundaries, it’s time to talk about how to embrace the path forward.
We’ll frame that path in the context of forgiveness, acceptance, and enjoyment.
For many of us, all the strain and added stress from the pandemic and a contentious election year transferred over to our relationships. The loss of face-to-face interaction during stay-at-home measures meant communication had to happen in new and challenging ways, like video, text, email, etc. Our messages and meaning may have gotten lost in translation. We may have felt misunderstood or unheard, and the other person may have felt that way too. And when frustrations boiled over, grace was not always extended.
All of this is understandable. The absence of social interaction has deeply affected relationships. To be able to embrace the path forward, we must first extend forgiveness for all missteps made during this time — to yourself and to the other person.
If we hope to restore a relationship, acceptance must follow forgiveness. You or the other person may have acted in ways that have created feelings of guilt or shame. Practicing self-love can be a powerful first step to overcome these feelings and move towards acceptance of yourself and the other person.
Moving forward, life will return to a version of normalcy. But it is helpful to acknowledge that things may never be the same for this relationship. In some cases, scars from past hurts will remain, but there may also be opportunities for deeper and more meaningful connections.
We must acknowledge the collective loss of connection we have all experienced. We’ve lost precious time together, whether it be family celebrations, life milestones, or normal social activities. The enjoyment we derive from these moments of connection cannot be underestimated. They are crucial to our overall quality of life.
Focusing on enjoying life is a great first step not only to reconnect with this person but to restore some sense of normalcy to your own life. Think about what it was you missed about the other person and relationship. What drew you to each other in the first place? What did you enjoy doing together? Maybe it was that weekly cup of coffee, a chat at the mailbox, or a morning dog walk together. Now is the time to rekindle those simple moments of enjoyment.
Embracing the Path Forward Through Human Connection
In time, we’ll resume some semblance of our past routines and day-to-day life.
Whatever that looks like, we will always have an innate human need for connection. And relationships are essential for our overall wellness.
Your social connections will come from existing relationships and any new ones you choose to cultivate. As for this particular relationship — it has suffered so it is fragile. Restoring it may not be easy, but it is possible when you practice forgiveness, acceptance, and enjoyment.
Before you get started, check in with yourself and your feelings. What is your general attitude as you consider restoration? Then click here to claim your FREE gift, A Checklist For Keeping a Positive Attitude, to help you maintain an optimistic mindset along the way.
Make an effort to stay open to the new things you might discover about yourself and the other person along the way. I wish you luck in your relationship repair.
Until next time, click here and sign up for my future articles to be delivered to your inbox.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~ Maya Angelou
What does it mean to thrive?
Thriving is feeling empowered and abundant. Thriving is living life on your terms and acknowledging that you can achieve whatever you desire.
You might be thinking to yourself, I wish that were me.
Perhaps, instead, you feel powerlessness? Scarcity? Like you’re following a plan somebody else prescribed for you?
If this is you, it’s important to be aware that you do have power over your circumstances. You can develop yourself. You have the ability to thrive.
And thriving begins with cultivating your six pillars.
It isn’t enough to maintain one or two pillars. You need all six.
Each pillar contributes to a solid foundation on which you can build the life you desire. When all of your pillars are strong and well-maintained, you feel energized, inspired, and empowered. Your purpose is clear, and you’re able to manifest the life you desire.
But when any one of these pillars is neglected, your foundation becomes shaky… and collapses. This is when you start feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and stretched thin.
As you read on about each pillar, reflect on the condition of the pillars in your life. Are they fortifying your foundation? Or do you need to give two or three of those pillars more attention?
These reflections will help you understand where to focus your efforts this year.
Are you ready to learn how to stop enduring and start thriving? Let’s begin.
The 6 Pillars of Well-Being: How to Thrive in 2021 and Beyond
#1 The Pillar of Self-Care
Self-care is about tending to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Without self-care, your other pillars will certainly fall.
Because putting your needs secondary to others and playing catchup with your health puts you on a continuous swing between stress and ease.
When you maintain your pillar of self-care, YOU are the priority.
- You care for your body through nutrition, sleep, and exercise.
