Can you accept yourself as you are? Be totally honest with yourself when you answer the question. Maybe you are not sure you can do it, or you don't know how. Unconditional acceptance is something you must practice every day because being you, authentically you, is the most important thing you can do to live happily.
You can simulate that you have a good relationship with yourself, that you accept your flaws, mistakes, that you forgive yourself for what you believe you did wrongly. But your soul will know if you, deep inside yourself, reject yourself, cannot accept yourself as you are and criticize yourself constantly.
Having a good relationship with yourself and becoming your best friend starts with the absolute need to accept yourself as you are, and also the life you are living. You cannot say that you Love yourself if you criticize everything that happens to you, don’t appreciate your life, relationships, environment, life circumstances…
In time you will see that the self-acceptance will allow you to transform this feeling into appreciation, and then into gratefulness, and together all of these will convert your life into something greater and happier. This way you will be able to release the pressure you put on yourself to improve yourself and your life, and you will be able to become content with yourself as you are.
You may have to do an effort to accept who you are unconditionally, to say aloud “this is me”, to present yourself as you are without any protection, without adapting yourself to others or the situation, without the fear of being rejected or criticized for your ideas, way of living or your acts; this may require courage and make you feel vulnerable. Let me tell you that to be you is simpler than you imagine, because when you accept yourself the world accepts you as well.
The inner conflict between who you are and the image you want to show in public, in your job, in front of your in-laws or friends, or to get a partner, takes a lot of energy from you. It puts you in a constant state of alert to protect yourself from any mistake you can make that allows others to see the real you, the one you unconsciously want to protect from the judgment of others. Your intimate relationship with yourself should be easy, smooth, allowing you to feel relaxed and at ease in any circumstance.
If you feel that there are things about yourself and your past that you cannot forgive, this is the perfect moment to let them go, to set yourself free from a thought, experience, or situation that holds you back and makes you suffer.
To accept yourself this way you will have to learn self-forgiveness, kindness and compassion towards yourself. Just give yourself the same Love you share with others, and you will create a new relationship with yourself, one where you can discover who you are, know yourself more deeply, accept yourself and fall in Love with yourself, with the real You.
"Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship with myself"
It is important to have your own ideas. From time to time take a look at your way of thinking about life and see if there is anything you need to adjust, change, or let go of. It is incredibly useful to review one's belief system. You'd be surprised about how many ideas you hold that are not yours, maybe never were in the first place, or have been planted by others, media, or the culture you live in.
Nothing is true or false, good or bad, it depends on the interpretation you give to the fact or experience. Some people may think that the best possible day is a sunny day, and that's it. This is what I think, I don't like rainy days. But others, for example, farmers, or people who live in dry areas and haven't seen rain for a while, may think that the best possible thing is a rainy day. It all depends.
Religions, political parties, countries, parents and family members, schools, institutions… want to tell you that they know what is best, what the truth is, what you should think and how to act in consequence. But I invite you to learn to think for yourself. It is never late to do it, no matter how old you are.
Do your own research, don't accept any truth or description of facts. Go through life with the mind of a detective and a journalist simultaneously, and find your own explanation for the world, and how life should be lived.
Just because something has been done for decades or millennia does not mean it cannot be changed. The fact that millions of people think one way doesn't mean that many other millions cannot think in a different way. Your freedom of speech, of thought, of behavior, can only exist if you find out what your own opinion is, by yourself.
Still nowadays, if a product has in its pack “as seen on TV” it sells more. We hold opinions about what to appear on TV means, what to be famous means, what to have power means, what to have money means… What are your opinions, beliefs, thoughts, and ideas about life?
Since you were a child, you have been indoctrinated by many authority figures, you have learned from their lives and their experiences. Maybe it is time to release some limiting beliefs, fears, undeserving ideas, and those ways of thinking about yourself and your life that are holding you back. You can be free, free of a way of thinking that hurts you and doesn't support you.
