Wondering how to just be happy with yourself? You’re not the only one! This is something I’ve struggled with over the years, and I know tons of other women are dealing with the same thoughts. We beat ourselves up because we’re not more of one thing and less of something else, better at certain things we’re trying to accomplish or feel like we “should” be able to do. We’re always striving for perfection and looking at other people, thinking they’ve mastered it but we just can’t. We’re always criticizing ourselves, pushing harder, setting higher standards than we deserve to be held to…
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How do you break out of that mindset so you can just be happy with yourself? Here are some things that have helped me:
Be Happy with Yourself: 5 Ways
Show Yourself Grace
You’re going to mess up. You just are. It happens to everyone. It’s okay! Forgive yourself. Show yourself some grace.
A few weeks ago, I paid a $176.00 doctor’s bill with my regular debit card instead of the new health savings card. My husband found the charge and pointed out what I’d done. Ugh, I wanted to go through the floor. I also wanted to throw up. I was mortified and angry with myself. Realizing on a weekend when they were closed didn’t help my sanity any, either. I wanted to call them immediately and ask them if we could fix it but I couldn’t.
Did I beat myself up? Ohhh, yes, I’m actually still recovering from that one. Should I have been so hard on myself? No. Don’t be like me.
Why Did It Happen?
Once I’d gotten over the initial shock, I thought about why it happened. Yes, it was a simple mistake but figuring out why I’d made it helped me process the fact that I had made it. We had gone so long without a health savings account like that, I just wasn’t used to using a separate card. While I was paying some other bills, I just went ahead and paid that one too. Same card, tra-la-la. I probably felt really accomplished after I did it, too. I was taking care of business, getting things done. Ha!
If it’s something that can be fixed with a refund or an apology, do what you can to make it right and move on. If it can’t be fixed, learn from it. Make a mental note of how you made the mistake, how you feel now (because maybe you did it on purpose in the moment but regret it now), and move on. You may be a little scarred from whatever it was, but whatever happened doesn’t redefine who you are. A mistake doesn’t make you dumb, useless, incompetent…whatever you might tell yourself you are in the moment. You’re not those things. You’re human.
I’m usually pretty good about not holding myself to ridiculous standards of perfection, but I was already in a vulnerable state of mind when that happened and the mistake–and having someone else it affected point it out to me–got to me. Show yourself some compassion. Would you berate someone else for a simple mistake? (I hope you said no! Lol)
Maybe you’re thinking, “It wasn’t just a mistake I made. I’m just terrible at _____ (fill in the blank)!” So what? You can work to improve and you’re good at other things. Focus on those strengths you already have. Don’t discredit them; celebrate them! And then work on the things you wish you were good at, a little at a time.
That leads me to the next way to be happy with yourself:
Just Take the First Step
Is there something you dream of doing but you keep holding yourself back because you don’t know how it’ll all play out, the timing isn’t right, you might look silly, you don’t know everything about it yet, etc? Are you feeling pretty down about not going after it while it seems like everyone around you is able to make things happen and get results? I know I can stay stuck in “learning mode” forever if I don’t get a push. One of the quickest ways to be happy with yourself, I’ve found, is to just take action so you feel like you have some control over where your life is going.
I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been in “learning mode” just soaking up information about the things I want to achieve one day. I feel like I need to know everything about what I’m trying to do, have all the answers to my own questions and anyone else’s that may come up (so I can look like an expert because if I’m doing something in my career that others can see, I need to be an expert, right? Lol). Sometimes I feel as if I need to know exactly where I’m going and all the steps to get there before I even start. Know where that kind of thinking gets you?
- In debt, or broke at the very least (if you choose to take a bunch of courses)
- Perpetual student mode
- Frustrated because everybody else seems to be passing you, making their dreams into reality
Would you be happy with yourself then? Nah.
I love this quote:
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
You don’t need to know everything right now! You just need to know a little bit to get started. Then learn a little more and do a little more. True, you may need one class to get started, or maybe even several courses over the course of a year or more. But you have to put what you’ve learned into action at each step.