- You tend to your mind and emotions through journaling or meditation.
- You nurture your spirituality through faith and prayer.
A strong pillar of self-care will bring greater ease as you work on your other pillars.
#2 The Pillar of Self-Acceptance
Self-acceptance is about embracing all aspects of who you are, and that includes your not-so-favorite traits.
When you accept yourself, you tell yourself that you are worthy of love, support, and kindness. Self-acceptance can lead to more confidence, optimism, and attracting better relationships.
So, how do you accept yourself unconditionally?
Start with keeping your inner critic in check when it tells you that you’re not worthy of acceptance. When you overcome your inner critic and recognize your value, your shame and guilt diminish. In its place, love and acceptance can flourish.
#3 The Pillar of Self-Worth
The pillar of self-worth is about knowing your existence carries inherent value.
You don’t have to do anything to prove it to yourself. You don’t need to look a specific way, have a certain amount in the bank, or have some title attached to your name.
You are worthy as you are.
Recognizing your self-worth begins with reclaiming the power you’ve given away. Each time you put self-care on the back burner or let your inner critic win, you surrender some of your power.
To reclaim your power, return to your pillar of self-care. Each act of self-care reminds you that you are worthy of care and love. And when you can internalize this belief, you will slowly recognize the self-worth stirring within you.
#4 The Pillar of Self-Preservation
Self-preservation is integrated into our core DNA because it focuses on what is necessary to survive.
Yet, women often overgive their resources — time, money, energy, mental bandwidth — and suffer the consequences.
This is counterproductive to your survival.
Think about it.
Does thriving look like signs of burnout? Does thriving feel like you’re stretched thin in every direction?
You know the answer.
You may not realize you’re overextending yourself because you haven’t established boundaries that protect your interests. By clarifying, “This is what I need to feel balanced, and this is how I will do it,” you can know when a decision crosses those boundaries.
This distinction can help you begin saying no to others and yes to you.
#5 The Pillar of Self-Advocacy
Self-advocacy is about using your voice to ask for what you need.
Too often, you struggle in silence. Yet, you say nothing. Instead, you quietly wish for things to change.
If there is something you need, ask for it. If you need accommodations at work, ask your boss. If you need to change something at home, ask your spouse.
Stop asking if you even “deserve” such a request. You don’t ask if you deserve to breathe. You just do, because it’s natural to your survival.
Similarly, you don’t need to ask if you deserve to feel empowered, or centered, or heard. If the desire is there, the only thing left is for you to initiate the change.
Return to the pillar of self-preservation and enforce those boundaries when you or other people cross them.
#6 The Pillar of Self-Love
The pillar of self-love is exactly what it sounds like: loving yourself.
This pillar is often the most difficult for women to maintain.
Because self-love seems selfish or greedy? Caring for yourself means you’re not caring about others?
Self-love is anything but.
Rather, self-love is the pathway to achieving everything you desire in life, including supporting others.
When you love yourself, you take actions that improve you. And when you improve yourself, you become a more empowered woman. When you’re a more empowered woman, you have greater resources to share with others.
But when you fail to love yourself, you engage in behavior that sabotages your well-being — whether or not you’re aware of it. How can you love others when you’re not in the right mindset or conditions to share your love? Your cup is empty.
Loving yourself is a pillar to thriving. Tend to this pillar, and you will eventually manifest the life you desire.
What Does It Mean to Thrive?
You will probably agree that thriving is about living life on your terms.
- Before, you felt stretched thin. This year, you will feel fortified and empowered.
- Before, you followed the whims of others. This year, you will create and follow your own plan.
- Before, you felt like you never had enough. This year, you will have more than enough to share with yourself and your loved ones.
Take a moment to reflect on these six pillars of thriving. Which of these pillars need nurturing in your own life?
It may be one. There may be two. Perhaps even all of them!
The true blessing in life is that you have the opportunity to create the changes you desire. And this article offers a starting point for your self-development journey.
Isn’t it time to acknowledge that you’re the captain of your own ship? Only you can decide that you have the power to do whatever you want with your life.
