…. You first of all accept yourself.
The Self-Help and Business Self-Help industry is missing a critical point for many years now. It’s actually concerning the level of what is being missed… read on for 3 minutes to learn a very important distinction that will impact your life from here forward
Ok so we’re not going to war here really, however I want to give you an insight into true self-development and what the most important thing is for you to know:
Personal development is pointless if you don’t first of all accept yourself.
Many people are spending their money and time on things that they think will help them develop personally, or professionally or in business, and that’s fine as long as you are developing you, and not developing a somebody else that you are pretending to be.
People in business or management or leadership positions are often some of the best at accepting themselves, maybe because there is such immediate and irrefutable (and often public) feedback available to them about how they are showing up in the world.
Maybe it’s because they like what they do and so they like themselves, or maybe it’s because they like themselves and so like what they do.
It’s not always this way however, and oftentimes there is a tendency to think that….well, if I could just achieve this then I’d be happy, or if I could be like this person then life would just be perfect, or if I could just make myself be like him or her, or like the way society says I should be, then I would be successful.
That might work for you if you are wanting to acquire a specialist skill and you are self-aware and on your own mission, but what if you are looking to acquire someone else’s personal brand, or copy a way of life that someone else has, or even an entire philosophy for life, that is not who you are?
What happens then?
If someone approaches ‘personal development’ or ‘self-development’ with a foundation built on anything other than self-acceptance, to me the obvious question is –
Who is it that you are actually developing, if you don’t first of all accept yourself?
Unless you accept yourself first, how do you know for sure that you are actually developing YOU, and who you are; as opposed to just creating more problems and moving further away from yourself?
(For those of you in business leadership doesn’t it apply there too?)
While I am not very familiar with all the writings of Seneca, there is a profound and truthful quote attributed to him which helps us here, and it is this –
“A measure of the difficulty in achieving the happy life
Is that the greater the man’s energy in striving for it
The further he goes away from it,
If he has taken a wrong turn on the road”
If you are going to ‘develop’ yourself or your business, just do a quick check and ask whether you are actually developing yourself rather than developing ‘a somebody else’.
Remain mindful that the answer can only be yes, if you have first accepted yourself.
If the answer is no; then would it be ok to suggest that you work towards firstly accepting yourself.
I appreciate that this is a major shift in thinking for a lot of people, especially for those who gobble up ‘self-development’ products.
I also appreciate though, that a lot of people will profoundly benefit from the major shift in life that self-acceptance brings.
Simply ask the question: “is this me?”
Then wait for an answer that does not involve long drawn out internal conversations in your head.
Asking “is this me?” with regard to any situation and taking the signals you get back from your body, rather than the language you hear in your head, will help you know the answer.
This also applies to the next time you are giving out about someone else for doing something that annoys you. In that situation just ask yourself “how is this me – how do I do this to others, even in a symbolic way?”
The more you accept yourself the more you are likely to accept others as they are.
The less you accept others as they are, then there is a likelihood that you are not accepting yourself as you are, and very possibly this could be happening outside your own awareness.
Doing these quick checks can provide you with a measure for how well you accept yourself.
Am I saying ignore critical thinking?
Some challenges require that kind of thinking, however this article is purely about self-acceptance.
Wouldn’t you like to actually like yourself?
Wouldn’t you prefer that people liked you rather than ‘a someone else’ that you might be pretending to be?
At least you’ll know that if they don’t like you when you’re being you, that it’s really just because they haven’t accepted themselves as they are and so it’s not even you that they don’t like anyway!
It’s actually because they haven’t yet gained their own self-acceptance, and so the best thing you can do to help them, is to actually accept yourself.
What about your business – is it really the one you want. If not what’s holding you back from doing that one. (Work on that instead and work on what’s stopping you!)
At the very least remember what Seneca said, and remember that your success depends on your own happiness. Happiness is not a goal to be achieved in the future – you can have in an instant and it will come to you easier if you are on the right road.
Who knows if you’re on the right road? Only you know and only you know, and only you know the answer to the question “is this me?”
All the other self-help ‘stuff’ is pointless until you are developing ‘you’ your accepted self.