This builds confidence (a key to happiness!) because you get to DO something rather than telling yourself you’re not good enough yet, lessens frustration because you feel like you’re making progress, and keeps you focused on moving ahead instead of looking sideways at all the courses available.
Get started with a free course if you need it. Or a book (maybe even from the library, so it won’t even cost you $20.00). Join a group so you have built-in encouragement to keep going and people to consult with when you run into trouble. Two things I’ve done for myself:
- Signed up and truly committing to NaNoWriMo in November. For those who aren’t familiar, November is National Novel Writing Month. People who sign up commit to writing at least 1,667 words per day. By the end, they’ll have a rough draft of a novel to work with. I’ve done it twice. It comforts me to know I have two first drafts under my belt to revise and eventually publish. Even if no one ever reads them, I know I finished them.
- Signed up for Abby Lawson’s 10 Day Blogging Quickstart Course at Just a Girl and Her Blog. It’s free and I learned a ton just from that. I then signed up for the paid course at the end. It was under $100.00. Even without the paid version, the 10-day freebie was enough to get me well on my way to creating a blog in WordPress I’d have complete control over. There’s another course I really want to take called 30 Day Blogging Fast Track from It’s a Lovely Life. It happens once per month and it’s next on my list (when I can afford it). I’ll make sure I have not only enough time to go through the materials, but to DO what it says to do, and sign up.
Check out the Resources section of my blog to see what else I used once I got set up, if blogging is one of those things you’ve always wanted to do. I do want to add that blogging doesn’t have to cost you a thing. You won’t necessarily have all the control you want or be able to make money from your blog if you’re using a free site, but you can blog without paying a cent.
You could also find a course on Udemy or Coursera for very little (or free) for just about anything you might want to learn how to do. Hint: Look for promo codes. Heck, even YouTube videos could set you on your way. Once you’ve taken a course (not five or ten!), though, it’s important to hold yourself accountable and START whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do. Your first step may be a course or it may be an action, depending on what you already know. Just start. Start now, with something.
Bottom line: You just need to know enough to get started. Figure out the rest as you go. Things change all the time, so all the studying in the world won’t necessarily do you any good by the time you’re really ready to get started. If you’re like me, this is a hard lesson to learn, but it’s arguably the most important one.
Girl, you’ve got to stop those negative thoughts in their tracks if you want to be happy with yourself. I am so guilty of letting one negative thought turn into a whole web of them, clouding up my brain too. It drains your energy and all those things you’re wasting time shouting at yourself inside your head are lies. As soon as one starts to form, just say “Nope!” and change the subject in your mind.
Distract yourself with a new thought like you would distract a puppy or toddler with a new toy if they started to go for something they shouldn’t have. Even better, replace it with the truth. The one that comes from a place of kindness. That you are intelligent, worthy, gorgeous, and/or capable. It sounds silly, but it works! There’s also a rubber band trick you could try.
Envious of someone? Ask yourself:
- Why does what someone else has bother you or make you uncomfortable? Does it really have anything to do with them?
- Do you really want what they have or have you been tricked into thinking you want what they have?
- How do you feel about being envious? (Not so great, I’m betting.)
- How can you turn it around?
You could’ve been momentarily tricked by someone else’s (or society’s) values or the fact that this other person seems so happy and content with whatever it is. Do not engage in negative self-talk or gossip about this other person in an attempt to deal with those feelings. Either of those routes is just a downward spiral to nowhere good and a recipe for low energy, dissatisfaction, and resentment.
You can’t be happy with yourself if you’re always looking to other people for instructions on what to value and strive for.
Those nasty little prickly feelings of envy can make it especially hard, but be happy for them! Let them know you’re happy for them. And if it’s something you do want for yourself after all, start making some goals. Depending on what it is, you may even be able to ask this person for tips to speed up the whole process.
