They swarm around us whenever something or someone reminds us of our imperfections. They’re ANTS: Automatic Negative Thoughts, the primary enemy of self-esteem, and a huge barrier to personal happiness. But getting beyond them may be easier than we think.
The first step, according to a recent PsychCentral post, is acceptance. Yes, you’re imperfect. I’m imperfect. Everyone’s imperfect. It’s a big part of being human. Our self-esteem doesn’t see it that way, but with a little prodding, a little practice, it can.
Step two is to be aware of our ANTS, our automatic negative thoughts, whenever we compare our looks, talents, bank accounts or anything else to some ideal and find ourselves falling short.
That awareness leads to step three: “re-parenting with kindness.” Let yourself feel the guilt, the shame, the anger or other emotion connected to your imperfection, then love yourself as you would a small child: in spite of it. Maybe even because of it. Remember that flaws have their own exquisite beauty. The Persians, believing only God to be perfect, intentionally placed flaws in their carpets. The Navajo did the same with their blankets, believing a flaw freed up the spirit of the blanket, allowing it to roam without end and, in effect, exist forever.
The point is not to give up trying to do better, but to accept and even embrace our imperfections as part of our humanity. Read the complete post here.