I would like you to allow yourself to think that life can be wonderful and that you are unique. I wish you to see your own magnificence. I desire that you understand that your life has a purpose, and it is to be happier every day. I would like you to look at what you can do for yourself, that you lead your life instead of being a follower of others’ ideas. You matter, you can do it, and you will if you think you can. Let go of some unnecessary baggage and free your mind!
"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud"
You may believe you were born to do important things with your life. It is true. You have unlimited possibilities and it is never too late to create, learn, or do new things. But the most important reason why you were born was to live your life to the fullest, the only thing that only you can do. You are alive to become yourself, to be just you.
I am writing this blog on a plane that is taking me from Miami to New York, and I discovered myself making my to-do list of pending work and errands. Now all is written in the notes of my phone, technology has simplified my life. I can remember what I must do, I have a good memory and a real agenda on paper, but lists help me focus and prioritize. What I realized is that the most important things are not in my to-do lists.
Have you ever created a to-be list? If not, do it for fun. It is the most amazing contribution to your life that you can give yourself. After creating your to-be list don’t get sad or frustrated if you realize that you have forgotten your dreams, that you have self-sacrificed too much, that you haven’t loved enough, or that you are living a life that is not true to your values. These things happen to all of us human beings.
What do you want to be? Who do you want to become? Asking yourself these questions will help you create a true to-be list. I will share the two most important items on my to-be list to give you an example.
I want to be loving towards myself and others.
I want to be kind with everyone and everything.
I want to become more loving and kinder. I am, I should say, achieving it through my daily decisions, actions, and attitude towards myself and others.
It shouldn’t require more than five minutes to create a to-be list. Write 2 to 5 statements you want to live by. Don’t make it too long. Look at your list through the day. You can read the list slowly to feel and embody every aspect of it, or to remind yourself of your commitment.
Include in your list only the items you want to focus on. If it was a to-do list you would list those urgent matters or errands you must do first, not your goals for three or six months, or one year ahead. What you include in your to-be list should be the aspects you as a being would like to be living by right now. Do you want to be kind, empowering, trusting...? What do you really want?
Don’t avoid writing certain items in your to-be list because you have no idea how you will accomplish them. When your to-do list includes finding a dress or a suit for a wedding and you don't have any idea where to buy them, or what kind of dress or suit you need, you still list this errand because the wedding is in 10 days. Then you start a process of research, and I can promise you that you will be helped if you ask for help, and voilà, the dress or suit finds you.
The same will happen with your to-be list. A book, a coach, a teleseminar, an email, a workshop, a conversation, in meditation, an aha moment going back home... you will receive guidance that will help you be who you want to be. Stay focused, use your list wisely. Become yourself now.
"The essential lesson I have learned in life is to just be yourself. Treasure the magnificent being that you are and recognize first and foremost you are not here as a human being only.
You are a spiritual being having a human experience"
Life can be hard at times, unwanted events may happen to you, you may experience difficulties in your relationships and with loved ones, health or financial challenges may appear unexpectedly. These events are what we call life.
But they will be memories one day. Memories of how many difficult situations you overcame, of how powerful and resourceful you were, of how successful in going through challenging times you were, of how good things can be found in so-called bad things.
You have lived through a lot of difficult moments, I know. I have, too. You have scars. They have healed, but you have not forgotten the events, the feelings, the facts, the battles you fought. But you should.
Memories are just that, recollections of the moments, of things that don’t belong to your present, to the moment of now, where you have an opportunity to build new and better memories. What if you could look at your past in a different way?
I’ve had so many conversations with clients and people I met about their past. I’ve heard sad stories, difficult childhood moments, details of physical and emotional abuse, bad relationships, terrible divorces, trauma… and so much more. But what I have told everyone who has openened their heart to me is that it doesn't matter what you went through. You cannot change it, and it is for sure part of your story, of who you are, but it shouldn’t determine how you live today, because you are much more than your memories and experiences.
