Accepting my diagnosis has been the hardest thing to do. It’s all good keeping busy and doing things to escape it, but the fact is it’s always there, floating around my subconscious. I can only pretend it doesn’t exist for so long, until eventually it catches up and swallows me whole.
One of life’s big challenges, is learning to accept ourselves for who we are… Either physically or mentally. Throw a health issue into the mix and by default you’re presented with a combination of accepting yourself for who you are, as well as who your diagnosis forces you to be.
I was inspired by a YouTube channel called ‘Fifty People One Question‘ about eight years ago, so I produced the film below and used a question of my own. This adaptation explores the insecurities of every day people, and what they would change about themselves, if given the option.
I’ve taken the time to understand who I am, what my flaws are and what I’m really capable of. I’ve turned a corner by accepting everything I’m going through. It’s beyond my control anyway so the only options are to accept it or live a bitter life full of resentment. By doing so, I’ve stopped asking ‘Why is this happening to me?’ and started asking ‘What can I learn from this?’.
8 Principles to Help you Accept Yourself
This is just my opinion and the techniques I use to accept myself.
Please feel free to comment!
Acknowledge your Flaws
My two biggest flaws are I beat myself up and I get distracted way too easily! One minute I’m working on an edit plan for a film, and suddenly I find myself carefully taking an alarm clock apart to find out what type of vibrating mechanism it’s fitted with! (True story). The important thing is I’m aware of it, I’ve accepted it and now I can do something about it. In the last couple of years, I’ve really worked hard on doing one thing at a time. I found that writing lists and doing things as soon as I think of it really helps. The sense of achievement as I tick things off the list feels great. I can sometimes be very hard on myself. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to get things right and to do things for myself. In recent years I’ve discovered that it’s ok to ask for help and guidance, without blaming yourself for not already knowing enough. Uncover your flaws and work on the solutions!
There’s a fine line between ‘dwelling’ and ‘reflecting’ on past events. I try to look back at my achievements as well as my failures. When things don’t work out, I spend some time to figure out why. It’s the only way I can learn and progress, to make better choices and to do things differently next time. It’s all about turning negativity into positivity. When we reflect on our achievements, it can give us a huge boost of confidence to believe in ourselves.
I truly believe that comparing yourself to others is the end of all happiness. I’ve been there… and it sucks. Between the age of 26 and 30, all I could think about was how great everyone else’s lives were. It became an obsession! In this day and age with social media all up in our face, it’s very easy to compare our lives to others and feel as though we’re not doing enough. That’s why I think it’s so important to focus on getting to know yourself. When you can feel totally confident being you, it doesn’t matter what other people are up to, because you’ll have your own agenda! Take inspiration from others and if there’s something you want to do, go out and do it! It’s only you who can make that decision.
Spend Time on your Own
It’s the only time you really have to fend for yourself. When I did my first ski season, I remember a few friends asking me “why are you going on your own?!” I wanted to explore, to grow as a person and discover how well I cope with unfamiliar faces. An example of why I think doing things on your own is so important, is because I find that serial monogamists always stay the same. If you don’t take the time to reflect on why things happened the way they did, you don’t give yourself room to grow. Your expectations remain the same. From my experience, people who jump straight into the next relationship, expect their partner to make them happy… but I think you have to be able to spend time on your own and know how to make yourself happy, before you can make someone else happy.
Accepting situations beyond your control is a really difficult thing to do. I’ve realised that it’s a completely wasted effort trying to take charge of the factors in my life that are beyond my control. It only causes huge amounts of stress and a feeling of worthlessness. The way I’ve learnt to deal with this, is to think about how I can make a few adjustments to make things work. Concentrating on finding solutions, instead of getting frustrated with something I can’t change anyway, takes a lot of effort, but it’s achievable. Try to adapt and change shape to fit the shell you’ve been given.
Know your Intentions
What is it you actually want to get out of life? Do you want to bulldoze your way through the crowd and make a statement? Do you want to collaborate with likeminded people and form a strong community around you? Do you want to tick along quietly in the background, looking after yourself? Whatever suits you, always consider those around you and don’t set out to hurt anyone! I think once you know your intentions, you can accept yourself and work towards achieving your goals.
I think taking responsibility for our actions can relieve a massive amount of guilt and tension. It’s a very powerful thing to be able to hold your hands up and say sorry. Spite and jealousy are just ways of shifting the blame, which only creates multiple victims in every situation. We can’t get it right every time, so I find being open and talking about where things went wrong, alleviates the pressure on myself, and lowers my expectations of others. I take full responsibility for doing something wrong, accept that I’m not perfect and that the mistakes I make now will become life experience in the future.
Believe in Yourself
Sometimes, other peoples opinions can have an adverse effect on the way we behave. Negative comments can cause us to question ourselves. I’ve gone through a selfish and reckless phase of not caring enough, to caring too much and losing myself. I am a sensitive soul and I really take people’s opinions onboard, especially from the people closest to me. I’ve reached a happy medium now; It’s a place where I can feel confident enough in myself that negative slurs usually derive from someones own insecurities. All the negativity I’ve ever encountered, has taught me how not to be. Once you’ve found your direction, find the right people to listen to, ignore the people trying to cut you down and believe in yourself.
Accepting that my kidneys are likely to fail in the next year and reaching out to Alport UK for help, has been a huge turning point for me. I strongly encourage anyone who’s worried about their future, for whatever reason, to reach out and ask for help, without any shame or embarrassment. There are so many awesome people in the world who are willing to help. It will only provide you with positive outcomes!