You don’t need to look for greener grass.
Three out of four women are unhappy with the way they look or feel and nine out of ten women that answer our “I Love My” question without us guiding them, answer with a loving “family, kids, life,” etc. It is clear that women tie the way they feel to their circumstances and image. That’s why diet and self-help books are best sellers, and is the number one category for book retailers. Many of us women think we need to change ourselves in order to be happier. But, self-help programs aren’t the answer, at least not at first.
We must start with acceptance. Women can be happy with who they are without feeling the need to constantly change themselves and it begins with recognizing the traits that create our unique identities. I have mentored thousands of women to increase their confidence as the editor of Identity Magazine, and I suggest writing in a journal as the entry point to happiness. I believe writing is not only therapeutic, but a key to self discovery and becoming happier.
Here are three simple tips to accept yourself through journal writing, even for those who are not writers.
1. Acknowledge Your Qualities: You must know who you are in order to accept yourself. Most self-esteem experts suggest listing out your best traits and the things you love. However, this can be a stumbling block for women who struggle with self-esteem. Instead, I advise you to dump it all out on paper , aka braindumping– the good, the bad, and the ugly. Self-love is not about perfection or success. Your qualities make up the overall package of the things you are proud of, your failures, your personality traits, your quirks, and imperfections—mentally and physically. Knowing yourself inside and out is the first step to acceptance and I challenge you to start now.
2. Release and Let Go: Each of us has had an experience that can affect the way we feel about ourselves, and deeply impact our self-esteem: harmful relationships, unhappy bosses, competitive friendships, a family at war, or even going up or down a size in jeans. I suggest you release and let go of these experiences, and remember, our experiences do not make up who we are. We can learn from them, but they shouldn’t define our identities. Simply releasing opens us up to accepting ourselves and our past situations.
3. Use what works: Journaling doesn’t require a pen and paper or traditional journal at all. Find what works for you. If you are a computer person, sit with your laptop, if you are an extrovert, speak it out loud and make video of yourself (Vlog)! For talkers, buddy up with a close friend and chat it out. For those that are angst-filled and need to actively release, do something liberating like using lipstick to mark up your mirror with your thoughts.
Remember, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to accepting who you are.
Try this simple exercise: Close your eyes, take a deep breathe, and visualize waking up with a smile of simple happiness, pure bliss without an ounce of a negative thought. Create this vision a few times a day, especially while your are lying in bed just before you are about to pull yourself up.
I hope you find these first three steps valuable and consider taking action right now.