Challenging Myself (and You) to Not Give a Shit

A recent goal in my life has been to “not give a shit” what other people think. In many ways this is easy for me, but there are still some areas this doesn’t come natural.

I was very caught up in rules as a child, but as an adult I don’t do well with being told what to do, or even more so, what not to do. I know what I want done, and I don’t really care if anyone else approves. Don’t get me wrong, if the rules are keeping people safe in any manner, I’m going to follow them, but I’m not going to blindly do what I’m told.

I Need to Not Give a Shit I’m Misjudged

I hate being misunderstood. In any situation, I don’t mind if people disagree with me, but I want to feel they understand my position. So, it has been hard to let go of being concerned about judgment based on misinformation. I mean, judge me all you want, but do it based on the truth. Another truth though is that I have no control over how people go about judging me, and it isn’t even my business. It is all on them.

"Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinons and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering. - Don Miguel Ruiz

People base their opinions on life experiences and whatever info they come across. It isn’t my job to correct the conclusions they have formed. I can provide more information, but I can’t make them pay any attention to it. I can’t make them listen. And most of the time it isn’t worth it to even do that much.

Remember, people who are judging and talking about you apparently have very little going on in their life if they have time for that nonsense. If you are going to waste any time on them, pity them and move on.

I Struggle to Not Give a Shit While Fat

People have many opportunities to misjudge me. It’s the same for everyone. On a daily basis, this doesn’t bother me much, but one way it does is my weight. I’m fat, and I know how most of our world perceives fat people, especially fat women. Rude, hateful people make this very clear on social media quite often. Often enough, in fact, that I avoid posting body positive and fat acceptance topics sometimes because I’m not ready to deal with the backlash.

I also avoid some life experiences because I worry about what others will think based on my body. Do you understand? I’m letting other people limit what I do! In reality, their opinions don’t matter at all, because their assumptions about me are wrong, and none of their thoughts change anything in my life. My thoughts, opinions, and truth all stay the same.

If I’m happy and confident in what I’m doing, why should anyone’s opinion matter to me? If I don’t plan on changing my actions based on those opinions, they don’t need to affect me in anyway.

All the hateful comments and behavior are nothing to my knowledge of how harmful dieting is, what my body has been through, and the security I have that I’m doing what is right for me.

Your opinion is not my reality. Dr Steve Maraboli

My ability to not give a shit needs to expand and grow so I can live my life more fully as myself. This is a beautiful bit of self-love and self-care that is desperately needed.

Some Steps Toward “Not Giving a Shit

1. Realize that everyone judges (even you)

You aren’t going to escape from judgment. It is very important to me to pass as little judgment as possible, and yet I still tend to do it sometimes. The fact is, people are going to judge, but you don’t have to let it affect you.

2. Acknowledge the fact that you aren’t as important as you think.

Hear me out. You are a valuable human, no doubt, but maybe people aren’t paying as much attention to you as you think they are. Perhaps a big chunk of that judgment you think you are receiving isn’t even there.

3. Some things are out of your control.

We have our sphere of control, our sphere of influence, and then there is the sphere where we have no influence or control. Most things in life are out of our control, and we will all be much happier if we realize this.

Other people’s opinions of us are out of our control. We can control how much effort and learning we put into making decisions, but once we make them, the rest is usually out of our control. If something is eating at you, think of these spheres, and if it’s out of your control, let it go and work on not giving a shit.

4. You aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Not everyone is going to like you. That’s okay! Like that one saying, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.” Who cares? You can change everything about you in an effort to try to be liked by everyone, and it isn’t going to work. Instead, work on being the best, most authentic you possible.

5. Be authentic.

Speaking of authentic, always act that way and you leave nothing to condemn. People will absolutely still try, but what are they really judging? If you are honest, don’t lie, and make as well-informed decisions as you are able to make, there is no room for objection. I find that leaving nothing for me to question about myself makes it much easier to not give a shit what other’s may think.

So, are you with me? Let’s make 2018 a year of not giving a shit what other people think!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

Journal Prompts for Self-Acceptance

Sometimes you know exactly what you want to write in your journal, and sometimes you need a little help to get going. Journal prompts come in handy for times like that. In this post I’ve got 11 journal prompts for you to use when working on self-acceptance.

