When discussing happiness, one attitude/belief that deserves special mention is the art of accepting ourselves on an “as is, where is” basis. For us to be peacefully in relationship with our own humanness — our own combination of strengths, growing edges and unique quirks — means to have less stress from the source of our own critical voice. You know the voice: the one that yells at us that we are not _____ (fill in the blank: “slender”, “clever”, “good at business”, etc), or that we have not achieved enough. The more we can truly live from a genuine sense of “I am ok”, the more that we can be in compassionate, accepting relationship with helpees and others.

The more we manage to fund a deep sense of esteem from our own internal resources, the more we develop the autonomy and inner authority that prevents us crumpling from criticism, or needing acceptance and approval from others. It is not a short-term strategy, but there are few efforts that yield greater happiness and hardiness. The skills of self-awareness and self-regulation can work wonders here. Our increasing awareness of when we fail to accept ourselves can lead to increased ability to regulate our minds towards compassion.

On a scale of 1 — 100, how accepting of yourself are you? Which specific areas of yourself do you identify as really hard to accept? This could include anything from physical characteristics (e.g., “I hate my nose”) to mental skills (“I am a terrible salesperson”) to global put-downs (“I’m a loser; I haven’t done anything with my life”).

How willing are you to choose one of these areas and re-write the negative self-talk you are giving yourself?