A major step toward a life of self-acceptance is to be comfortable with who you are. Even if there are things you may want to change and improve about your life, loving and accepting who you are at this very moment is vital for being fulfilled. This means not comparing yourself to anyone else. Comparing yourself to others is the gateway to depression. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is yesterday’s you. If you are on a path of personal development and growth, only use yesterday’s you as your marker for self-improvement.
It is ok to see someone or their accomplishments and desire to aspire to those similar things. Doing things makes you realize these things are possible. However, comparing yourself to that exact person is never healthy. First, you have no idea of their personal trials and tribulations. Chances are, you are seeing them towards the end of their very long road, and you missed all their missteps, re-do’s, and sleepless nights. Also, they may have had a “leg up” in some way that helped to launch them in the right direction. Therefore, use other people’s success as motivation and never comparison!
So, what is a way to help you feel confident and sure of yourself? Because it is these qualities that will help you lead a fulfilled life, right? Also, when you are confident and sure of yourself you can better allow yourself to be motivated by others rather than envious and simply feel comfortable living YOUR life! This is done through having solid personal values.
An important step in knowing who you are deep in your soul is to know and understand your values. Values are defined as: “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” Once you identify your values and use them as the foundation on which all your life decisions and beliefs stand, you become strong in mind, body, and spirit. When you are strong in these three core areas of your life, your independence accelerates. Once you are an independent person, your confidence rises exponentially. With values, there is no question as to why you do certain things or not do certain things. Values help set the direction for your life. As an example, if your health is one of your values, you will structure your life around a daily workout, healthy eating, and time to rest and relax.
Having strong, personally defined values that guide all that you do is evidence of your self-awareness. Also, with values serving as your foundation, you have confidence in all your decisions and actions. The values serve as your personal goalpost, which is important because it reminds you of your focus. And, just as a goalpost does, it clearly indicates when you have stayed the course or when you have missed your mark. Having this clear focus gives you confidence to know where you are headed and when you have arrived.
Those individuals who from a young age inherently know who they are and what they want to be, do, have, and give are extremely rare. It is almost as if they were born knowing their values. Most of us need life experience and trials and tribulations to determine what our values are. There is no right or wrong with what your path is. In this chapter, if you do not already have personal values identified we will do that together. If you already have personal values, we will review and confirm them. Either way, you will have a platform from which you make all decisions for your life. You will find that it is freeing and exhilarating.
You know how movies show a parent, grandparent, or other mentor figure in a young person’s life telling them that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to? In theory, it always sounds wonderful, but only a small percentage of people believe it and act on it. Now, if you are five feet tall and have a dream of being a forward on a basketball team with the most rebounds, you may very well always have an uphill battle to climb. Not that you can’t do it, but you will need to become a very scrappy player to get a lot of rebounds, because due to the laws of gravity, a six-foot player may have a greater natural ability to get more rebounds than you.
However, for most things in life, that inspirational advice can be true. You want to be a firefighter, do it. You want to be a teacher, do it. You want to start your own business, do it. It all boils down to the faith you have in yourself and a true inner knowledge of your capabilities. Oftentimes this starts with knowing your values.
Do you know your values? Let’s do a little exercise to identify or solidify your values. Download the Know Your Values Worksheet here. Take your time with this. Complete it, but then come back to it a few days later and see how it sits with you. Make any adjustments necessary. Once you have identified 3-6 values with which you want to live your life, write your definition for each. It is important to do this because these are your own values and definitions, so make them personal and meaningful to you, allowing you to relate to them at any given time. It helps make them come to life for you rather than being words on a sheet of paper that anyone can have.
Come back and revisit this at least once a year. As you learn, grow, and evolve, so might your values. There is nothing wrong with changing one or two out every so often as you gain new experience and the knowledge and wisdom that comes along with it.
Nothing helps a person be more self-aware and confident than knowing and living your values. Congratulations on working on this important step!