  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my values?
  • If I wasn’t afraid, I would _____.
  • What does my inner critic tell me? How am I wrong?
  • 10 things that cheer me up are …
  • If I could tell my past self anything, I would say _____.
  • What am I proud of?
  • My best personality trait is _____. Why?
  • Tape a picture you love of yourself into your journal . Why did you pick this one?
  • 10 interesting facts about myself.
  • What three words would my closest friends use to positively describe me?

If you like this idea, let me know and I can make more lists of journal prompts.

New here? Wondering why you’d want to journal? Curious but not sure how to get started? Check out these links and see what you think.

Journal Writing – 5 Smart Reasons Why You Should Start Doing it Today 

8 Ways to Use a Journal For Self-Care and Beyond

7 Electronic Alternatives to a Paper Journal

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

Celebrate Your Strengths To Boost Your Self-Esteem

It is easy to be critical of yourself when you are struggling with self-worth. If asked, you likely can list your shortcomings effortlessly, but I bet if I asked you to name your strengths you would have a tougher time. Being able to not only name, but also celebrate your strengths is a very important step for improving your self-acceptance and self-esteem.

Focusing on the positive can help to literally retrain your brain. It becomes easier to bring the positives to mind, and replace the criticisms that usually are the focus. You can genuinely increase your overall happiness (happiness set point) with gratitude, optimism and self-compassion.

When I was asked to make a list of 50 of my strengths, I couldn’t even think of five. If you have the same problem, maybe the steps I followed can help you too.

My process for finding my strengths

First, I wrote down any strengths that came easily to mind, and then I listed the compliments I remembered receiving. When I couldn’t think of anymore myself, I looked up lists of strengths and read through them for ideas. Anything you are good at – talents, hobbies, etc. – may give you more ideas of your strengths.

Here is a peek at my list:

A partial list of my strengths I wrote out as part of an exercise.
This is a small section of the 50 strengths I was asked to create. Please excuse any spelling errors. Spelling is *not* a strength of mine.

I also saw a tip suggesting that you might find strengths in perceived “weaknesses”. For example: people who are messy tend to be creative, and if others find you boring, perhaps it’s because you are more realistic. Do you consider yourself a doormat? A positive spin makes you generous/giving. Try this with traits you find to be your weaknesses, and challenge yourself to turn as many as you can into strengths. “How to Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths” has more examples if you get stumped.

Celebrate your strengths

Using these ideas to help you, try to make your own list of strengths. You don’t have to start with 50, but give 10-20 a try. Keep at it until you meet your goal. Follow up by keeping an ongoing list. Some people do this by dedicating a few pages in their journal. Another great idea I saw on Pinterest was to write compliments about yourself on bits of paper, and put them into a jar. You can either read them periodically, or save them up to read in a year. Even keeping an notebook next to your bed is a good idea.  Whatever method works for you is the right one.

Spending time each day to focus on and celebrate your strengths will slowly help you to change your perspective and increase your self-esteem. Your list will be there to remind you of your positive traits on days you are struggling. It is also a good reminder of all you have going for you even while you may have a few things you still want to improve.

Coming up with a list of 50 strengths was a daunting task, but I was so incredibly proud of myself when I finished. Make up your own list, and feel free to share your accomplishment with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or join us at Growing in Self-Acceptance and share there!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

12 Signs You Have Low Self-Esteem

I was all set to write about self-confidence. Then I got into the definitions, and realized self-esteem was actually what I had in mind.

Self-confidence: a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.

Self-esteem: confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.

See, I want to talk about self-esteem. I want you to know deep down that you are worthy of love and respect. Since self-esteem develops over time, it isn’t something you can just read a multi-step list or “one mega secret” article about and fix. Self-esteem is a long-term goal. Still, I included a few things at the end of the post that you can do to start building yours up.

So, how can you tell if you have low self-esteem? Here are a few possible signs.

12 Signs of Low Self-Esteem

Indicators of low self-esteem

Inability to accept compliments: Do you find it hard to just say, “thank you” when someone offers you a compliment? Are you suspicious of their intentions? Is the idea of deserving praise foreign to you?

Accentuating the negative: When asked about yourself, can you list your strengths, or is it only your weaknesses that jump to mind? If you think of how life is right now, do you think of positives and wins or only struggles?