If you must hold onto a memory, it would be better to choose a happy moment, an uplifting one, a moment of achievement, of gratitude and appreciation, of shared Love, of laughter. Everything is stored in your mind, like a giant hard drive. Your mind is not very different from a computer, but it has something very powerful and important that your computer’s software does not include: Imagination!
You can build your life with the power to create from your imagination. There is no need to live in the past if you can live a reality that you can create. Believe me, it is possible. The only problem is that maybe you don’t know how to use it in your favor, yet.
Imagination needs your collaboration, your clarity, your focus, your intention, your elevated emotions, your fun, your engagement, your enjoyment. You need to Love the process of creation of your life and to stop living by the old programming that you (or someone else) installed in your mind’s computer.
What if the life you want exists in a pattern of possibilities called future? What if the future is not as far away as you imagine? What if your imagination is a much more powerful tool for creation than the memories of your past that keep you stuck? What if with a bit of guidance you, and only you, can create the memories of the future you want to live? Give it a try.
I know what you are thinking right now. I can even see your face while you read these lines. Yes, sure, Judith, it sounds like a good idea, but how do I do it? To start, write a list of all the good reasons you give to yourself to continue living the same way, your excuses for not changing what you don’t want in your life, or whatever doesn’t work, and your fears of failure, or of not being good enough. Take the list and make a conscious decision, a commitment with yourself, to overcome the written items, one by one. Do it right now!
I know what you are feeling and thinking because I went through it. Your mind can create powerful statements such as: it is not for me (this means “I don’t deserve it”), it is too late, (“I am too old to change”), this will change (“time solves everything”), I will do it (“tomorrow always seems a better day to start”), this is the life I have (“I don’t have the need to change”), this is what I can do (“I don’t have power”), I don’t have a choice and I have to keep going (“I am very responsible and I need to sacrifice myself and my life”), I don’t know what I want (“I prefer not to think about these things”)…
When you make your own list, you will see that all the sentences you say to yourself can be grouped in some categories: fear of the unknown, lack of Love for yourself, or procrastination and self-sabotage. Just answer yourself one question: until when are you going to live in the world of past memories and experiences? Maybe is time for a new present and future, don’t you think? Take action.
"To design the future effectively, you must first let go of your past"
Charles J. Givens
We have had lots of life experiences that we have not wanted to accept. Loses, so called `mistakes’, break ups, unforgivable events, abuse, arguments, disagreements, pain, and so much more. But they happened, they were real, and we cannot change them, but we can, at least, accept them. Acceptance will allow you to look to the future with more freedom. Stop looking only through the rear mirror, and look at the wonderful view in front of you, while you drive through the journey of your life.
There are people that think that to accept means to be weak, or that they cannot forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it. But in order to live your life in the present, this life that is real and happening for you at this exact moment, you must be here and now. You cannot be present if you only live in the past, in past experiences, in past feelings, in past grudges, in past resentment.
To let go, to release, or to forgive, are learnable skills. They are necessary for your survival. If you carry all these weight from the past, you will move slowly, with difficulties, and your life-journey will be much more unpleasant than if you walk through life weightless and free to enjoy every moment of it.
You need to accept the life you have in order to be able to create the life you want. What this means is that you can only create new circumstances, change, thrive, and become who you want to be, when you accept what is happening in your life now.
Doing it doesn’t have to generate guilt. You don’t have to blame yourself, to feel guilty. You don’t need to have a poor opinion of your choices, or to be a victim of the circumstances, or of your past. You only need to accept who you are, in a loving and compassionate way, offering yourself the understanding and kindness you would show a loved one.
Start planting the seeds of your new life and wonderful future. Nothing stops you from creating a life that contains what you want and deserve. Only you can sabotage your efforts, life is on your side. If you want something, you must become what you want. No Love can enter a closed heart. No abundance can arrive to those who feel they don’t deserve it. No health can be restored if we don’t pay attention to the needs of our body. Change starts with awareness and understanding and it happens with acceptance.
