Sometimes, we expect too much of ourselves.
We beat ourselves down for not picking up on a skill quickly enough. We feel internal frustration for not having enough knowledge to do something as well as we’d hoped. We feel like we don’t measure up or that we aren’t capable of succeeding.
This can be a difficult place to be in, but it’s a place some of us find ourselves in every now and again. You don’t want to accept that you’re a work in progress, but it’s true.
The answer to coming back from these feelings lies in acceptance: acceptance of who you are, what you’re capable of in this moment, and being content with knowing that you’re still growing while being present in the here and now.
Let’s talk about this idea of acceptance today. How can you accept that you’re a work in progress, while also knowing that the same is true of others? How can you learn to be present in this moment, rather than hoping for what could be in the future? It’s something that takes practice!
What Does It Mean that You’re A Work in Progress?
Being a work in progress means accepting your growth, yes. It also means taking an active stance in your learning process and holding yourself accountable for the things that you do and say.
It’s not enough to make a mistake and shrug it off without any second thought. It means taking that mistake and learning from it.
This doesn’t mean you should agonize over every mistake you make. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Being a work in progress is taking ownership of the things you can control and doing your best to make the best out of the things you can’t.
It means striking a balance between acceptance and perseverance.
Working Toward Self-Acceptance
It sounds easy enough to accept your growth, but it can be much more difficult to put it into practice! It’s something that you have to apply over and over again in your daily life in order to make it a habit.
Here are a few ideas for practicing self-acceptance that you can add to your daily routine:
Recognize Your Strengths
Everybody has a strong suit. Have you taken the time to recognize yours? Think about the things you enjoy doing above everything else. Consider what comes naturally to you, what you feel most alive doing.
It could be any range of things, from skills like sculpting and baking to less tangible things such as listening to friends in need or giving advice.
Find ways to practice this skill every day in a way that is fulfilling to you. Allow yourself to feel gratitude for having this outlet.
As you lean into these strengths, use them in your journey toward self-acceptance. If you’re interested in learning about what your strengths are, go to https://viacharacter.org and take the free assessment.
Find Your Tribe
Who do you turn to when you need advice? Who can you always talk to, no matter the time of day or night? Identify those people in your life, and actively recognize that there are people to help you through the difficult moments.
Your tribe doesn’t have to only include friends or family members, too. You might find it helpful to speak to a therapist or coach when you need help.
Whatever you decide works best for you, just know that you aren’t alone. There are always people to help you.
Take a moment to think about who’s in your tribe. That way, you know who to go to the next time life gets tough.
When you make a mistake or don’t handle a situation in a way you’re satisfied with, it’s easy to start beating yourself up and dwelling on what went wrong.
Not only can this be harmful to your overall well-being, it can also contribute to higher levels of stress and anxiety, which will hurt your physical and mental health in the long run.
Instead of ruminating on situations in the past, decide to love yourself for what you’re doing right. Sure, that conversation you had with a co-worker yesterday could have been handled differently, but you can appreciate that it was a tough discussion to have and you made it through to the other side.
Start practicing some self care to reward yourself, too. You could do something like taking a walk on your favorite trail as a reward for making it through the day. Or maybe you’ll plan a special dinner for this weekend and have something to look forward to.
If you can refocus your energy onto something more positive, you’ll feel your mindset start to follow. In any situation, be sure to focus on what is working.
Helping Someone Accept Their Own Work in Progress
Occasionally, you might be the support person for someone trying to accept themselves. If this is something you’re able to do, it can be an excellent opportunity to show up for another person.
Be an attentive listener to their thoughts and feelings. While you may not be able to change either of them, sometimes it simply helps to have someone by your side who you know will listen.
If the other person is interested in hearing some advice or comfort, remind them of how valuable they are to you and your life. Recognize that their feelings are valid and that they have so much to give to the world.
You could even help them find something they’re talented at that could boost their confidence.
If this turns into a chronic problem, though, you may want to lovingly encourage them to seek out additional help from a therapist or coach. Remember that, in the end, you have to do what’s best for you, too.
You’re a Work in Progress
Growth can feel painful in the moment, but you have to take a step back and see it for what it is: a work in progress. You won’t feel this way forever, and reframing difficult periods of time into one of learning and opportunity might help you push through to the other side.
By being present, leaning into your strengths, identifying who is in your tribe, and focusing on what’s working, you can take steps toward recognizing the wonderful you that you are. If you’re currently struggling with self-acceptance and your own work in progress, please reach out to me to schedule a meeting. We can work together to establish an action plan to work toward your own goals.