Want to Be Your Best Self? Embrace the Amazing Person You Already Are.
If you’re like most of our therapy or life coaching clients, you’re intelligent, objectively successful, and a kind person who many people love, respect, and admire.
And yet… You might not feel like you’re really as amazing as you could be. You believe that you can do more, be more, feel more clear about who you are, and feel better about the way you’re living your life. Most importantly, you believe you can be happier, enjoy your life more than you do.
You believe there’s a higher, and more self-actualized version of you somewhere inside of you. And if you’re like most people, sometimes you feel frustrated or get down on yourself when you can’t be the person you know you can be, all the time. Here are some tips to help you intentionally make contact with the best part of yourself, and allow more of that “real you” to take positive action in your life:
Tips For Cultivating Your Best Self
1. Notice when you’re already being who you want to be.
You know that feeling you have when you do something healthy, good, or positive? Like the way you feel when you leave yoga class, or the gym? Or when you choose the kale power-salad for lunch? Or get some amazing feedback from your boss or coworker about what a good job you did? Or when you spend a gorgeous day outside, or in the company of someone you love? Or when you’re totally absorbed in flow? Or exhilarating yourself to embrace a challenge, or learn something new? Yes?
You DO have those moments. And all of those are times when your happy, best self is at the front and center of your life already.
When you intentionally focus on what’s going right in your life, it shifts your perspective and your mood. It helps you to feel like the person you want to be, which in turn helps you intentionally cultivate more of the you that you want.
2. Stop beating yourself up.
Do you scold and shame yourself for every little thing? Do you call yourself names? Do you sweep aside all of the positive, good things you have going on and criticize yourself for the negative, instead?
You’re not alone. We all internalize an inner voice that lives inside us, and that narrates our experiences. Many people, sadly, have come to believe that the “key to staying motivated” is to be ruthlessly harsh, demanding, or even demeaning to themselves if they’re not perfectly perfect.
However, what we know from decades of research into positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, and healthy human development, (learn more about evidence-based therapy) is that when people feel safe to learn from their mistakes, accepted and supported, respected and valued, they can grow and evolve. In contrast, people who feel that mistakes are catastrophic and who believe that they are intrinsically bad, worthless, or irredeemable will get stuck and paralyzed with shame and fear.
Decide to be an emotionally safe, supportive, and respectful friend to yourself. (Read: “How to Love Yourself”) Cultivate an encouraging “growth mindset.” Learning how to accept and trust yourself, and being affirming and compassionate with yourself just as you are, will (paradoxically), allow you to grow and bloom.
Want more inspiration for how to cultivate a growth mindset? Check out this video from Heidi Grant Halverson: The Incredible Benefits of a “Get Better” Mindset
3. Stop comparing yourself to others.
It is such a common mistake; to believe that no one else feels the way you do, or doesn’t wrestle with the same stressors or pain points. Especially as more of our social lives are dominated by carefully curated posts and photos, it can be easy to trick yourself into believing that everyone else is happy and has all this stuff figured out already. At a distance it’s easy to imagine that everyone is as gorgeous, accomplished, successful, intelligent, and confident as they appear. As you appear.
And yet every single person walking this earth (including me!) has a mandate to learn, grow, and figure out how to live intentionally, responsibly, mindfully, and happily. Every day brings new opportunities for us to increase our capacity for love and compassion — both for ourselves and others. Everyone has good days and days they wish they could do over. Oprah Winfrey herself probably has moments where she snaps at someone, or says something she regrets, or feels frustrated… or cries. Yes, Oprah cries too. We’re all on a path of growth and personal evolution. And you’re just like everyone else on the earth, trying to figure it out.
Except that you are aware. Sadly, many people don’t even consider the possibility that they can do better, or be better. They just do what they’ve always done (even if it’s painful and unsatisfying, or leads to not-so-great outcomes) without ever having the thought in their head that they have the power to choose who they are, and what they want their lives to be about. They may genuinely believe fate alone created their circumstances, and that they have no control over themselves, the results they get, or their ultimate destiny.
But you do. You know you have the power to grow and to do more. That’s why you’re reading this article. So, stop comparing yourself to others. The fact of that is evidence that you are self-aware, and already actively embracing growth, and are already moving forward on your glorious path of personal evolution.
Here’s to you,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
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