When people ask us what we want to improve ourselves, a long list of things comes to mind quickly. On the other hand, when we are asked what we love about ourselves, we need to dig deeper to discover what we like about ourselves. I have been on a journey of self-acceptance over the past few years. My strengths and flaws make me the unique person that I am. Accepting them has helped me feel whole and happier. I started seeing myself as a complete person with multiple facets.
In this blog post, we will explore how self-acceptance changes our outlook on life. This post continues our February series on loving ourselves.
Starting point: What does self-acceptance mean?
The benefits of accepting ourselves
Many great things happen once we start the journey of self-acceptance.
#1: We are more confident
Knowing and accepting your strengths and weaknesses changes how you see yourself. You exude a high level of confidence in who you are. Although you know you are not perfect, you are perfectly fine with it.
#2: We know that failure or weaknesses do not define us
With our flaws, it is crucial to know that they are one aspect of who we are but not the entirety of our identity. We spend so much time focusing on our flaws and allowing them to overshadow our good traits. You are a whole person that has a lot of good to offer.
#3: We accept others more
One of the biggest challenges we face in relationships is wishing people to change and become more like a mental image of them. After we accept ourselves, it is very easy to accept others for who they are. We don't expect perfection from others and appreciate their whole beings.
#4: We are kind to ourselves
When we stop wishing we were someone else and accept who we are, we show ourselves more compassion. Our self-talk changes from constant critique to being more understanding and kind to ourselves. We focus more on our strengths and are not as hard on ourselves.
#5: We live to our full potential
Believing that you are who you were meant to give your newfound energy. You go through life with a sense of positivity and hope. This change in perspective will fuel your life and help you accomplish more.
Final Thoughts - MC's Journey
A few years ago, I realized that self-acceptance is a gift that only I can give myself. I had gone through most of my life desiring traits that I saw in others. The constant thought of needing to get rid of my flaws to live a good life consumed my mind. It felt like I would never be the "perfect" person that I desired to be. One of the turning points was when I started spending more time getting to know my strengths. I felt energized by focusing on my strengths and celebrated who I was more. My perspective changed from thinking that my flaws defined me to embrace every aspect of my being.
Time for Reflection
What aspect of yourself do you want to accept?
How will you remind yourself to accept who you are daily?
How will you celebrate who you are?
Are you leveraging your strengths?
This month we are focusing on showing ourselves some love. One of the ways we can celebrate our awesomeness is by leveraging our strengths. It is very easy to talk about what we do not do well. However, focusing on our strengths requires being more intentional.
In this blog post, we will explore ways to live in our strengths and be our best selves.
Do you know your strengths?
One of the things that changed my life was learning more about my strengths. I did not really know what I was good at for the longest time. Many things that people said to me growing up focused on what I could be doing better. I hardly heard, "oh, this is what you are very good at ."It took me actually going on a self-discovery journey to find out what my strengths were. The strengths finder self-assessment was one of the tools that gave me words to describe my strengths. I can now confidently answer the question when I am asked what I'm good at. Another helpful tool to discover my strengths has been feedback that people give me. I struggled with accepting positive feedback as fact. It has helped me see the strengths others see in me.
Strategies to consider
Are you using your strengths?
Knowing your strengths is great; however, you need to use your strengths. We all have many strengths that we don't think about or rarely use. I see our strengths as gifts that we were given to enrich ourselves, families, community, workplace, and lives of people we come in contact with. Using our strengths will help us feel more fulfilled. I seek opportunities to leverage my strengths in the jobs I do or how I spend my personal time.
Strategies to consider
How are you building your strengths?
We focus a lot on improving things we are not good at. There is
always an opportunity for us to keep getting better at things that we do well. Interesting one of my strengths is that I am a learner. I invest time and explore new ways of learning every year. The better I get at learning, the more fulfilled I feel in my life. I have seen the benefits flow into other areas of my life, like my work.
Strategies to consider
Over the past six years, I have been on the journey of discovering and leveraging my strengths. It has really changed my outlook on life and how I think about myself.
Call to Action
Over the next two weeks, find two hours to reflect on the following:
In recent conversations with people around me, I have been hearing the sentiment that the year so far has been exhausting. Typically, when the new year starts, we are all excited and look forward to the wonderful things coming. I was wondering how January felt so long and incredibly busy. Feeling this tired at the beginning of the year was not the plan. It is time for a small reset to make sure we take care of ourselves and live the lives we want.
In this blog post, we will check in ourselves with the help of 10 questions and assess the changes that we need to make to take care of ourselves. In February, we will be focusing on loving ourselves.
#1: Have you made time for yourself?
It has been a hectic year so far, and it feels like we are running behind everything we want to do. In the last five weeks, I have not spent a lot of time with myself. I feel like I have been pouring myself into work caring for my family and have forgotten what I need. Self-care was something I planned to prioritize this year. However, I have not made the time yet.
#2: Are you getting some rest?
Sleep is often the first thing we cut when we get busy. Reflecting on the past weeks, I know that I did not get as much sleep as I needed because I was trying to meet self-imposed deadlines. One of the routines that I planned for this year was going to bed on time, but I have not followed through.
#3: Are you connecting with great people?
Human connection is a source of energy for a lot of us. I really miss spending quality time with people that I like. We are all rushing through life and have forgotten to check-in and have deep conversations with our people.