Live with acceptance and not for acceptance. We are subject to the opinions and expectations of those around us. We live our lives fulfilling roles. We want to be the best employees, managers, parents, children, partners, friends, or neighbors. We sometimes achieve our goal at a cost. We have internal expectations of what all of those roles imply, and in order to be that person that we want to be, to fulfill that role perfectly, to demonstrate our Love to others and to be accepted by them, we stop loving ourselves in the process.
What we need to have a happier life is self-acceptance, not the acceptance of others. They are not walking through life wearing our shoes. No matter how much they know us, they cannot live our lives for us. You can create a new life: a life of pleasure, of abundance, of happiness and fun. We live our life overworked, in busyness, and without time to reflect, take care of ourselves, or make the best decisions. Nowadays all happens fast, and we may feel stressed and tired. Just pause, appreciate your life, and take some time to accept.
"When you invoke the agent of change called acceptance, you must accept all that you are,
all that you've been, and all that you will be in the future"
When you relate to others, be sure that you build a relationship that is authentic, no matter if it is with your life-partner, a colleague, a friend, or your children. See the other person as they are, and accept them completely, all of them. Don’t try to change, fix, or tell the other person how they must be to meet your standards.
To have a relationship means to support the other person, to empower them, to be there for them, but also to respect the other person and their decisions, even when you don’t like them. How difficult is to see that someone you Love deeply is stuck, confused, unhappy, or is not making the best decision (in your opinion). It can be hard to support them until they find a way out, a solution, or a new and better path in life. We frequently give unasked advice to others, with our best intentions, and it might not help the other person to move forward or to feel better.
In order to relate authentically with others, you should know who you are. You see the world through your own eyes, and you decode what happens to you influenced by past experiences, your belief system, your childhood, education, and the environment you live in. When you look at someone else, try to be neutral. You may inadvertently judge others, or project into them what you have not solved in your life, haven’t overcome or understood yet, or everything you are not conscious of, because it is suppressed or repressed. We blame others for making us feel a certain way, when they are giving us an opportunity to resolve underlying issues and unconscious patterns, and to heal past wounds that still affect us in the present.
We create relationships that are based on the ideas that we have about what our connection with a person should look like. Maybe we don’t know the real ‘person,’ not because they don’t allow us to do so, but because we don’t see who they really are. Sometimes, we idealize someone and, after the honeymoon period, once we see how the other person really is, we reject them. The other person has not changed, they were always the same. What has changed is only our opinion, and we realize that we were relating to this person through the filter of our own ideas about how the relationship should be.
If you want to really know someone, take your time to be with this person and build the connection; invest in it. Listen to what they say, and look at the way they act. Their behavior may speak louder than their words. When you are together, be one hundred percent present and give this person all your attention. You will perceive a lot more than mere words in a conversation. When you listen, don’t listen to answer, just listen deeply and actively. Make an effort to respond, not to react to what is said. Choose your words carefully and think if what you are going to say just fills the silence, or if it is really meaningful, uplifting, and necessary.
We learn a lot in our relationships. We become better beings in relation to others. We change the lives of those whom we Love. We are transformed by the Love we give and receive. Every relationship should bring out the best of each person (hopefully!), and if this is not the case, it might be teaching you something.
If a relationship you are in is not working, don't only blame the other person, always look at yourself too, and figure out what can you do on your end to improve it, even if it is just to be more loving. Look at what you bring to every one of your relationships, and try to be at your best in every encounter or conversation. Don’t ask for Love, shared it, give it freely and it will return to you multiplied.
"But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between
you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a
moving sea between the shores of your souls"
Let go of the need to control every aspect of your life. Allow your life to unfold. Release your expectations, and focus on the larger vision of your existence. Let go of your life’s plan and consider that maybe the Universe can create a plan that is better than yours.
You don’t need to be perfect, and you cannot expect life and others to be. But you can rely on the idea that things are unfolding perfectly in your life. No matter what it looks like, they truly are. Let go of your tendency to worry excessively. It is not helping you to achieve your goals. It is doing just the opposite. It is not allowing you to enjoy the journey, to savor the waiting.