Being overly concerned about the opinions of others: Do you make choices based on what other people might like? Does the idea of other people judging you cause daily stress?

Self neglect: Are you good at self-care, or do you let it slide? Do you make sure you get the sleep, food, etc you need? Do you see the doctor?

Reluctance to take on challenges: Do you try new things? Are you challenging yourself at work or in your personal life? Would your friends and family say you play it safe?

Backing down during a disagreement to appease others: If you quit an argument, is it to keep the peace, or because you have changed your mind. Do you ever win an argument? Can you stand firm in your thoughts on a subject?

Reluctance to put yourself first: Are your needs ever first priority? Someone with low self-esteem doesn’t think they are important enough, and so is always taking care of everyone else before themselves.

You give up too soon:  Do you work for what you want or give in without a fight? This can apply to arguments, fights, or goals in life among other things. If something you want is hard do you keep trying?

Being indecisive over simple decisions: If you can’t decide what to wear each morning, and lunch seems like a life or death choice, you may be suffering from low self-esteem. It shouldn’t be so hard to make uncomplicated decisions. Do you worry any choice you make is wrong?

You compare yourself with others: Is your focus on yourself and your path in life, or do you always focus on how you compare to other people? Can you see your successes on their own, or is it always in measure to how someone else did?

Taking constructive criticism too personally: If someone suggests a way you can improve at your job (or in some other way), does it trigger tears or anger? Can you listen to criticism and see it as something helpful?

Reluctance to trust your own opinion or contribute it in conversation: Do you speak up, or hang back not sure your thoughts are worth sharing? Is it common for you to second guess yourself?

Do you recognize more than one or two of these? If so, it’s a good indication you have low self-esteem. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. (I recognize more than a couple of them myself.) The good news is that, knowing this, you can start working toward improving how you see yourself! You may not believe it right now, but you are seeing yourself through a distorted lens.

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes. -by Sally Field

Simple Activities That Help Raise Self-Esteem

Accept Compliments: Trust people are being sincere when they offer you a compliment. Take this a step further, and write these compliments down! Keep them in a notebook to review on days you are being extra hard on yourself, at the end of the week, or even go over them daily!

Find what you are good at and do it: Having confidence in your abilities, and allowing yourself pride in those skills, will contribute to your self-esteem over time. If you don’t already have a hobby or something that you enjoy, explore your options until you find one. Then, keep at it, and watch those skills improve.

Stop comparing yourself to others: I said simple, not easy. *wink* This may take time, but it is very important to start working on. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is you, and there are exceptions even to that.

I hope this gives you a good idea where you stand with your self-esteem, and a start on improving if needed. Everyone deserves to know, and feel, they are enough in this world and worthy of love and respect.

Be sure to share this on your favorite social media. We all know someone who can use a self-esteem boost.

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.


How Can I Find Self-Acceptance With Chronic or Mental Illness?

I’ve previously been covering self-acceptance from a very general direction. I want to focus in a little more now. Personally, I have found self-acceptance extra hard due to my chronic illnesses and mental illnesses. It only makes sense that other people have the same problems, so I want to share my thoughts and solutions.

Accepting Limits

One struggle I have is accepting my limits. Whether you compare yourself to what society expects, or to what you could do “before”, it is hard to accept that you can’t just do whatever you “set your mind to”. Before I got sick, I knew that if I decided I was going to do something, it was going to happen. Now I find myself limited by pain and fatigue; if not by depression and anxiety.

I have found it important to accept that these things will happen. It isn’t my fault, and there is no reason for, or benefit to, me to blame myself. Just like the weather can mess with your outdoor plans, my illnesses and mental health can interrupt my daily plans. In accepting this, I can “go with the flow” more and not simply give up.

If I continue to define myself by what I can't do, or what normal people do, I will destroy myself." Quote from


I used to base my worth on what I could do. My grades, my work, my housework, my caring for the kids, etc., all affected my self-esteem. Then I couldn’t do any of it. Brain fog took my “smarts”, and pain and fatigue took my ability to do housework and mother the way I had been. Anxiety never allowed me to work outside of the house for very long. I was left with nothing and felt I was worthless. My husband and kids showed me I was wrong.

