I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can live my best life:
- Do I have good habits?
- In what areas can I improve?
- Is my morning routine optimized?
- Did I meditate three times this week?
- Did I go through my ten-point morning checklist?
Is it the routine of my habits that matter or the results and how I feel afterwards that make me feel satisfied? I’ve been asking myself:
- Am I a good person?
- Did I do something good today?
- Did I leave my community better than I found it?
Some days are easy and the “doing good” is obvious and plentiful; however, I am self-critical, pensive, and thoughtful. I usually feel like I can do better — I can do better and bring more good into the world. Lately, I’ve been hypercritical of myself and vocal about it. Some of it’s situational and external, but a lot of it is my own self-talk.
When the Philadelphia Phillies made it to the World Series, it just about unseated me. I’ll explain: A game started at 8:03 p.m. and ended after midnight – closer to 1 a.m. This pattern was repeated for more than a week. Combine watching the World Series with my self-care routines and family commitments and it didn’t take long for the wheels to fall off of my disciplined, productive, balanced, and happy lifestyle. I was eating French fries and drinking soda at midnight. I turned into a 54-year-old toddler, which isn’t’ good form for the president of a scaling company. I needed a nap by midday and struggled to keep my eyes open during business meetings!
It was great fun, but it wore me out and I literally started to feel crappy about myself. I talked to friends and family about my current situation and an improvement plan. On my mission to resume bringing more good into the world, I was introduced to “self-acceptance.” By definition, self-acceptance is “an individual’s acceptance of ALL of their attributes, positive or negative.” Essentially, it’s when we accept every part of ourselves — the good, the bad, and the ugly. To be self-accepting you must embrace ALL your flaws and own ALL your past decisions and life choices.
Now the holidays are here and the upheaval the holidays bring are analogous to the World Series curveball and its impact on my life. The holidays add extra to everyday. I’ll shift the narrative and make YOU the focus.
There’s so much to do during the holidays, then pile on shopping, cooking, cleaning, visiting, decorating, wrapping, buying, giving . . . then add time constraints and financial pressures! Visions of your perfect Rockwell holiday begin to melt away.
I’m sharing my list that helps me practice self-acceptance right now. I really do think it helps combat stress.
- Realize mistakes will be made and you will survive them. I aim for perfection even though I know it’s impossible.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Generally I don’t; however, sometimes I am jealous of the guy hanging holiday lights in November.
- Reach out to others who are supportive and positive when you’re stuck in a negative thought loop. In the past, I never asked for help but I realize we’re all doing the best we can and sometimes we need the assist.
- Forgive yourself! Take ownership of and acknowledge mistakes made, reflect on lessons learned, and let go of everything else. This is new for me but because of it, I feel better.
- Give to others. Be the good in this world.
My primary goal in life is to do good to help others live their best life personally and professionally. I am living my life out loud. If you’re thinking about how to practice self-acceptance this holiday season, please share your thoughts with me. The Outside Insights community benefits from shared ideas.
To quote Tara Brach, psychologist, author, and proponent of Buddhist teaching, “The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom.”
If you enjoyed this article, I recommend reading these past Outside Insights posts:
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