…or, How to make friends with the real YOU – even the scary parts!
People often feel there’s something that needs to be “fixed” about them before they can be truly lovable (or even acceptable) to themselves or others. This belief is so powerful that it creates a drag on a person’s growth, success and – most importantly – their ability to feel happy on a consistent basis.
Well, not to hit the Halloween theme too hard, but the “trick” to being happy is to give yourself the “treat” of full self-acceptance. That means every part of you is not just allowed to be there, and not just tolerated, but welcomed and embraced.
At first that seems really counterintuitive to most people, because we usually don’t find the “undesirable” parts attractive or helpful in the least! This was confirmed in our recent survey (which is still available for you to take if you haven’t already!). A full 70% of responders gave a first- or second-place ranking to feeling like they’re on a self-esteem “roller coaster,” feeling great about themselves in one moment, and plummeting into self-criticism and self-judgment the next.
That’s the power that not liking certain “scary parts” of ourselves has over us. You might think of those parts (again I’ll reference the Halloween theme here!) as our perceived “monsters within.” They are what keep us fearful that, try as we might to be “good,” we may actually be a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad person.”
We believe we have to keep those monsters hidden at all cost! If we risk revealing our authentic selves, which include these “scary parts” – and if others find out “who we really are” behind the mask of “I’m fine, thanks!” that we show to the public – we fear that people won’t be able to love us any more, or other terrible things will befall us.
But stay with me here, because the “trick” lies in knowing what to do with those parts, how to think about them and relate to them. That’s where some of the best happiness-building stuff comes from. And our monsters are great clues for where to start:
- Someone, for example, may feel they’ve allowed themselves to be a “doormat” – used, walked on and dismissed by people in their lives. How embarrassing, in a culture where we’re supposed to be strong and independent! They might feel shame that they’ve allowed that to happen to them.
- Or they may be painfully shy – again, something no one wants to be seen as in a culture that values larger-than-life self-confidence and assertiveness in all situations! To keep their lack of social courage under wraps, they might think the best thing to do is just avoid people as much as possible. That only leads to a life of small possibilities, and limited love and support.
- Some people struggle with anger and resentment, thinking “if only these annoying people in my life would just stop behaving so badly, then I could feel peaceful and happy – darn them!”
Each of these personal “monsters within” wants you to play small – that’s why it wants you to be afraid to admit it’s there! If you never look at it and face it head on, it gets to continue running your life.
Whatever you think your particular monsters are, it’s far better to bring them out of hiding and accept them. You’ve perhaps heard the phrase, “what you resist persists” – well, stop resisting these parts of you and you just might be amazed at what you end up learning, such as:
- So you’ve been a doormat? You just need to learn to adjust your personal generosity boundary – it’s a matter of moving it to a higher setting, not a hopeless flaw!
- So what if you’ve always been shy? Some of the most gifted and accomplished people in history have been practically paralyzed by shyness. And if you decide you want to learn to be more social, it’s just a matter of practice and a little courage.
- Are you angry and resentful? Well, how do you think this great nation was formed? Not by people who said, “it’s not nice to get mad about that tea tax, so I’ll just keep quiet….” Heck no! Anger and resentment are a clear signal that some value or goal really matters to you, and once you find out what that is you can figure out how to achieve it.
Don’t be afraid of your inner monsters! Your personal ghoul comes with a gift – it wants to scare you into taking action to LEARN A NEW WAY OF RESPONDING when pop quizzes come up!
Bonus Download! See Below….
As a special Halloween Bonus, click HERE for a downloadable mini-poster that can help change your terrifying “Nosferatu” into more of a cuddly Sulley or cute Mike from “Monsters, Inc.” You can use it immediately to start developing a new habit of consciously responding instead of reacting in any challenging situation.