Someone recently said to me that she wanted to make a big difference with her life, but she struggled to accept herself exactly as she is. One of the things I’ve learnt is that all of the qualities you would like other people to embody, you need to embody yourself, so if you want to be kind, you need to start by being kind to yourself. If you wish people were more accepting, you need to accept yourself.
Being authentic means to be real or genuine. Whenever someone asks you what you think, how often do you give a polite response? You may think you are being kind, and there are instances where you may choose to be, but most people act in this way to avoid potential conflict. Being authentic doesn’t mean being cruel or rude, it simply means saying what you really mean in a way that matches the person you choose to be. You don’t have to explain your actions to others, if you are going to refuse an invitation you can simply say, “Sorry, I can’t make it.” Telling the truth, doesn’t mean being blunt, it’s often not what we say but the way we say it that people react to.
Being authentic means being honest with yourself. How often do you push your needs aside and do what you feel you should do? Do this often enough and it’s natural to feel resentful.
One of the things I love about authentic people is that you can trust them. You may not always agree with them, but you can always respect them, because you know exactly where you stand.
Alcoholics are encouraged to attend 90 AA meetings in 90 days as this helps them change their drinking habits and who they associate with. So if you choose to focus on loving yourself more, consider spending the next 90 days with people whose words and actions support you. You may not always be able to do this with people you work with but you can certainly choose who you spend your time with outside of work.
There is a big difference between loving yourself and feeding your ego. Loving yourself is feeling good about you. It’s about looking in the mirror and liking the person who is looking back at you, not because of your achievements, or the way you look, but because of who you are.
Your ego can tell you that you have to look a certain way, or achieve a certain amount of success in order to be good enough. Your ego may encourage you to talk about yourself all the time and be totally self-absorbed. Your ego may want you to not even try in case you aren’t as good as everyone else. But ego takes you away from loving your life whereas self-love takes you towards loving your life.
Self-love is knowing that you are not your body or your accomplishments, because the body ages and success comes and goes. Self-love is not about being perfect. It’s about knowing that you have made mistakes, and will continue to make mistakes, but that you’re okay exactly as you are.