They showed me, but this is true even without them. I am worthy, just by being me. The fact that I exist makes me worthy and valuable. This applies to everyone! You too are valuable and worthy just by existing. You don’t need to earn the right to like yourself.

Taking a Second Look at Limits

So, if we are worthy, just by being alive, our limits don’t take anything away from our value. Physical limits are just a line drawn by our body telling us where we need to stop. Respecting those limits are a part of self-care. Rather than fight them and suffering the consequences, most of the time we need to listen to our bodies.

Your value isn't in your doing or saying. It's in your being.

Now, that isn’t to say never push the limits. Some things we may find “worth it”. An occasional special outing with friends or family can be worth feeling worse for a week or two. Repeatedly pushing ourselves will only worsen our health long-term though. You deserve to be treated better than that.

Our ideal may be being able to do everything for everyone each time, and then we feel guilt, anger, failure, etc when we can’t do it. Changing our outlook and seeing it as a way our loved ones can be there for us is helpful. We have a different situation that does not lead to the “typical” expectations. It is fine to expect a change from others, rather than them expect the same or “normal” from us.

Boundaries are a function of self-respect and self-love. -quote by Brene Brown


This is where boundaries come in handy. Boundaries show others how to treat us. They are a line drawn in the sand. By setting boundaries, we let others know who we are, what we allow, and what is not tolerated.

Chronically ill people and those with mental health issues may have to be extra tough when it comes to boundaries. Healthy people do not always understand our limits and may forcefully push us to surpass them. We must be stubborn at enforcing those boundaries to care for ourselves. People in our life must understand that we mean business, and crossing our boundaries is not okay. They are just as valid as anyone else’s. So many times, people think that just because they don’t understand our various struggles, the struggles are not legitimate when that is the furthest thing from the truth.

Boundaries can be hard to set. If you need some help figuring out which ones to set, and how to do so, I prepared a free “Setting Boundaries Workbook” for you to download.

It is not your responsibility to convince anyone to respect your boundaries. You set the boundary, it is their place to accept it. Be firm, and your loved ones will catch on.

Rethinking Goals and Dreams

The last way I want to talk about limits has to do with goals and dreams. Having a chronic or mental illness can affect what dreams and goals are possible. That doesn’t mean you should give up on them though. you have a few possibilities. First it is possible that you can find a way to use modifications to make it happen. For instance, someone who wants to be an author, but loses the ability to type, can use voice recognition software to write still. If your dream job seems un-achievable, perhaps there is still something in the same or similar field that you can do.

I didn’t think there was any career available for me. Between high pain days, bad fatigue, and my depression or anxiety acting up, I’m not exactly the epitome of a reliable employee. This limits job/career choices quite a lot. Now, I didn’t have any certain job in mind to begin with. In fact, I chose to not go to college (and use my scholarship), because I didn’t have any goal in mind. Nothing has ever grabbed my attention.

After being diagnosed, it didn’t seem likely I would ever be employable. Well, maybe I’m not, but I’ve found a way to employ myself. Being a blogger allows me to work within my limits, and it is a way for me to help people, which I’ve always felt a pull toward. I share this personal bit to show how limits don’t have to limit you, but can actually open up previously unseen chances. To see how I work with my limits as a blogger, check out my monthly series, Confessions of a Chronically Ill Blogger.

There are a variety of ways that someone with either a chronic illness or mental health issues will find their journey to self-acceptance a different challenge than a healthy person. I’m going to stop here, but I’ll address other points soon.

Are there any particular concerns you would like me to write about? Let me know in the comments! You can email me anytime also at .

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.





What The Heck Is Body Acceptance, And Why Do I Need It?

A popular “buzzword” lately has been “body positivity”. Not everyone feels ready to have positive thoughts toward their body. In that case, it may be easier to try for body acceptance.

What is body acceptance?

Simply put, body acceptance is just accepting your body as it is with no judgement. It is a step toward body positivity and loving yourself without requiring any change. Another way to look at it is body neutrality. This article covers it well. Just not hating their body can be a huge step for some people.

I’ve talked before about acceptance. Self-acceptance is recognizing and accepting all parts of yourself with no judgement. You can read more here and here. Body acceptance is similar. It is being aware of your body with no judgement. It’s seeing your body as neither good nor bad, but simply a body. If you aren’t ready yet to jump into body positivity, acceptance is a wonderful place to start.

