Last week, Marley Parker shared what she wanted to be known for most. She said she wanted people to know that it’s okay to want more for your life, okay to want something different from what everyone else is doing, okay to not know where life is going, and okay to not have the perfect plan for your life.
A few days before listening to that episode, funnily enough, I’d told my counselor that I was in a season of “being okay.” As I adjust to my new home and life, I’m learning to be okay with the ways I’m not meeting my own expectations and also with having those expectations in the first place.
This concept of self-acceptance is something that this week’s podcast guest has also wrestled with. For Austin Church, “being okay” meant turning the critical voice in his head into a comforter, a cheerleader. It meant finding ways to accept and love himself so that he could love others better too.
Before he could do that, though, he first had to understand who he was and what he needed to achieve this healthier way of being. I loved hearing the specific ways Austin explored these needs, so I wanted to use this blog to offer a few tips of my own.
I have fears, judgments, and ideas swirling through my head constantly. Journaling helps me focus on individual thoughts and develop them fully. Rather than being weighed down by half-formed, reactionary thinking, I can look for truths and reject negative beliefs.
Like Austin said, journaling allows you to ask yourself questions. Intentionally spending this time with yourself can uncover your deepest wants and needs. As your journal becomes a sanctuary for you to be with yourself, your mind has the space to become the same safe haven.
Being critical of yourself is often a default mode. When you’re used to having your worst critic in your head at all times, it’s easy to accept those judgments as fact.
But they’re typically not. Not even close.
Get in the habit of questioning where these thoughts come from. Often, they can stem from one of your deepest needs or fears.
If you feel like you can’t ask for or don’t deserve support from a loved one, for example, that may come from a fear of being a burden. When you recognize that root, it’s easier to examine it logically. You are then able to accept that need rather than berating yourself for your hesitance to ask for help.
In some ways, the people you trust will always know you better than you know yourself. People are wired to see the best in others, even while acknowledging their flaws.
Since you can’t always trust your self-evaluation, ask your loved ones for their insights. Some things to ask include:
You can also be honest about the ways you struggle. Tell your best friend that you are afraid to ask for help because you don’t want to be a burden. You can then work together to meet that need, such as having them ask you what you need rather than waiting for you to voice it.
You are a complex being. The only way to understand and accept yourself fully is to learn more about who you are.
What do you want? What do you need? Why are those things important to you? What drives you? How have you changed throughout your life and are you happy with those changes?
Understanding yourself empowers you to pursue a life that reflects your priorities and desires. You will be more fulfilled in your self-acceptance and thus able to love and accept others better as well.
Get the full story here for Austin’s tips for self-acceptance, his powerful perspective on life, and his strategy for shoring up his weaknesses.