Don’t worry about making mistakes. Don’t suffer in anticipation of errors. Follow your inner wisdom and allow yourself to be guided by the Universe. Tune into your intuition. Don’t judge the result of your actions as right or wrong, good or bad, just observe in the present moment. Don’t force anything. Life becomes easy when you are in alignment with life’s natural timing.
Live your life without the need of having everything in perfect order and exactly the way it is designed in your plan. Leave some room for the unexpected, don’t be rigid. Don’t analyze everything, don’t be anxious. It is good to have a plan to arrive where you want to go, but you don’t need to know exactly how to arrive there. Focus instead on getting clarity about what you want to happen in your life, the big picture.
Don’t think about what can go wrong, don’t worry about what might happen in the future. Instead, expect the best to come into your life. Use all your energy to visualize the positive results of your actions. Imagine and feel that what you want to achieve has already happened. Live now as you want to live your life in the future. Engage all your energy in this process.
Have a positive attitude. Love your life and be grateful for what you have. Rely on yourself and in the Universe. Feel confident and safe. Life has many blessings for you. The future is yours, an unfolding of the positive and magnificent present. You must believe it!
"As someone who has faced as much disappointment as most people, I've come to trust not
that events will always unfold exactly as I want, but that I will be fine either way"
So many things happen during the day that affect you. Some days, there are so many that you don’t even have the time to process them. We accumulate emotions that have not been lived. We go from one thing to the next, and we may think what we don’t have the time, or space, to feel an emotion the moment that it shows up.
We suppress our emotions because we believe that we cannot afford to pay attention to them; we have to be ok, all the time. We ignore our feelings and they keep accumulating, like letters in the mail. The problem is that these ignored feelings affect us, physically and emotionally, whether we want them to or not.
In other cases, we act as if nothing had happened because we are afraid that if we react or say something, we will create a bigger problem or an argument, and we decide to forget it, trying to make the emotion disappear, unsuccessfully. Or we feel that we don’t have the right to respond to an emotion, and we just silence ourselves, or stop expressing our thoughts and feelings, even to the point of losing our voice, or becoming disconnected from ourselves.
Any of the above sound familiar? How many times have you swept your feelings under the rug and have moved on with your life? These unheard and unfelt emotions create emotional toxins. And just like you take a shower to clean your body every day, you should find a way to do the same with all the emotional stuff accumulated. Journal about what you experience and what you feel, reflect on it while you walk, meditate, or just release what happened, and forgive yourself or others, if necessary.
Find a way to let go of emotions that works for you, but be with them first. Emotions don’t want to be forgotten, they want to be heard. By looking at them you will learn more about yourself, what triggers you, and how you react when faced with certain events. This awareness will create a space where you will be able to see the emotion coming to you and, deliberately, decide how to respond to the experience, even when you are feeling deeply. Like when you are angry, and you know it, but you decide not to take what happened personally, let the anger go, and you respond with kindness. It is your choice.
Remember that the emotions are yours, you create them, and you can let them go. Others can’t create your emotions, they just trigger them. Don’t blame others for what you feel. Instead, observe what happens within yourself during your day, recognize what you feel and honor it. There aren’t good or bad emotions, they are just energy in motion in your system. Find the courage to feel what you feel, and your life will be broader and deeper. Hear the message every emotion wants to deliver to you and be true to yourself.
"Your emotions make you human. Even the unpleasant ones have a purpose.
Don't lock them away. If you ignore them, they just get louder and angrier"
We tend to take our life for granted without appreciating its gifts. There are so many things that you can appreciate every day of your life. Have you realized how many days pass by in which you don't feel this appreciation? Pause and look around while you go through your day. There is beauty all around you, little things that can make your heart sing. You can experience moments of laughter, awe, Love, and joy. Don’t miss them.
