In My Wellness Toolbox (released in 2018) I very proudly talked about Tool #10 Acceptance and how important it had been as part of my therapy to manage and overcome anxiety over the previous 12 years. I listed the things that I had finally accepted, most of them about myself. That is Self-Acceptance. These are just a few that I listed;
- Who I am.
- My flaws. That balance with my strengths.
- My weirdness. That makes me unique.
- My inability to shut up at times. That enables me to meet new people.
- My emotions that hang from my sleeve. That make me human and compassionate.
- My insecurities. That tell my story and that I can choose to address so they don’t impact my future story.
- All the good things that I am. Loyal, kind, warm, generous, friendly, funny…and according to my 3-year-old a very lovely Dinosaur. (This 3 yo is now 6 yo)
- That I can’t change the past. Live in the present.
- Uncertainty exists in every situation. Fighting against it will not change that and is only unhelpful to myself.
- The list goes on….
Yet in November 2019 I once again found myself crying in a therapist’s chair feeling quite broken and once again questioning everything about myself and my belief system. In the mix of everything else that I was downloading it became quite clear that somehow, without even noticing, I had stopped using my self-acceptance tool. I had stopped accepting who I was in this moment. Everything on that list was null and void. Fear was taking over. I was seeking approval. Imposter syndrome. Constantly wondering what people thought of me. Depressive thoughts were increasing. Exhausting anxiety triggered daily. I was doubting everything about myself, my self-esteem nowhere to be seen.
It took my therapist to point this out to me, yet it would require me to start taking the required steps to start using the self-acceptance tool once more. To start to accept who I am unconditionally. The good, the bad and the ugly. To be confident with who I am, what I do and the decisions I make. It is a work in progress, but I am nearly there (again).
It was also in November, on a not so good day, that I sat curled up on my caravan “happy place” sofa, not feeling very happy, reading Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell. It led me to write a letter to myself. I had to write it as if I was writing to my best friend. Reminding myself of the things I like and love about myself, all the things I have achieved and encouraging myself. At the time it felt fake, I remember crying a lot thinking it was more of a wish list than who I really am, but I persevered.
Today, I was reorganising my office and found some maxed out notepads, I opened one up and found that letter. I read it. Cried. Really cried. Tool #28 Crying certainly got some action today. Then I acknowledged and appreciated. I was and still am all of those wonderful things. It was not a wish list. It was me. I am not sure how much it helped me on that day but it sure has helped me today. Another step of self-acceptance taken. Jeez, I have come so far since November. I am proud of myself.
So, what other steps have I taken over the past 8 months, to truly accept who I am;
- I have worked VERY HARD at allowing my thoughts to just be, not fighting against them, accepting them as ‘just thoughts’ – this has significantly reduced the negative thinking that started to override my positive mindset
- I have been using the affirmation ‘I am Enough’ A LOT
- I have a new mantra ‘This is happening for me not to me’
- Each week I write down my successes and wins for the week. For me.
- I have persevered with things that scared me, like presenting the radio show. They no longer scare me but boost my confidence.
- When practicing gratitude, I have included something I am thankful for about me.
- Started to accept compliments more easily. I am all of those positive things.
- Engaged more with the positive people in my life.
- Accepted invites to events (mainly online) where I will meet like minded people.
- Reset boundaries with those who can trigger my anxiety because of past events
- Stopped putting effort in with people I have been told do not like me, or that have made it quite clear that they don’t! I now accept I am not everyone’s cup of tea. Admittedly, as a born people pleaser I have struggled with this one, especially as these people can be nice to my face or when others are not around, this has had quite a negative impact on my self-esteem and confidence. Therefore, this one is very much a work in progress.
- I have stopped asking for reassurance when I do anything (especially Live Events on social media).
- I have stopped seeking approval from close friends on decisions.
- I have more easily let go of any mistakes I have made, especially with parenting, accepting this is a learning curve… forever more.
- Listen to bedtime meditations about self-acceptance.
- Added some extra daily self-care into my lockdown routine. I deserve it.
- I have been more open about my belief system and my spiritual self… and quite publicly!
- I choose to Live in the Moment and accept who I am right now, today.
- Felt the fear and did it anyway
…and a few weeks ago, I ordered myself some beautiful dried flowers. At the time I was given the option to write a free card to the recipient. I was about to ignore the option as they were for me yet then realised this was another opportunity to be kind to my mind. So, I chose a card covered in hearts and I wrote;
Don’t forget how far you have come and how much you have achieved!
You are amazing!!
I urge anyone reading this to write a love letter or send some flowers with a lovely note to themselves. It is a lovely step towards self-acceptance.
I also need to remind myself that as we go through life changes, we change, we are all a work in progress, therefore the tools will never be redundant. Especially self-acceptance, we should continually work with this tool. Every day.
You are amazing. You are Enough.