Inside: I like myself. Liking who we are requires a one-time choice and daily practice. Here are some ways to practice.
I like myself. The full, messy, truth of who I am.
I’m boring. Ordinary. One might even say, mediocre. I love time alone and sometimes feel lonely. I long for deep connection but am not that great at friendship. A simple life makes me happy, I’m stubborn and crave order, I’m not ambitious but can be really hard on myself. I say what I mean, procrastinate and wrestle with fear, I’m growth-minded and feel deeply.
I like myself.
I walk in quiet confidence because I know my story and what I’ve overcome, I understand where I struggle but I also clearly see my strengths. I own the ways I compare, hide, or feel jealous, that I need to work daily, deliberately, to guard my mind-body health. I’m fairly low energy and sometimes wonder if I’d have survived without the strength and stability my husband provides (though I suspect he’d say the same about me).
Still, I choose to like myself.
I get triggered to anger, like being right, and since childhood have had a mean inner critic that tells me I’m not good enough. It matters to me that I live authentically, in integrity, and can get judgey about people who don’t seem to do the same. I care far more about kindness than accomplishments or stuff. I’m a work in progress – healing, stretching, growing, becoming.
And I genuinely like who I am.
Do You Like Yourself?
What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same.
I think one of the main reasons people are drawn to me or my work is because they too want to make peace with the full truth of who they are and what they want.
They seek the courage, permission even, to let go of the clamor of impossible inner and outer expectations, the pressures of who they used to be or thought they should be. They long to quiet the noise of comparison, perfectionism and fear and simply show up honest and accepting of, happy and grateful for, who they are.
They want to like themselves.
Maybe you are here because you want to like yourself too.
Stop Deferring Happiness
Liking yourself is not about external circumstances – it’s an inside job.
Choosing to like who we are right now – in the thick of our doubts or desiring change, the questioning, crisis, or daily struggle – is important. I’d argue it’s essential for wholeness and happiness.
There is freedom here. A life of purpose, health and joy is dependent upon this.
We can’t pour out if we don’t pour in and it’s hard to fully love others if we don’t love ourselves first. As we offer ourselves compassion and acceptance, as we become gentler with ourselves, this spills out into all our relationships and interactions.
We can choose to like ourselves right now – while we are in progress – and then we practice daily, hourly. We can decide to treat ourselves kindly, to speak life to ourselves and treat ourselves like we matter, in the middle of the storm or the humdrum of life.
It’s a lie that you’ll finally like yourself when you lose weight, break that addiction, find your dream job, own nicer clothes, when everyone else approves of you, or you finally get your s**t together. If you move or get a new job or find a new boyfriend, you bring the old you into your new circumstances.
Liking yourself is not about external circumstances – it’s an inside job.
You can stop deferring happiness and choose to be happy now. You can choose to like yourself now.
You can be growth minded and want to heal and stretch and become the healthiest version of yourself and still appreciate yourself right now. Each purposeful step of the way.
What “Liking Myself” Isn’t
Liking myself means I see the full, messy truth of who I am, I take personal responsibility for how I show up in the world, and I offer myself the compassion and acceptance required for health and happiness.
Liking myself doesn’t mean making excuses for hurting other people. We need to own our BS.
It doesn’t mean putting my hands up in surrender and choosing to live stuck in unhealthy patterns of thought or behavior.
It does not mean acting arrogant or not listening well when people we love need to share how we can love them better or differently.
Liking or approving of myself doesn’t mean that I think “I’ve arrived” or have life all figured out. I don’t think we ever arrive. We just keep practicing.
It doesn’t mean I’m never afraid (I’ve simply learned to show up through fear), never struggle to see my way forward, never need other people to help lift me up, never have trouble quieting the noise of my inner critic. We need each other.
Liking myself doesn’t protect me from times of sorrow or pain. It doesn’t magically mean I never tip into heightened anxiety or lows of depression. But none of this determines my worth.