To appreciate something, it is necessary to become aware of its existence. It is necessary to pay attention. To do it, you have to stop living only in your mind or on autopilot. Look around, connect with what life brings to you, be present and do one thing at a time. Once the sense of appreciation exists in your life, you can be grateful for it, but not before. Being grateful connects you to Love, Love for yourself, your life, and all that exists.
Appreciation starts with yourself, with the idea of unconditionally accepting who you are and being proud of yourself, of knowing your gifts, your strengths, your worth, and what you bring to the world. To Love yourself means to appreciate yourself totally and completely. Don’t wait until you receive validation and Love from someone else. The way to get them is to value and to Love yourself.
Appreciate what you have, don’t overlook it. There are so many things to be grateful for. It is so easy to focus on what is lacking in your life, but this will only bring you more lack. We tend to judge our life because it doesn’t look like the way it should. We are so hard on ourselves because we believe that we are not good enough. We can receive more abundance now, and being grateful for what we already have is the first step to making it happen.
Do you need ideas about what you can be grateful for? Be grateful for having a body that works and two legs that take you wherever you want to go, for your two eyes that allow you to see a wonderful sunset. Be grateful for the Love of your family and friends, for a kiss, a smile, a hug, for the Love you receive daily. Be grateful for the breeze in your face, for the sun that bathes you, for the flower that blooms for you. Be grateful because you are alive and you have the energy to do whatever you want. Enjoy every moment of your wonderful life. Don’t wait until you lose something to appreciate it.
Observe the conversation you have with yourself. Don’t get caught in thoughts that create self-doubt, judgment, and criticism. Stop thinking about the different issues you may have, pointing out what is not working, or it is not the way you want. Love what is as much as you can, even if you don’t like it, or it is not what you may have chosen. Your appreciation and gratitude open you up to abundance, to receiving, to being in the flow of life, of giving and receiving, and they will transform you and every aspect of your life.
"Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you.
Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day
regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe"
Dr. Wayne Dyer
You are never alone, you are always supported. Those who feel confident don’t feel that way because they know everything, or because they are perfectly prepared. They do it because they are able to trust, they trust themselves and the Universe. They are people that know that confidence comes from not being afraid to try even if you fail, that you can act even when you are afraid, that life presents opportunities and not only challenges. They know that they are always guided.
Some people intuitively know that they have to take the first step and that the rest will follow. They may not know how or when, but they trust. How easy it is to trust when things go well, when you feel safe, and when your life works. But, what about when you face a big challenge? Can you trust, then? And more importantly, how do you trust?
Trust is like intuition, in a certain way. When you trust you get information from you know not where, but that feels right. Trust is like an inner voice that supports and encourages you to keep moving forward with your life and says “things will work out for you.” To be able to trust and follow the guidance you need some peace of mind, silence, and stillness. Be focused and pay attention.
Self-doubt will attack you when trust is not totally there. You want proof, you look for security, and you don’t like to make decisions when all is uncertain. You want to have things under control. But there are moments in life when you can only trust. It requires practice, but trust is something you can learn and develop. It is important to discover how to trust yourself and stop sabotaging your life.
What can you do when the enemy of trust shows up? Know that the inner critic, who plays in your mind with all these negative thoughts when you feel in danger or not confident, can be trained to be more supportive. It will require to become aware of your thoughts, and to consciously develop better, more supportive, happier thoughts. You are the owner of your thoughts, and you can choose them.
You will become more self-confident if you accept the idea that you have the power to change anything you want in your life because you are not a victim of your present circumstances. You may be going through a difficult moment, but this is not who you are. The power of letting go of the past, self-criticism, and blame, and the healing energy of forgiveness, are your allies. Let us trust. What a relief!
"With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability,
one can build a better world"
Judith Costa is a Life and Love Coach, Seminar Leader, Writer and Speaker. She has a Masters degree in Psychology & Psychotherapy and an MBA. She helps her clients to overcome their blocks to Love, to Love themselves and to manifest the relationship they want.