Acceptance. . .
No-one’s perfect. But so often we compare our insides to other people’s outsides. Dwelling on our flaws – what we’re not rather than what we’ve got – makes it much harder to be happy. Learning to accept ourselves, warts and all, and being kinder to ourselves when things go wrong, increases our enjoyment of life, our resilience and our well-being. It also helps us accept others as they are.
Having constant criticism in our heads about not being good enough is a sure way to be unhappy. This doesn’t mean we should ignore our weaker areas or bad stuff that happens, but it does mean accepting that no-one is perfect, us included. It means putting our imperfections (and things that happen to us) into perspective – seeing them as normal rather than out of the ordinary. And it means a shift of focus, from what we don’t have or can’t do to what we have or can do.
We can call this self compassion. Studies are showing that self-compassion promotes self-improvement and reduces comparison to others (which is very detrimental to our happiness). It helps put our own issues in perspective and so reduces immobilizing self-pity. Because it is about caring about ourselves being self-compassionate motivates us to work through challenges and learn from mistakes. Indeed, it has been shown to be positively related to developing new skills and knowledge.
Peace and Love, Jim