To help you start making tangible changes in your life TODAY, I’m offering you this free gift: Your Building Blocks For Personal Empowerment Checklist.
When you develop your personal strength and resolve, any life you choose is within your reach. This checklist will provide:
- Stepping stones for building your reserves of personal strength.
- Encouragement to take action and go after what you want.
- Tips for enhancing your own sense of personal empowerment.
Click here now to claim your free gift: Your Building Blocks For Personal Empowerment Checklist.
As a woman, it can often feel like your self-image is competing with the image of the “perfect woman” that mainstream media perpetuates.
A few decades ago, that image was mostly domestic, feminine, and submissive.
Today, that image has evolved into the “woman who can do it all.” She can raise her three children, run a successful business as a CEO and be a loving and supportive wife — all while looking like a Victoria Secret model.
Needless to say, this has created unrealistic expectations. And if you continuously measure yourself against these high standards, you might start…
- Criticizing your appearance
- Questioning your worth
- Feeling guilty about taking time for yourself
- Fearing other people’s opinions
- Feeling hopeless about yourself
These self-sabotaging thoughts slowly manifest in your reality. You may avoid experiences and meeting new people because you feel insecure. You might not communicate your needs to your partner because you feel undeserving. You don’t take time for yourself because you feel your well-being is secondary to other people’s needs.
So, you may replace your goals with wishes that you were somebody else… Somebody prettier or smarter or “more worthy”. Yet, the truth is that you are you.
Instead of wishing for a different life, what if you could accept yourself as you are? What if I told you that who you are at this moment is wonderful because you have amazing gifts that make you unique?
Imagine waking up each morning and looking at your reflection.
Instead of seeing what you lack or what you wish you could be, you see your true self. More than that, you accept and love the incredible woman looking back at you. This is self-acceptance. While it may sound like a simple solution to what you’re feeling, it’s not always the easiest.
If you’re feeling unhappy with yourself, this article is for you. We’ll explore why you may feel this way and actions you can take to accept yourself unconditionally.
What Is Self-Acceptance?
Accepting yourself unconditionally is exactly what it sounds like — embracing all aspects of who you are. This includes your best characteristics and some traits that might not be your favorite.
Learning self-acceptance is one of the most essential things you can do for yourself. It’s a message to yourself that you are always worthy of love, support, and kindness — on your best days and in your darkest moments.
Each morning you send yourself these messages, your life slowly shifts in a positive direction:
- You feel comfortable in your skin
- You feel deserving of unconditional love and acceptance
- Pessimism diminishes and optimism flourishes
- Your purpose feels clearer and more accessible
- You attract deep and high-quality relationships
Eventually, you create a deep well of abundance, love, and joy within you. The benefits of self-acceptance are so profound, yet so many women struggle with loving and accepting themselves.
Why is this?
Why You Might Be Unhappy With Yourself
Learning how to accept yourself unconditionally can be challenging. You work so hard caring for others and providing for your family. And you might tend to set impossibly high standards that leave you feeling lacking. In addition to this, some of the following may feel familiar to you:
- Excessive negative self-talk: Your thought streams are dominated by self-directed criticism and negativity. Continuous reminders of your flaws make them more prominent than they might actually be, making them difficult to accept.
- Living in the past and future: Past events may make you feel unworthy of self-acceptance and love. Or you may not feel like you can accept yourself until you achieve a future goal.
- Not practicing physical self-care: There is a powerful connection between your internal and external world. When you don’t take care of your physical body, it may create the unintended belief that you’re unworthy of kindness and acceptance.
- Surrounding yourself in negativity: Continuous exposure to negative sources, like pessimistic people or the news, can cultivate unwanted pessimism and irritability. This can leave you in an undesirable mindset where it may be difficult to accept yourself unconditionally.
- Using media to measure your worth: While female empowerment is praiseworthy, unrealistic expectations can sabotage your well-being. Yes, women can achieve amazing things, but that shouldn’t suggest women can do it all. This can be a hard truth to accept, especially if mainstream media tells you that you can and you should.