#4: Have you worked towards your goals?
You can be very busy but not making progress towards your goals. This is extremely easy when you are overworked or spending more time meeting other people's needs. Do not be discouraged; there are many more weeks for you to work towards your goals.
#5: Are you acknowledging how you're feeling?
Being honest about how you are feeling is not always easy. Sometimes, it is easier not to think about your feelings because it's hard to process. Admitting to being overwhelmed and exhausted was hard to do. Most of us are taught to suppress our feelings and act like everything is ok.
#6: Have you set and communicated your boundaries?
Saying yes to things we do not want to do or neglecting to guard our time is one of the causes of overwhelm. If we did some soul searching, we will realize moments when we have said yes when we should have said no. Setting your boundaries is very important to maintain your mental wellbeing.
#7: Are you being inspired?
Sometimes refreshing your mind helps you feel better when things are going differently than your plan. I really enjoy reading books or listening to podcasts because I get new insights and inspiration. This is typically a very quick way for me to get out of any rut that I am feeling.
#8: Are you asking for and accepting help?
As someone who does not know how to ask for help even when I need it, this is one that I struggle with. It seems like an easy thing to do; if you need assistance, you should accept. However, we need to be intentional about noticing when we need additional support.
#9: Are you focusing on what is going well?
Celebrating your progress over the past month will give you some perspective. Even if you do not really feel like it, you have made progress. It is very easy to focus on the negative and feel exhausted. Taking a moment to reflect on the goodwill help shift your perspective.
#10: Are you being kind to yourself?
Especially when things feel like they are not going as planned, we can be very hard on ourselves. It is important to give yourself some grace. Stop beating yourself up for what has not worked and focused on what you can do in the upcoming weeks.
I knew I had to write this post to process what I felt. In the past week, I reacted to a situation in a way that was not typical, and my body has been indicating that everything is not ok. It is time for me to do things differently to avoid burnout. The year will continue going this way if we don't make changes. The good news is that we have the opportunity to make changes now.
Time to Reflect
Call to Action
Let us start a two-week challenge to turn things around: choose one change you want to make in February to show yourself some love and avoid burnout.
My Life in the US - Year 7
This year marks 21 years of my living in different countries. When I moved to Germany in 2001, I could never have imagined that I would be living in the US. Over the past seven years since I moved here, my life has changed in many ways, and I am enjoying it a lot. I am very grateful for my experiences on this incredible journey.
In this blog post, I will reflect on my seventh year in the US. This is part of my "Her Relocation" series, where I talk about my experience living in multiple countries over the past 20 years. Check out my previous posts about My Life in the US - Year 1, Year 2&3, Year 4, Year 5, and Year 6.
We took our first vacation as a family of three, and it was one of the best experiences in my life. It was the first time I really enjoyed California and its beauty after seven years of living here. I have been on short trips to different cities, but this time it was different. The scenes driving down the pacific coast highway are the most beautiful ones I have seen in my life. We took our time, soaked up the sun, had good food, and bonded as a family. It was very important to me to start this new family tradition with our son, and I loved it.
Missing my people
This year more than ever, I missed my social network that is made up of family and close friends. The great people and connections that I have made have been one of the pillars of my life abroad. Being in the second year of a global pandemic made traveling to see family impossible. We kept waiting for things to get better so our son could finally meet our family and close friends in person. I am confident that we will be reunited with our people very soon.
Experience with Immigration services
There are times when I become very aware of my status as an immigrant. One of those moments is when I need to do anything regarding my visa or passport. This year, I had to extend my US green card and get a new German passport. It was the first time I needed to renew my passport outside Germany, and it went very smoothly. I really appreciated the German efficiency a lot. However, when it came to extending my green card, it was another story. The process is not transparent and long. I am still in the process of getting an extension even after six months. As I say that, I know of people who have been waiting much longer and appreciate my privilege of still having my legal residence status.
Scary Political situations
So far in my relocation journey, I had never seen anything like what happened at the US capitol on Jan 6. Interestingly, I was napping with my almost 3-month-old baby at that point, and when I woke up, I started following the events on TV. I sat there, totally surprised by what was happening. I moved to the US at a very interesting time and political climate. The events of that day were very scary and intensified the underlying concern I had with what was happening politically in the US since I moved here in 2015. Every day I hope for the best and acknowledge that this is a very complicated country with a lot of history.
Access to healthcare
One of my concerns about moving to the US was access to healthcare. I had heard of many horror stories, and then when the pandemic started in 2020, the US was not handling it very well. There were so many things that were not going right, from testing to containing the spread of the virus. When the vaccines became available, I was worried that it would be very complicated to get access. However, to my surprise, when the time came for vaccines to be made available, everything went smoothly. I really appreciate the access to free vaccines that some people don't have.
Celebrating 20 years of living abroad
Thinking back on my journey, I am very proud of where I am today. My experiences living in Germany and the US have shaped who I am today. I have had some difficult times when I could never have imagined the life I have now. I have met great people, visited places, learned a lot of lessons, and become who I was always destined to be. I am very excited for the years ahead, the countries I will have the opportunity to live in, and my experiences.
Final Thoughts - 10 Lessons I learned
In the seventh year of my life in the US, I learned a lot of great lessons, including the following: