Pretty much every tv ad tells us that we’re not good enough – our car isn’t nippy enough, our cleaning products don’t make our kitchens sparkle, our computers should be faster and of course, if only we were really pretty and rich, we’d also be running through the streets of Paris in ballgowns chased by handsome men hot with desire like the annual Christmas ads.
This message of not being good enough is everywhere and it slips insidiously into our subconscious without us even realising. Imposter syndrome is such a buzz phrase right now – because everyone feels it.
That’s right – every single person, and some point in time and to some degree has felt that they’re not enough. Many, many people feel like this all the time…
People talk about self-love and self-esteem – but none of those can exist unless we accept ourselves first. It’s the foundation of everything.
Troubled behaviour? Addiction? Anger issues? Anxiety? Eating disorders? Look below the surface and the majority of the time, you’ll find elements of shame and feeling unlovable – in other words that feeling that we’re not enough.
So how do we encourage our kids to accept themselves, even if it’s something we undoubtedly struggle with ourselves?
It may surprise you to know that self-acceptance is a choice. That’s right. Very few people make mistakes, shrug their shoulders and immediately let it go or look in the mirror and love their wobbly bits. Few of us look at our bank accounts, businesses or careers and think that we’re awesome…
….and besides, self-acceptance is not about wearing rose-tinted glasses. It’s not about pretending that we’re a size 8, when the 14 feels tight or that our partner loves us even if we’re constantly behaving badly or that our boss is bound to give us a promotion when actually we barely show up when we’re at work.
Self-acceptance is just that. It’s about seeing ourselves as who we really are – warts and all; it’s about knowing our own strengths and weaknesses in equal measure – and being ok with both the good and the not so good. It’s about recognising that we’re only human and we’re doing our best in any given moment – even if that best isn’t quite as good as we’d like it to be.
And that’s why it’s the cornerstone of all the other traits that we all long for – self-love, self-esteem, confidence, resilience, optimism. It’s only by knowing and accepting who we are that we can love ourselves without that nagging feeling that we’re lying to ourselves that comes with turning a blind eye to our faults and foibles.
If you’re worried that teaching your kids self-acceptance will result in them being lazy – rest easy. Self-acceptance doesn’t mean looking at our faults and saying “oh well, that’s just how I am”. Often precisely the opposite is true. When we really recognise our weaknesses, we use them as a springboard to improvement. Not because we are unhappy in ourselves, but because we realise that we can do better. It encourages us to self-actualise and be the best that we can be.
And that’s why every single one of our audios, includes affirmations that we are ok exactly as we are. Because only then, can we be truly happy within ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but I want that for my kids. Let’s be honest, I want that for myself too.