Should-ing All Over Myself, Spiraling into Self-Doubt and Springing into Acceptance

Well, I did it. I drank my very first Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte to EMPTY!! If you know me, you know I don’t drink coffee. Let alone drink anything caffeinated at 4:00 PM, two hours before I was set to teach my evening human resources course. I…. was…..EXHAUSTED.

While my plate had been full and my scheduled jam-packed, the part that felt like it was running on empty, my mind. It had been on overload – with priorities at work, deliverables on my business, teaching a night class, and getting ready for an upcoming Talk…

….instead of showing myself a little self-love, I was ‘should-ing’ all over myself!

I should be able to do all this… I’ve got no kids, and I am pretty young-ish.

I should be at ‘this’ milestone in my business if I just stayed on track.

I should fit in some gym time because I’ve been eating so bad.

Should, should, should.

With all the should-ing, and judging myself against some idolized person I conjured in my head, coupled with daily self-shaming, I spiraled into a sea of self-doubt.

I started to wonder about my abilities.

Feeling like an imposter as I finalized my Talk for an upcoming event.

Discrediting years of first-hand experience.

Eager to learn more, just in case what I know isn’t enough.

And when I stopped to think about where this is all coming from really, it reminded me of a time I jumped off The Pole.   At the base of the pole, my coach asked what was running through my head. I was afraid I wouldn’t reach the trapeze once I jumped off the pole.

Scaling the pole, I tried to remember that everything I did in life was for my desires, not for the approval of anyone else.   At the top, the pole began to shake – hard.   So hard I was down to one stable foot, the other flailing and I felt I was about to fall.   The group below was cheering me on, and the more they cheered, the more I shook. 

Reaching the trapeze was for me, not them. And as if it were magic, the pole stopped shaking, and I squeezed so my leg to meet the other on the pole. Turned around, and jumped.

The Pole

The pressure of should-ing myself, spinning in self-doubt all amounted to my desire to be accepted, liked and approved by those around me. 

I hope I’m doing an excellent job at work.

I hope the students ace their quiz and assignment.

I hope my Talk is well received.

I hope they like me. I hope they approve of me.

Hold the phone. And the coffee. I wanted to feel accepted. 

But the problem with seeking approval outside of myself resulted in a waste of time, energy and focused on things that didn’t really matter.  In fact, all the stuff on my plate revolved around the priority to please others, rather than bringing myself joy, feeling freedom and being unapologetically authentically me.

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball

Brought to this awareness, I quickly sprung into the action of self-acceptance.

Here are Jan’s Just Three thoughts to spring into Acceptance:

1. Bring out the attitude of gratitude.

Stop the self-deprecating mental discussion and write down at least 20 (yes 20) things you have to be grateful for RIGHT NOW.

2. Practice forgiveness and compassion.

Love the person you are and permit yourself to love the imperfections. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you may have made and embrace the growth from them.  I remember taking this from a self-love article I read on Declare today: “I forgive myself for my judgments.” And affirm yourself by saying, “I will not criticize myself today.”

3. Celebrate all wins.

It is easy to focus on the next thing, forgetting to take the time to hug, love or high-five yourself for making it this far. Published that blog post? Way to go!! Sent back the food you didn’t want? AWESOME!! Slept in because your body asked for it? WHOO HOOO!

Immediately going into these three steps put me into the flow of acceptance. Appreciating the gifts I have and all I bring to serve my purpose.

What do you do to practice self-acceptance?

Janice Tanaka