Getting a handle on your envy will also change the way you talk to yourself. You’ll go from telling yourself you’re not good enough to A) having a plan, and B) feeling pretty good about letting go of those negative feelings and spreading positivity instead.
I’ve been working on that this week, actually. It’s so hard not to feel envious of other writers’ successes (all kinds–blogging, freelancing, writing and selling novels, etc) when I know how much work I’m putting in. Even though I know success–especially in this field–doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t keep those twinges of envy or the blabbing Negative Nancy in my head away 24/7. I just give myself a periodic reality check, congratulate or compliment them, and get back to work with a lighter heart.
If your negative thoughts come from feeling lonely or left out, see the last section and do this: Take the first step to befriend someone! It’s scary but worth it.
Practice a Morning Routine
I talk about this a lot. I love my morning routine and it makes such a huge difference in mental clarity, confidence, ability to deal with stress, and more. Why do I mention it often? Because I know first-hand how important it is.
That doesn’t mean I always practice it, just being honest. I’ll miss a day, then that day turns into two, three…before I know it, my brain feels like a tangled ball of yarn and there’s really no one to help me untangle the mess. I just have to sort through it with quiet, yoga, journaling, and a good book.
Remember how I said I was in a vulnerable state of mind when I found out I’d screwed up that payment? Yeah, I’ve been out of practice with my routine so it was really easy for my mind to spiral down and almost destroy all the positive momentum I’d built up. Here are some morning routine options (pick the ones you love most and create your own routine):
- Hot water with lemon (or cold…I tend to just drink it a little cooler than room temperature)
- Coffee/tea, as fancy as you want to make it
- Reading something motivational (I think I’m going to re-read You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero soon, and I never read the same book more than once)
- Writing (journal, random thoughts on scrap pieces of paper, morning pages like Julia Cameron recommends in The Artist’s Way, a story, whatever)
- A walk outside to watch the sun come up and hear the birds chirping
- A quick HIIT to get the maximum benefits in a short period of time before you get ready to go to work or get your kids up and ready for the day (Bonus: you’ll be happy with yourself for getting a killer workout done so early!)
- Listening to music
- Sketching something
- Thinking of three things you’re grateful for (you could even do it in a journal like this one)
- Planning your day to get the swirling to-do list out of your head so you can focus
- Repeating affirmations to yourself
- Sitting by the window, wrapped in a blanket, to watch the sunrise (lucky you if you have a great view from a window with a cozy chair beside it!)
- Lighting candles (don’t forget to blow them out before you leave)
- Starting up the diffuser (I’ve used this inexpensive one for about two years) with your favorite essential oils inside
- Visualizing how you want your day to go
Which ones do you think would make it easier to be happy with yourself?
Act Like You Love Yourself
You can’t treat yourself like garbage and expect to thrive and learn how to be happy with yourself. Even if you aren’t in a place of self-love or even self-like right now, treat yourself like you’re the most lovable, worthy person you know. And yeah, feel free to go overboard because you don’t really have to worry about giving off creeper vibes. So, what can you do?
- Buy yourself flowers
- Write compliments on sticky notes and put them everywhere (or maybe just one on your mirror or at your computer
- Sing your favorite songs
- Draw up a hot bubble bath with candles and soft music
- Give yourself a nice gift (it doesn’t have to be expensive).
- Take yourself on dates to do things you think would just light you up and inspire you to create wonderful things or do the things you’ve always dreamed of doing
Just think about how you’d treat your best friend, significant other, or a child. Why should you treat yourself any differently? To be happier with yourself, slow down, don’t hold yourself to much higher standards than you would anyone else, forgive yourself when you fail, take the first steps toward whatever it is you want to accomplish in life, and treat yourself with love.
One Step at a Time
This won’t all change overnight, of course. Do what you can today and start making these little changes into habits you’ll keep. Before you realize it, you’ll see that your mindset has shifted and your baseline is a little more joyful.