It can be difficult to learn how to accept yourself, especially since we often hold ourselves to impossible standards. You may want to look a certain way, get your dream job directly right out of college, or achieve some other sort of goal — one that may be realistic or otherwise. And when these things don't happen right away (or ever), it can be easy to start wishing you were different.
It's time to stop beating yourself up for not being "perfect." And that's because there's no such thing. The definition of perfection is constantly changing in our society (think back to any trend in history that now seems totally bizarre). So there really is no "right" answer when it comes to what we should be doing with our lives, how we should look, or how we should act.
This is good news for those of us who feel like we are constantly playing catch up. Once you realize that you don't have to "be" any certain type of way, then you are free to start accepting all the little things you feel you are doing wrong. Give yourself a chance to feel comfortable in your own skin, and to appreciate the things that make you different.
Here are some ways to accept yourself in all of your unique glory.
1. Love Your Quirks And Personality "Flaws"
None of us are robots who get up in the morning, march off to work, say all the right things, and then return home having not ruffled any feathers. We are all human, and that means we are late to things, we say the wrong thing, or rub people the wrong way. And that's fine. You can't make everyone happy, so just do you and appreciate your lovely personality exactly the way it is.
2. Appreciate The Way You Look
It's easy to dislike the way you look while you're growing up. After all, the transformation from adorable kid to sweaty, greasy, gangly teenager is rarely a glamorous one. These years are often a tornado of zit creams, growth spurts, and bad haircuts. What a mess. But then your twenties comes along, and suddenly you transform into a swan with grace, style, and the ability to manage your hair. Right?
Maybe not. It's common to feel just as awkward in your 20s (and beyond) as you ever did in your teens. Maybe you still don't like your curly hair, or freckles, or height. And that's fine. Not everyone fits the "perfect" standard of beauty (whatever that means), and why would we want to? The good thing about growing up is that it's possible to start appreciating your quirkiness, and everything about it that makes you unique. That nose of yours is inherited from your grandpa, and he was totally awesome. And your curly hair isn't frizzy and horrible, but thick and healthy. Try to see these things you don't like about yourself from a different perspective. They aren't wrong or messy or ugly, but instead are distinctive and beautiful.
3. You Don't Need Anyone's Approval But Your Own
The difficult thing about learning to accept yourself is that we often base our own self-acceptance off the opinions of others. But as the saying goes, "what people in the world think of you is really none of your business." So don't let other people's opinions or judgments or expectations make you feel bad about yourself. Feel confident about all the decisions you make.
4. Don't Create Imagined Time Frames For Things
There exists a classic timeline that many people follow: high school, college, dating, work, marriage, kids, house, etc. So when your life strays from this pattern ("Oh no, I'm graduating a year late!"), it can feel like there's something wrong with you. But there isn't — these time frames work great for some people, while they are completely wrong for others. If you are graduating late, or can't find a job, or are living at home at age 30, then so be it. It doesn't mean you've messed up your life or lost out on opportunities. Only do things when they feel right or when you're able.
5. Resist Falling For Trends
Fashion is really fun, but if you take it too seriously, you're bound to start feeling like this is one more thing you can't do right. And that's a totally reasonable feeling, because trends are always changing, so it is actually next to near impossible to keep up. The best thing to do is figure out how you like to dress, and stick with that. If you like sweatpants, then so be it. If you have blue hair, don't let anyone make you feel bad about it. And if you want to dress like a librarian every day, then rock that cardigan. If you like to wear a different thing ever day of the week because that's what makes you feel like yourself, then go for it. Accepting yourself is about feeling comfortable in your own skin, but also in not thinking too much about what you should be wearing. Because whatever makes you feel the best about yourself and the most "you" — that's what you should be doing.
6. Write Down A List Of Your Best Qualities
Start a list of things you are good at. If you can't think of anything, write down the fact that you are writing the list. That's a good place to start. Once you get in the habit of identifying all the wonderful things about yourself, it'll be easier to write this list. And then whenever you are feeling down, or feeling like you can't do anything right, refer to the list as a reminder of all the wonderful qualities you possess.
Accepting yourself is about learning to feel good even when you aren't doing what is typically "right." Realize there is no such thing as perfection, and then you'll be able to appreciate the things that make you great just as you are.
Images: Pexels (1); Giphy (6)