Liking who we are does not mean we don’t admire or respect or feel a little envious at times of other people’s gifts and work in the world. But we always come back to the truth that we can admire another without needing to be like them.
It doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes, sometimes wish I were different or that life felt easier.
We are human. Imperfect and beautiful.
How You Can Practice Liking Yourself
Liking who we are requires a one-time choice and daily practice.
Learning to like yourself is a slow journey that begins with drawing a line in the sand. You make a choice and then walk it out daily.
You notice what you do well each day – maybe you ask yourself these 3 questions each night.
You learn to take imperfect action and build a sense of confidence and competency in doing so. Perfection is not the goal – showing up on purpose is the goal.
You build a friendship with yourself, slow and steady. This requires learning to listen in to what you like, what makes you happy, what lights you up or drains you. This often means spending time alone so that you get to know your own voice.
You will likely need to lower your standards in some areas of life and choose good enough.
You might practice expressing gratitude and appreciation for the body you’re in. You stop rejecting the full, beautiful truth of who you are and this includes your limp, cellulite, freckles and frizzy hair.
You might notice how you keep trying to find your identity in other people or fads. How you merge and conform in an effort to be accepted. You’ll let go of relationships that feel dishonoring and carefully build an inner circle of folks who like who you are and have your back.
It is possible that as you check in daily you’ll stop reading books because they make you look smart, stop trying to dress to fit in or look the part, and slowly figure out what you actually enjoy and wear what makes you feel good in your own skin.
My guess is, as you practice liking who you are, you’ll begin unsubscribing from social media or commitments that drain you, suck you into comparison, or leave you feeling less-than.
You’ll begin offering your light – not out of obligation or urgency to make your mark in the world – but simply because you’re starting to understand that you are gifted on purpose and contribution matters for health and happiness.
You tentatively begin setting healthier boundaries.
Change is inevitable and you practice making space for who you are today and for new, joyful opportunities; you release your grip on what was and become an intentional declutterer.
I suspect you’ll want help as you do this essential inner work. You might invite a counselor, a coach, a wise advisor to come alongside and help you awaken to your strengths, your shadow, the ways you’ve learned to protect yourself from hurt. Sometimes we need objective counsel.
You stop numbing and notice your grief, anger, fear, impatience. You allow yourself to taste pleasure, joy, hope, anticipation. You own your addictive patterns or drug of choice, you get professional help where needed, and little by little you have less need of a crutch.
You establish a no-bullying policy: you may have a mean inner critic but you decide to only speak to yourself with kindness. You get stronger and stronger about examining your thoughts and beliefs.
Instead of blaming other people and outsourcing your pain you get honest about what you want and take small daily steps in that direction.
Daily you remind yourself of how you want to feel and you rehearse a mantra or favorite verse that keeps your heart and mind steady.
You catch yourself when you’re judging or criticizing another person – you realize that it’s most often a reflection of your own insecurity or fear.
You stop trying to control or convince others; you remember that what you can control is your own behavior, your own response.
You begin to laugh more freely – life is messy but also beautiful and you want to really live.
You stop expecting life to be easy or thinking you’re doing life wrong because now you know that a real, beautiful, purposeful life involves stress, hard choices, and discomfort.
When you make a mistake or behave according to old patterns you don’t beat yourself up but you own it, make reparation, and carry on. We’re all in progress.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. -E.E. Cummings
Change doesn’t happen overnight; It often sneaks up on us.
It shocks me, the ease with which I can say that I like myself today. Yet this is the result of a stubborn determination to show up each day and practice, hour to hour, day after day, year by year.
A forging my way to freedom.
A decision to plod forward when life feels easy and when it’s achingly hard.
I believe you are artwork – on purpose – and we’re not meant to be the same. Other people may take you or leave you – that is, after all, their choice – but you can decide to like yourself.
This is essential for wholeness and happiness.
NOW WHAT? Consider how life might shift if you make this one conscious choice and then walk it out daily. I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments! Or reach out for support here.