Why body acceptance?

Why be accepting of your body? Well, basically, you are living in the body you have right now, and it does you no good to hate on it. Even if you are sure that, no matter what, you want to change something about your body, you are still living in this body currently, and being negative toward yourself will help nothing. Real change can only come from a place of love, and that is what body acceptance (and body positivity) can give you.

You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself, and see what happens. - Louise L. Hay

No matter what you may find to be flaws with your body, it is important to find peace with it now as it is. Your body doesn’t have to earn your respect and care. It deserves to be treated well just as it is. It is taking care of you daily, the best it can.  You can return the favor by keeping up with your self-care and being gentle with yourself.

How to start working on it.

There are a few exercises you can use to work on your body acceptance. One of the simplest, though not the easiest, is to spend time each day in front of a mirror (naked if possible). Find at least one thing nice to say about your body each time. If you find yourself having negative thoughts about your body use my method of Beating Negative Thoughts to interrupt yourself, and start turning them around. The goal may be body positivity, but it is fine to shoot for neutrality or acceptance at first.

My body is my home, and I will not tear it down.

Now make a list of things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your body. Shoot for 5-10 to start. It helps to remind yourself how much more there is to you other than your body. You have a lot to offer the world, and you should be proud of that.

Another helpful activity is to start a body gratitude journal. Spend time each day writing down things about your body you can be grateful about. Perhaps it is the way your legs allow you to go on walks, or the way your hands help you to do your hobbies. Maybe you are grateful for the hugs your arms can give, or the great food you get to taste with your mouth. Before long you will have an amazing list to read back though, and see all your body does for you.

If you would like some more ideas, Buzz Feed has a nice list of activities suggested by readers here.

Body acceptance is not an instant thing. There isn’t a quick fix. It is very worth working on though, and I hope you will be willing to take steps in that direction. Everyone deserves to be comfortable in their body.

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Did You Know There Is More Value To Selfies Than Many People Think?

You see people all over social media decrying the value of selfies. Claims of them being a symptom of narcissism, a sign of self involvement, or being a self indulgence are prevalent.  But are they?

Woman taking a selfie with a red and silver iphone

What is a selfie?

From the Oxford Dictionary, a selfie is, “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.

So, all it is, is a picture you took of yourself. Seems pretty harmless, right? Maybe it’s the purpose of a selfie that people find so objectionable.

What is the purpose of a selfie?

A selfie is all about you. In most selfies, you are the center of attention. You might highlight something else in the background also, or do a joint selfie with friends, but the whole point is that you are in the picture. Hmmm… I still don’t see a problem, but this seems to be what the critics have an issue with.

Woman up against a mirror taking a selfie

Selfies don’t really have to have a point. They are a great way to share with the world what is going on in your life that day. They say, hey, I’m here, and I take up space on this planet. That’s a good thing! Posting selfies challenges the idea that you have to justify yourself, and your wish to be seen, to others. You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone though. It is perfectly fine to take notice of yourself and share that with others, if you want.

Selfies are a great confidence booster and a simple, fast way of promoting positive self talk. Having a great hair day? Maybe you are really loving your outfit of the day (OOTD). Perhaps you finally did something you have been meaning to for a long time, and you are really proud? Selfies are a fantastic way to project your awesomeness to the world in a still subtle way. You are allowed to take up space in this world, both online and in real life.

Arguments against selfies

Some people fight back with an indignant “how dare you, who do you think you are??” attitude, and appear in the comments with some awful words. Ignore them, and block them if necessary. There is a deeply ingrained stigma toward having any positivity about yourself. Moving against this stigma makes people uncomfortable, and they try to police your “rebellion” with accusations of narcissism and being superficial.

Selfies Are:

Claims of selfies being a “cry for attention”  get tossed around too. First off, so what if they are? It’s perfectly ok to want attention! What these accusations really boil down to though, is that many are threatened by girls/women/femmes using selfies as an expression of independence. If we are proud of ourselves, if we are already confident and drawing our confidence from inside, we can’t be controlled as easily. Creating our own positive image of ourselves, rather than depending on the media and other outside opinions for our validation, puts us in a wonderful position of power. That confidence the naysayers deride is healthy!

