“You don’t need anyone’s affection or approval to be good enough. You exist and therefore you matter.” - Daniell Koepke
If you don’t love yourself, as is, know that there is no body weight, no paycheck amount, no promotion or relationship that will ever make you “good enough.” Esteem and self respect lie outside of accomplishment.
We don’t really believe it though, do we? Many people are out there proving themselves and they are rewarded for doing so. Their achievements seem to make them better inside and out.
Besides, many of us secretly believe that contentment is complacency, and we hang onto our inner criticism believing it keep us in line and motivated. After all, how is anyone going to become better or do good in the world if they’re hugging themselves all day reciting positive affirmations?
If you approach each failure with a self-loathing smack down, it will make you anxious about failing again. And since those who don’t fail, don’t improve, forgiving yourself for failure becomes a key part of growing into both a more fulfilled person and a more externally successful person.
So how do we cultivate self respect and love? Like everything, it takes practice. Here are a few things to work on:
See Perfection as Poison
Perfect is a myth. You’ll never measure up to that vision. For those of us drowning in our own visions of perfection, shifting the focus to progress is key. Find gratitude and pride in progress. As Alan Watts says, sometimes, “Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.”
Correct the Criticism
We are our own worst critic. Sometimes it stems from failing the ideal, sometimes we believe it’s motivating us, but we cannot achieve well being if we have an inner asshole yelling at us all day. You cannot talk to yourself in a way that you would not talk to others.
While you’re curbing criticism, you might as well practice kindness and self generosity. You don’t need to blow smoke up your own ass, but you have to be fair. Consider that this negative voice you have is not really your authentic voice. So often, our inner critic learned its words from someone else. Take back the narrative. Be generous with yourself so you can be generous with others.
And, finally, remember that we all struggle to believe in our intrinsic value because we all are incredibly flawed and have to come to terms with our shortcomings. But that doesn’t mean we have to prove our worth or validate our right to exist.
As Maya Angelou says, “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”