For most of my life, I’ve been chasing success, approval and happiness. I was attracted to shiny objects. Nothing was working. I read new books, attended spiritual retreats, started following new gurus, tried the next best diet craze and juice cleansed for days that felt like months. But after all of it, I still felt bored, lost, empty and alone.
Realizing none of my outward efforts ever worked, I did something radically different. Instead of looking on the outside, I retreated inward.
The happiness, success and approval I spent years chasing were always just outside my reach. It didn’t matter how many successful benchmarks I hit or could check off my list, or how many people said nice things about me or my work. Because if I didn’t believe it, it never registered.
It didn’t matter how others saw me. What mattered is how I saw myself. And that was a pretty grim view. In fact, I spent years avoiding myself. Walking past mirrors with my head down, avoiding looking at people in the eye, ashamed of how I looked and what others might think about me.
So many people focus on the opinions of others: Will they like me? Is this idea good enough? Am I loved? But we don’t ever put ourselves into the journey. We don’t ask, Do I like me? Do I love this idea? Do I love myself?
The pivotal moment for me came when I stopped focusing on how my life looked and instead focused on how it felt. I started to ask myself the questions I was seeking outwardly.
My inner deep dive revealed new layers. If the answer was no, I asked a follow-up question. What can I do to like myself more today?
With small steps I was able to peel back the layers of self-abuse, shame and insecurity. Decades of inner shame were slowly replaced with compassion, gentleness and love.
I adopted the belief that there’s a reason I’m going through what I’m going through. I could choose to resist it and push back on life, or I could dive headfirst into the experience and embrace it as if I had chosen it myself. Which is what I did.
This choice to embrace life fully must come from inside. Once you find it, your world is forever changed. Choosing to accept yourself as you are in this moment is real freedom. It is also what I was searching for so many years of my life.
That emptiness I walked around with was just a lack of self-attention. By giving myself more approval, my life began to transform. My work became more fulfilling, my relationships deeper and, most importantly, I got an inner peace and knowing that all is well and I am as I should be in this moment.
A new awareness and acceptance was born. It took time to fall in love with myself, but it started by me first believing in something I couldn’t see or even feel. Hope was my connector.
I had to adopt new beliefs in order to reach a new level of self-acceptance. If you’re ready to radically change your life, try believing in these.
1. The unseeable is real.
Believing in the unknown, no matter what it is, is part of getting to a new level in your life.
If you have a goal, such as losing weight, making a certain amount of money, or meeting your soul mate, but you don’t fully believe it, your efforts will always feel strained. Focus on believing in what you can’t see and turning inward to accept your true self.
2. Beliefs become reality.
Our beliefs make up our reality. What we choose to believe dictates our outcome. If I believed I was unworthy of love and bored with life, then that was my reality. But if I believed self-acceptance and self-esteem were possible, that became my new reality.
3. There is always a choice.
We’re only stuck by the confines of our fears. Everything we do is always just one choice away. I had the power to choose a new belief. And in doing that, I could change my reality. I chose to believe in myself, and it changed everything.
4. Everything you need is within you right now.
If you have a hard time believing in yourself, know that you have the ability to change within you. Remember, just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Some of the most magnificent things in the world can’t be seen, but only felt in the heart like love, forgiveness, faith and trust.
5. Struggles and obstacles are part of a plan.
Everything you are going through is preparing you for what you have asked for. What you are currently experiencing is part of a bigger plan. Trust the order of life and instead of resisting it, put yourself into it.
Trust yourself and have faith you will love yourself. It is already there within you. Just believe.