No one is perfect. We all have flaws, quirks and shortcomings. The key to a happy life lies in accepting those little imperfections as well as our own strengths and weaknesses.
Self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you’re okay with everything in your life. It’s okay to want more, to improve and grow as a person. Self-acceptance just means that you recognize what you have now, accept it and then work towards making the changes that will make your life happier.
If you want to work on improving your self-acceptance, start by developing the following habits:
Let go of comparison.
Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s so easy to compare our lives to others, to wish we had what they have or to envy them their successes. But when we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others, we lose sight of who we are and what makes us happy.
Focus on your own journey, not someone else’s. Celebrate your own accomplishments, even if they don’t seem as impressive as someone else’s. And learn to be happy for other people’s successes – that doesn’t mean you’re not ambitious or striving for more, it just means you’re comfortable in your own skin.
Be honest with yourself and others.
We can’t work on improving ourselves if we’re not honest about our strengths and weaknesses. And the only way to build trust and meaningful relationships is by being truthful with others.
Start by being honest with yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, because that will only lead to frustration and unhappiness. And be honest with others – they’ll appreciate your candor and it will help build stronger relationships.
When we’re hard on ourselves, it’s difficult to be kind and accepting. But when we practice self-compassion, it becomes much easier to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and shortcomings.
Think of self-compassion as friend who understands your flaws and is always there to offer encouragement. Be patient with yourself, give yourself some slack and learn to accept your mistakes. When you do, you’ll feel more content and happier with who you are.
Be mindful of your thoughts.
Our thoughts play a major role in our happiness. If we’re constantly thinking negative or self-defeating thoughts, it’s going to be difficult to be happy and content with our lives.
Instead, try to be more mindful of your thoughts. Pay attention to the kind of thoughts that make you happy and those that bring you down. And when you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, challenge it. Is it really true? What evidence do you have for this thought? Are there other ways to look at the situation?
Be your own friend.
When we’re unhappy with ourselves, we tend to treat ourselves badly – we put ourselves down more often than we encourage ourselves or get frustrated with our mistakes instead of trying to learn from them (and then forgiving ourselves). And while having constructive criticism is important for improving yourself and your life, self-loathing is not.
Start by treating yourself with the same kindness, understanding and love that you would show to a good friend. When you’re your own best friend, it’s easier to be okay with who you are and to make positive changes in your life.
Respect your body.
Your body is the only one you’ll ever have, so it’s important to learn how to treat it right – which includes both eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, but also respecting your body by not abusing it with harmful behaviors like smoking or drinking alcohol in excess.
When you treat your body well, it’s easier to appreciate its strength and resilience. While injuries or other physical problems can make this challenging at times, it is still possible to feel like your body is capable of amazing things while also honoring the limitations that come with certain conditions.
Deciding something without thinking about it doesn’t mean making the wrong choice; sometimes having faith in yourself means accepting that you know what’s best for you even when no one else agrees (or maybe especially when no one else agrees).
Whether it’s deciding to quit a job, applying for college or just staying home on Friday night instead of going out with friends, trust yourself enough to go after what you think is right even when everyone else tells you otherwise. You’ll likely surprise yourself with how capable you are when you believe in yourself.
Change is a natural part of life, and it’s something that we all have to deal with – whether we want to or not. While some people find change difficult, others thrive on it. The key to embracing change (instead of dreading it) is to accept that it’s a part of life and that there’s nothing we can do to stop it.
When we learn to go with the flow and not resist change, it becomes less disruptive and more manageable. Plus, embracing change means being open to new opportunities and experiences, which can only lead to a more fulfilling life.
Forgive yourself and others.
Holding grudges against ourselves or others does nothing but eat away at our happiness and peace of mind. It’s important to learn to forgive – not just for the other person’s sake, but for our own as well.
When we forgive, we release ourselves from the burden of anger and resentment. We’re also able to move on from the past and focus on the present and the future, both of which are far more positive than dwelling on things that can’t be changed.
Live in the moment.
This is possibly one of the most important habits for living a happy life – learning to live in the moment rather than always worrying about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow.
When we learn to live in the moment, we free ourselves from regret over the past and anxiety over the future. We’re able to appreciate life for all of its beauty while being fully present in every single moment that we have.
While these are only 10 habits, there are many more that can help you learn to accept yourself and embrace your life. The key is to learn how to be happy right now instead of waiting until you get everything figured out or thinking about how perfect life will be one day (because it’s not going to be perfect; it will just be full of its own ups and downs). So enjoy the ride and appreciate every moment for all that it teaches you.