Several people have asked me why I don’t pick a topic and give you a bunch of pointers on how to achieve your goal. For example, “Ten Ways to Stop Procrastination,” or “Becoming a Top Speaker in 5 Easy Steps” or “6 Ways to Be More Loveable.” The answer? I could do that and it probably wouldn’t get you far if you followed it. I’m not saying that lists of “how tos” never work. I’m saying that improvement is an inside job wrapped around liking who you are. As you begin to accept yourself like you are right now and love and respect that self, many of the things that you’ve been trying to work on either improve or are no longer an issue. I’m saying that self-love and humor are self improvement tools that are guaranteed to work.
Sense of Humor
One of the key ingredients in self improvement and self acceptance is a sense of humor. God knows that we humans are a funny bunch and we might as well get a good laugh now and then from it—even at our own expense. I look at myself and think of the tag line for some children’s toys, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down.” I look like a weeble but I do fall down. I need to be about seven feet tall to balance out my weight. I am past middle age and gravity has most certainly taken over, dragging body parts down where they’re not supposed to be. I look at women who have tiny waistlines and remember—well, sometimes, I remember. I forget a lot and often that’s a good thing.
I have made mistakes and have had deep and hearty laughs about most of them. I came to my mid-fifties beaten up by a failed marriage that made me wonder if I had even minimal self worth and if I could accomplish anything worthwhile. Now I find humor even there. It was in my finding the funny and the human in me, balancing my humanity with my spirituality, and helping others discover the wonderfulness in themselves that I began to see the depth of my own value, my richness as a human being.
So take a look at yourself. It’s o.k. to giggle a bit or laugh out loud. Let it ripple throughout your being. Get over the judgment of yourself. Get over the fact that you are not perfect and begin to love who you are.
What about loving yourself? This is a gradual thing and is more than looking in a mirror and saying, “I love you” while you’re feeling like the “fake of the century.” If you don’t know how to start, get a pen/pencil and paper and begin to write a list of good things about yourself. Find at least one (everyone has at least one). Then spend some time being grateful for that one thing. Let say, for example, that my one thing is a nice smile. I’m going to think about all the things I can do with that smile to help other people and make myself feel better. This list, just for my smile, could get long and very meaningful. (And if you can’t think of even ONE thing, you CAN develop a nice smile. Put a smile on your face and keep it there. It’s a miracle worker.)
But I betcha that you have more than one thing. Write them all down. Spend time thinking about what these things mean to you and how you can use them to help others. Spend time being grateful for each good thing you notice about yourself. Put the list in a place where it will be easy to add to it. Ask other people what they see in you that is positive. You may be surprised at the answers. Believe them and claim that strength as you own, whether you believe them or not.
Have a Good Laugh
When you screw up (as we ALL do now and then) find the humor in it. Have a good laugh and let it go. Then, appreciate your wonderful sense of humor and ability to get up and keep going.
Soon you will have a long list of things to love and appreciate about you.
Hang in there.