January is closed out! Are you the “new you” yet? You know — your ideal self. The ideal self is taking the idea and thoughts of things you want to do or how you want to be, and becoming those things.
I find this thought process disturbing.
Why are there so many people that are either so unhappy with who they are, or don’t have a clue who they are, to the point that they say: I want to be somebody new?
When I was a younger kid (because I am still a kid, just bigger, with a beard and bills and many leather bound books) my mom would read me the Dr. Seuss book, I Want To Be Somebody New by Robert Lopshire.
It’s a story about a Seuss-size talking cat named Spot explaining to a couple of children how he thinks he would be happier if he were somebody different than himself. He transforms into many different animals but just can’t get it right; he fails at being an animal other than himself, and the children he is showing this trick to are not convinced that being something other than himself is the the right choice.
Spot’s mantra throughout the entire story is, “I want to be somebody new.” In the end, the children convince him that he should just be himself — he is enough, he is special, he is worthy — and it’s what makes him special.
It can be difficult to feel accepting of yourself. After all, who knows your mistakes, flaws, and failures better than you? We can be our own worst critic, our own worst enemy, and even our own reason for not pursuing the progress that would make us the happiest.
How do you accept yourself?
A weighted question with a history as old as humanity itself, but here are three keys I have learned to accept, and love, who I am.
Learn to let go of the past
If you are anything like me, your past is filled with failed attempts at your seasonal definition of greatness, littered with triumphant tries that amounted to nothing, and piled up with genius ideas and plans that never launched due to inaction.
If you are anything like me, you have hurt others in your process of life, made foolish decisions with your money, and broken promises to yourself and others to change for the better. Welcome to being human!
The past has significance because decisions are a reflection of who you are and what you want to be, but the past should never define who you are becoming. Learning to mindfully live in the present moment and love yourself now is a skill that few possess — but it is VERY powerful to a path of self acceptance.
When you come to the realization — “I made those choices and I am responsible for the consequences, but they don’t define me or my future” — you are actively accepting and loving yourself.
Stop comparing yourself with others
Comparing yourself to others is a difficult habit to break for individuals that are highly driven to succeed and set measurable goals to achieving that success.
Don’t get me wrong, a healthy level of self assessment a peer set can be a healthy exercise to help determine if the decisions we are making are accurate and healthy for us personally or professionally.
I determined at an early age that, compared to my peers, perhaps basketball is not where I should focus my energy for self development. Perhaps in a market assessment BlockBuster would have realized the competition is changing, and therefore they should too. This is not the comparison I am writing about.
The unhealthy comparison with others appears when the assessment turns into discontent, and jealousy, making the exercise demotivating. This is the comparison that says, “Look how pretty/wealthy/successful/quick/funded/muscley/published/respected, etc that person is. I’ll never achieve that, so what’s the point of trying?”
Unhealthy comparison causes you to devalue and even hate yourself. A significant negative change in the mindset you carry through life happens if you are always falling short of the measurement you impose on yourself, based on viewing others as more valuable than yourself.
Go deep with me for a minute. Close your eyes. Look into the soul of the universe and summon your spirit animal.
Not really … but do go deep with me and remember: we are more than a body and a mind, we are also spiritual beings. Spiritual beings given more power and and knowledge than we realize. A power that was instilled in us through an infinite world we can’t see with our natural eyes.
Call it faith in God, karma, enlightenment, or whatever you desire, but our spirit being isn’t measured by material success, failed endeavors, or the judgment of others. There will come a point in our existence when what we see in the mirror, our ability to create wealth, or our developed acquisition skills, won’t matter.
What will matter is the love and kindness we have given to others. What will matter is the legacy of hope we have left for those we were connected to. What will matter is that we mindfully lived our true selves and loved that person.
Charles Bukowski wrote, “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first”. Loving yourself can actually be the most challenging obstacle in our innate ability to love.
I want be somebody new? Nah. I want to be ME.