Take yourself out to eat. Don't share your popcorn at the movies with anyone. Stroll around an art museum alone. Fall in love with canvases. Fall in love with yourself.

This applies only if you are not basing your self-worth and confidence solely on the internet’s opinion of your selfies. That is not healthy. If you are struggling with this, here is a self care/self love exercise to try. Put on a favorite outfit, try a new hairstyle, or do something else that makes you feel confident. Now take a picture, and write down 5 compliments about your appearance. If you struggle with this, pretend it’s a picture of a stranger, and try again.  Hopefully you wouldn’t insult a stranger, so treat yourself just as well and find some kind things to say about your picture.

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes. -by Sally Field

I’ve got a couple of links for you to check out also. Here you can find 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Apologize For Your Selfies. I love their take on the subject. Also, please check out 35 Artists Who Were Unashamed of Their Selfies. If artists can do it, why can’t we? 🙂

Never Apologize For Selfies

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.







4 More Steps Toward The Self-Acceptance You Are Seeking

Previously, I wrote a post listing out five steps one could take toward finding self-acceptance. They are just five that I chose out of a whole list, nothing special about them. I’ve picked four more to focus on for today’s post.

4 More Steps To The Self-Acceptance You Are Seeking
Live less out of habit, and more out of intent.

Set Your Intention

First off is to set your intention to live a life of self-acceptance. An intention is a guiding principle for your life. It isn’t the same as a goal, because there is no expectation or assessment to it. It is more recognizing a way you want to align your life. An intention is a purpose or attitude you want to commit to. So, for example, choose to set aside your self judgment and criticism, and instead commit to a life of loving and supporting yourself. Going forward, you don’t feel bad for judging yourself or having those negative thoughts. You simply stop, and remind yourself that you are not going to fall back into that habit, but be compassionate and loving instead.

4 More Steps To The Self-Acceptance You Seek
“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation. It means understanding that something is what it is, there’s got to be a way through it.” – Michael J. Fox

Acceptance isn’t resignation.

Resignation is giving up. We aren’t talking about that. We are talking about recognizing the situation, acknowledging it, and deciding how to proceed. It is possible to see something without passing judgment on it. So, let’s say you are usually late. Accepting that you have a tendency to be late doesn’t mean you give up and are just late for now on. Instead, it means you recognize the fact without thinking it makes you a bad person. Simple fact, you are usually late. Next, you decide what to do about it. You might decide to factor extra time in for yourself, fake yourself out by setting clocks ahead some, or set reminders for everything. Whatever you decide to do, it is all done with love and no harsh, negative thoughts toward yourself.

4 More Steps To The Self-Acceptance You Seek
“The one thing you can control is how you treat yourself. And that one thing can change everything.” – Leeana Tankersley

That brings us to the third point today.

Be Kind To Yourself

It isn’t wrong to be nice to yourself. In fact, you should be your biggest fan and strongest supporter. First off, it is a miserable life to lead if you are always criticizing and tearing yourself down. It isn’t good for your mental or physical health. Nothing is gained by being down on yourself. True, productive change happens from a position of self love and positivity. Accepting the way you are, and being happy with that, loving yourself no matter what, takes the pressure off. From there, you can work on making a change, if you still want to, without wasting your energy on the self hate, negativity, and guilt. Imagine trying to make that change in your life while being cheered along rather than threatened.

4 More Steps To The Self-Acceptance You Seek
What if you spent this year devoted to loving yourself more?

Finally, celebrate your strengths.

If you are struggling with self love, self worth, and such, it is easy to be critical and keep a mental list of your shortcomings, ready to rattle off at any moment. It can be harder to list your strengths. You should do it though. Even if you need to list just one a day, start making a list you can look back on when you are having a bad day.

Recently, I was part of an email course that asked us to make a list of our strengths for one of the assignments. She asked us to make a list of 50. Fifty! I was baffled and really struggled to list the first 10. I actually had to look up lists of strengths to get ideas of what I could add to mine, because I really had zero ideas as far as what I might be good at in life. It took a chunk of time, and a few breaks, but I was so proud when I made it to 50! If it helps you to Google “list of possible strengths“, do it. You may be as surprised as I was at what is on those lists.

Another list that is helpful is one that shows what type of accomplishments you have had, hardships you have overcome, etc. This list shows your strengths too! It can be an easier list to make because you don’t have to name individual strengths, but you can still see where you were strong, and what you have been good at doing.

All of these suggestions are helpful options for steps to finding self-acceptance, and I hope at least one resonated with you. Remember to check out my previous post on this topic also, if you haven’t already. Working on all of these at once would be overwhelming and is not recommended. Choosing one or two, and building upon them as a base, is much more doable. You might even find that you have naturally started to do some as you grow in self-acceptance using those first few.

Come join me at the new Facebook group, Growing in Self-Acceptance, and let me know what steps you plan on taking first!


Why is Self-Acceptance So Vital to Our Happiness?

Without self-acceptance, we are plagued with low self-esteem, guilt, anxiety, internal judgment, criticism and even possible depression. What is it about self-acceptance that makes such a difference? Let’s delve in and see.

Self-acceptance interrupts the negative

When we embrace self-acceptance, we stop judging ourselves. Our self-criticisms and negative talk stop. A daily regime of negative talk, judgment, criticism, etc. gets internalized to the point that we believe all of it and think we aren’t capable of more. Instead of seeing moments of weakness, we believe we are weak. Instead of recognizing some habits that aren’t helpful, we believe we are deeply flawed. This is a widespread problem, so no one questions it. Instead, we spend hundreds of dollars on self-help books to “fix” ourselves.

But, fixing ourselves never feels like enough. There is always another way to be fixed. We never feel we are enough. We feel broken, wrong, not worthy, there is always another “bad” part of us to overcome. What if, instead, we accept every part of us? Even the messy bits.

Self-acceptance is our natural state


We are born self-accepting. Babies know what they need and want, and don’t care what someone else thinks of it. I think most everyone loses that along the way. Why? Innate desire to survive. We are born needing to belong. We are hard wired to crave the love, affection, and acceptance of our tribe. If our tribe asks us to change who we are in order to be accepted, we will do it to survive. This may come from family, friends, teachers, or anyone of influence to us. This is a distortion of true belonging though. Belonging, what we crave, is being accepted for who we are. If we have to change, we are fitting in, and that is a poor substitute for belonging.

illustration of drama masks. one smiling, one frowning. self-acceptance

When we warp our true selves to fit in, to be what others want, they aren’t loving us. They are loving a pretend version of us. As mention, this can begin very early. It can begin so early that we aren’t aware we are presenting a false version of ourselves. Some part of us sees it though. Part of our psyche recognizes the sham going on. It sees the falsehood and longs for authenticity. We aren’t happy how society tells us to be. The conscious part of us interprets this as needing to be fixed and so the cycle starts.

We don’t have to conform though, because we aren’t living in a time where it is vital to our survival. We can search out our own tribe and find where we belong. Because of this, we can embrace self-acceptance, stop trying to be someone we aren’t, and not just survive, but thrive.

Self-acceptance validates us

Our true selves, our most authentic selves, are not only positive. Self-acceptance recognizes and even welcomes the acknowledgment of the messy bits too. You can acknowledge that something exists without judging it. Everyone has negative aspects. We don’t have to judge them though. Instead, we can take notice, accept it, and perhaps make plans later to adjust it. There is no need to hate that part of ourselves in the meantime.

It is so much easier to fulfill your needs and take care of yourself when you can see that you are as deserving as anyone else. Your needs are valid.

When we accept all of ourselves and stop judging, all kinds of good things happen. You stop doubting how deserving you are. It is so much easier to fulfill your needs and take care of yourself when you can see that you are as deserving as anyone else. Your needs are valid. You can take time to care for yourself. It is ok to set boundaries for how you will allow yourself to be treated. Your needs for love, affection and attention are valid and deserve to be fulfilled.

Acknowledging your true self and accepting that person, enables us to identify what we want in life. We can nail down our true purpose. When you find self-acceptance, you can hone in on what is important to us as opposed to what others have conditioned us to see as important. They may be the same things, but they shouldn’t be by default.

Self-acceptance gives us ourselves

You want to be able to move forward with goals based on what you, and not others, need and believe. Imagine creating a life in alignment with your truth. You will start feeling more confident in your decisions rather than like you don’t measure up. There will be trust that you are moving in the right direction. You may even find talents and gifts that were buried under who you were “supposed” to be. Being yourself, they can shine.

