Head's up, there might be affiliate links ahead!
If you find yourself suffering from the all-too-common belief that you’re not good enough (for pretty much anything), then you might be interested to learn how you can improve your thinking through developing your self-acceptance muscle.
I have lost and kept off over 80lbs, completed half marathons, a half ironman, a fitness competition, built several thriving businesses and earned two degrees, but the hardest goal that I have yet to achieve is a feeling of self-acceptance.
I’m a doer. I look at the steps it takes to achieve something and I take them. Sometimes, I reach my goals. Other times I don’t. But in all cases, I know the path and process to take to get there and I if I work hard enough, I’ll find success. This is not the case with self-acceptance, and with all my flaws and imperfections, I’m not sure I know the way.
Yoga, meditation, fitness, healthy eating and the practice of well-being are all tools in my emotional wellness arsenal I use them to improve myself. But in reality, that’s not accepting what is, as much as it is the active pursuit of fixing what isn’t.
I’ve been pondering this idea since reading Colleen Yee’s book on Yoga. The common thread in the book, something I can certainly identify with, is the underlying feeling of not being enough. Not being beautiful enough for my husband, interesting enough for my friends, smart enough for my career, or good enough to be a success.
Can you relate?
This has become a fascination for me lately as I sense that I’m not alone in my personal anguish of feeling that I’m a little less than. It’s a commonality that most women share, although interestingly, it doesn’t seem to impact men in the same way.
When I look at how this feeling or belief has played out in my life, I can see how it materializes in a pattern of giving up. I can start out on a new path with vigor, but the moment it gets hard, or my insecurities start to rise to the surface, I can find a good reason to give up or throw in the towel. It doesn’t always happen, but I can see where it has manifested in certain opportunities that I’ve felt I would never measure up enough, so I gave up.
Given how powerful this limiting belief can be, I’ve decided to take conscious action to resolve the issue:
- I started therapy back in the spring to dig into where these feelings come from and I’m happy to say I’ve healed a lot of old scars that were rooted in limiting beliefs.
- I’ve also started taking ACTION. I’m starting to put myself out there more in my business endeavors and not letting rejection take me down as it may have done in the past. I work hard, do my best and try not to attach myself or personalize the outcomes. I can’t control other people’s behaviors – just my own.
- I’ve cut the people pleasing behavior that has never served me. I often agree to do things I don’t really want to do because the enticement of being appreciated and loved is really strong for me. But the same thing always happens in these scenarios – I end up feeling a little bitter and resentful for the effort I put in.
I’m learning to do things because I want to and never expecting anything in return. And when I don’t want to do things, I graciously decline.
It’s amazing that these things have started to shift for me since shining a light on them. I will say, finding a good EMDR therapist really helped accelerate the process. I am fortunate that my health insurance covered her services 100% so I took advantage of that to dig deep and resolve a bunch of stuff.
Please don’t get me wrong, I have been a strong, happy resilient person for most of my life, but I saw an area that I could improve and I went for it. That action had a massive impact and I continue to realize the benefits of therapy even though our sessions have come to an end (for now).
As someone with 2 Psych degrees, I see no shame in seeking therapy to manage your life. It’s a powerful tool and one that I highly recommend to get to know yourself better and resolve things that are potentially holding you back.
PS… before I let you go, I wanted to share an excerpt from the book Shift Happens!: How to Live an Inspired Life…Starting Right Now! by Robert Holden (which I highly recommend). I thought it was helpful for driving home the importance of self-acceptance. I’d love your thought on it…
“Self-acceptance is your number one goal in life. Why? Because for as long as you believe that there is something unacceptable about you, you will push away love, you will sabotage success, you will unconsciously conspire against joy, you will struggle, and you will never really find out who you are or what you are really capable of. With self-acceptance, you fear you will lose something, but really you lose nothing that is real and gain everything that is. For instance, with self-acceptance, you lose your fear of lack and gain wholeness, you lose your guilt and gain innocence, you lose your self-criticism and gain great creativity, and you lose your ego and you regain your Unconditioned Self. With self-acceptance, you lose the ground, and you start to fly!”
Got questions about my journey? Ask away – I’m an open book when it comes to personal growth. Happy to help.
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, healthy recipes, home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.