If you’re very self-critical, you can often times find yourself apologizing to others about the way you are. It can be demoralizing when who you are doesn’t match up with who you want to be. But the way of getting from point A (who you are) to point B (who you want to be) isn’t through negativity or self-defeat, but rather: acceptance.
Accepting who you are now doesn’t mean that you will never change. Accepting who you are now doesn’t mean that you are dangerously overlooking your flaws or your areas of weakness. But if you do accept who you are, it means you are better able to acknowledge those aspects of yourself that are less than perfect and compensate for them if needed.
You can spend your time lamenting the fact that you weren’t born perfect or you can use that energy to work with how you are right now. So, you need an extra push to get your to-do list done? Instead of trying the same things over and over again and failing (making a to-do list then getting overwhelmed at the sight of it and procrastinating to the point that you don’t get anything done), use your resources to do things differently. A resource could be anything: a book, a website, a friend, a co-worker or even a rewards system. The key is first knowing who you are, then accepting it so that you can work with it (rather than against it) to get different results.
How can you learn more about yourself? One way is by taking inventory of your strengths. It’s been found that we often spend most of our energy focusing on our *shortcomings rather than what we do well. Maybe it doesn’t matter so much that your sock drawer is always a mess if you are the type of person who can turn someone’s frown upside down. It’s important to know what your strengths are so that you can bring the best of you to the world (rather than always focusing on the “worst” of you). A great book that can help you with this is StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. It gives an assessment of your skills and lays out strategies for utilizing your strengths in your everyday life.
The most important thing to remember is to keep some perspective on what really matters in the long run. Will you really remember that you didn’t make the best bean dip for your best friend’s party? Or will it matter more that you focused on being the best friend that you could possibly be — flaws and all?
Know yourself, accept yourself, and share your light with the world.
Erika Oglesby is a freelance writer and wandering nomad currently located in Grand Rapids, MI. She is dedicated to helping people better their lives through self-knowledge and alternative therapies — especially women of color and women diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. Visit her website at http://www.erikaoglesby.com.