These are just a few sources of unhappiness that might be blocking you from embracing who you are. Once you recognize them in your life, try these tips to help you accept yourself fully.
How to Accept Yourself Unconditionally: 5 Ways to Help You Fully Embrace Who You Are in This Moment
#1 Forgive Yourself
Sometimes, the greatest obstacle to accepting yourself unconditionally is something you’re holding onto in the past.
Perhaps you disappointed yourself and feel you’re unworthy of love and acceptance. Or maybe you let somebody else down, and this made you question your value.
Whatever mistake you feel you’ve made, it’s time to let go.
“Mistakes are not a final destination but a stop that prepares us for the journey,” said Gustavo Razzetti in Psychology Today, “We must learn from them and continue moving forward.”
If a memory is holding you back, take a moment to reflect.
What happened? How do you feel about it? Why do you think you feel that way?
Now, find the lesson.
Even a painful memory bears the gift of wisdom, if you’re willing to hear it.
Then, close your eyes and tell yourself, That time has passed. I have learned from it, and it has strengthened me. I move on and embrace who I am in the present moment.
Release yourself from the shame and guilt and forgive yourself.
#2 Recognize Your Inner Critic
You’re often your greatest critic, and there are times when your negative self-dialogue can sound convincing.
To help you overcome your inner critic, try seeing her as a person separate from you.
Separating your inner critic from your identity will help you realize that you don’t actually think these negative things about yourself — it’s your inner critic talking!
This can help you take your self-directed criticism with a grain of salt. Also, it can help you balance that criticism with reminders of your strengths and gifts.
Accepting yourself unconditionally doesn’t mean ignoring all your perceived “flaws.” It means seeing the woman you are — strengths, weaknesses, and all — and loving her all the same.
#3 Overcome the Shame and Guilt of Self-Kindness
Self-acceptance can be challenging when we attach negative stigmas.
In today’s fast-moving culture, you might think that accepting yourself as you are right now is a sign of laziness or lack of ambition. You might even think it’s an act of self-kindness that is indulgent and shameful.
It’s time to shift that perspective.
Unconditional self-acceptance is a gateway to thriving and putting more positivity in your world.
When you accept yourself fully, you cultivate a healthier relationship with yourself. You’re more motivated. Happier. And purpose-driven.
Self-acceptance isn’t indulgent or shameful at all — it enables you to manifest your gifts, care for, and love yourself, and then create a well of abundance you can share with others.
#4 Embrace Where You Are in this Moment
Society might make it feel like you must meet certain milestones with arbitrary deadlines.
By 21, you’re finished with school. By 25, you’ve built a successful career. By 30, you’re settling down with a partner and children. And if you “fall behind schedule”, it feels like you’re failing.
As an ambitious woman, you might find it easy to fall prey to this type of thinking.
However, happiness and self-acceptance aren’t measured in external milestones. They are something you can experience at every stage of your journey — not just the destination.
You don’t have to wait to accept yourself until after you buy the big house or get the promotion. Nor do you have to compare your progress to the journey of the woman next to you.
You can feel happiness and self-acceptance right now, in this very moment.
#5 Tell Yourself You Are Deserving of Love and Joy
I’m serious. Say it out loud.
I deserve love and joy.
When you’re caught up in your negative self-dialogue, you might forget this. Over time, your negative inner chatter may harm your self-perception.
Yet, when you tell yourself that you deserve love and joy, you also tell yourself that you are capable of change.
You are capable of growth.
Even if you might struggle with loving yourself consistently, you can take steps each day toward accepting yourself unconditionally.
And if you need support in that journey towards self-love and self-acceptance, I’m here to walk alongside you. After all, a little guidance can make all the difference in achieving the life you desire. When you’re ready, claim a Complimentary 60-minute “Accepting Yourself Breakthrough” Discovery session with me.
In this 60-minute consultation, you’ll:
- Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you’re no longer beating yourself up and, instead, are holding yourself with compassion
- Get simple and practical tips for how to accept yourself unconditionally
- Tap into greater love, ease, and joy
- Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.
Click here now to claim your Complimentary “Accepting Yourself Breakthrough” Discovery session.