Acceptance gives you permission to practice kindness with the person you’ve historically been the least kind to: you. If you give it a real try, you’ll see how the criticisms get lighter. Self-doubt shakes off. Shame dissipates. Hating yourself becomes a rare phenomenon. Slowly, your beliefs about yourself shift from less-than to enough, from powerless to empowered.

Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship with myself - Nathaniel Branden

With knowing and accepting yourself, this leads to being able to develop more authentic relationships with others. They will know you better, and you, learning how to find even the mess parts of yourself valuable, are able to find more compassion and acceptance for others.

Self-acceptance is powerful and the very foundation of our happiness. I hope I’ve laid out some convincing reasons why. Please comment with any questions or comments you make have. This is a very important conversation to have and to continue.



My Simple Method for Beating Negative Thoughts


I’ve written before about 5 Steps Toward Self Acceptance. Those aren’t the only steps, and I’m sure to write about more later. Today though, I want to expand on the second one in that post. Work on fighting negative thoughts.

The Truth About Negative Thoughts

The truth is, they aren’t the truth. Negative thoughts are our brain catastrophizing the situation. It is really good at coming up with the worst case scenario. These are irrational thoughts, and not based on the facts of the situation. If your conclusions about yourself or your situation don’t take positives into account, they aren’t accurate. There is a good reason pro and con lists are so common. You can’t just look at one side of an issue and make an accurate judgment. The same goes for people.

Why to Fight Them

Your life, your choices, your self-worth should be based on reality. Since negative thoughts are irrational, they are not what your life should be based on. We need to fight them so choices and self-worth can be made with a balanced, authentic view.

The truth is, we do have negative aspects to us. Everyone has negative traits. That isn’t all there is to us though. We each have plenty about us that is positive also.

Focusing on our negative thoughts can also lead us to feel there is no point in shooting for our dreams or trying something new. If you find yourself indecisive, always procrastinating, etc. you are probably struggling with negative thoughts.

Exercise #1

I want you to take a moment and either print off this worksheet, or find a sheet of paper and number it 1-10. Now come up with 10 positive things about yourself. It can be anything from “holds doors for people” to “I like my math skills”. Really, anything positive you can think of. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you.

My Simple Method for Beating Negative Thoughts


Now, put that list up somewhere you will see it every day. It may feel silly, but it is important to give yourself this reinforcement. You need to be reading that list over at least once a day, and there is no such thing as reading it too much.

Next Step – Fight Back

Now that you’ve had practice with positive thoughts, we will talk about fighting those negative thoughts. A pervasive problem with negative thoughts is that we get so used to hearing these thoughts from ourselves that we aren’t even aware of them anymore. Not as what they are anyway. We give them the same, or more, importance as our other thoughts. To fight them, we need to be more aware of them.

Some negative thoughts are more obvious than others. Thinking you are a horrible person, are bad at something, etc are obviously negative thoughts that you should work to counteract. If you feel you everyone is against you, you have bad luck, or constantly think “what if”(what if I went to college after all, what if I had/hadn’t married them, what if I had taken that job, etc), those are all nonconstructive, negative thought patterns also.

I want you to start paying attention to how often you have a negative thought. Every time you do, mentally (or even out loud), say, “Stop!” and don’t allow that train of thought to continue. Then, counter the negative with a positive version. It helped me to come up with counter thoughts to each negative ahead of time.

For example, a common negative thought I would have is that I was a terrible mom. On a good day, I could see my kids were doing well, my husband thought I was doing great, and my parents thought I was doing a good job also. So, on my bad days, the thought of me as a bad parent would come up, and I would think, “Stop!” and then remind myself of all of those positives. It helped me to see that just maybe I wasn’t seeing things very clear right now.

Exercise 2

So, for this exercise, get a new piece of paper, or print off this worksheet and write down 2 or 3 of your most common negative thoughts right now. Then, write at least 2 counter arguments to each. Ask a friend or loved one for help if you need it. Arm yourself with positive statements to remember when these destructive thoughts come to mind.

At first it may feel silly or pointless, but keep at it. Before long, you will be able to replace those negative thoughts easily and eventually they will stop coming.

When you stop telling yourself negative, destructive things, you can start building yourself up, and eventually work toward improving things you may want improved.