What would happen if you accepted every aspect of yourself as you are right now? How would you feel? Accepting yourself as you are right now doesn’t mean you don’t need to develop or improve yourself. Everybody should always be developing and improving themselves, for if you are not growing then you are dying.
But you can accept and love yourself as you are right now as well as develop and improve yourself. And in fact, learning to love yourself more is developing yourself.
Here’s a quick exercise that will help you to increase your self-perception and confidence right now:
Get an A4 piece of paper and fold it in half so that you have 4 sides...
Side One – What are your biggest insecurities at the moment? What aspects of yourself do you criticise the most? What do you dislike about yourself or what aspects of yourself do you feel need to improve and develop? Identify whatever negative self-talk you have in your head. Write down your answers.
There is no gain in denial. Be honest with yourself. You are the only one who will see what you have written unless you choose to share it with someone else, so you might as well be totally honest with yourself and let it all out.
Side Two – Self-love is NOT about achieving a certain weight, having a certain amount of money and possessions, having your ideal relationship, having your ideal social life, having your ideal career or anything else – self-love is NOT about achieving any goal or being any kind of way. Although changes will naturally occur as you develop yourself and move forward, self-love is simply how you feel about who you are right now.
How would you feel about yourself if you completely accepted yourself as you are right now? What kind of things would you say to yourself? What feelings would you have? How would you think and feel when you look in the mirror? Write down your answers.
Side Three – What characteristics, traits and qualities would you see in other people if they were reflecting back to you through their actions, words and feelings that you are the person you want to be? To put it another way, imagine that you are standing in front of a huge mirror, but in this mirror, you do not see yourself. Instead, you see other people (these people could be family members, friends, colleagues or strangers). How would the people you are seeing in the mirror act, feel and communicate with you if they were showing you that you are the person you want to be? Write down your answers.
Side Four – Take a good look at what you wrote on side three. Are YOU treating yourself this way? Do you treat yourself how you want other people to treat you? Do you act, feel and communicate with yourself in the same way that you want other people to act, feel and communicate with you?
Write down how you are going to improve your perception of yourself – write down how you are going to improve the way you think and feel about yourself.
Put a big cross through side one. This is symbolic – you are acknowledging how you have been thinking and feeling about yourself and you are declaring that you are not going to think that way anymore because you have a new way to think – what you’ve written on side 4.