unfolding into JOY

the importance of Accepting yourself

Growing up in Germany, summer used to be a time of vacation, visits to the nearby lake, playing in the water and on its shores. It was a time when we gathered outside for dinners and stayed until after dark. It was a time of leisure. Not all adults were off all summer, but many were. Did you know that in Germany the average vacation for a salaried employee is 6 weeks? It's easy to take off 3 or 4 of them in the summer to spend time with family and friends. As much as I would like to, I cannot snap my fingers and create a situation in which you get to have 6 weeks of annual vacation. That takes work and would involve you—you would need to make it a goal and a priority, commit to it, and i could help you find your path to making it a reality. But here are some ideas about how to take a break from stress, create new healthier habits, and enjoy life a little more, even when you are not on vacation.

Be Yourself

Much of the stress we experience comes from not having clear priorities, structures and boundaries. If you are reading this article, you have probably read up on lists and structures already. Much has been written about time management and stress relief. But for many these tips don't have the hoped for impact. They only scratch the surface of a bigger problem. That's why today I want to look deeper and identify the underlying problem. The root matter sounds simple: many people neither know themselves very well nor rest easily in themselves. They are too attached to living up to other people's ideas. Many are lost in the expectations of others rather than living in integrity with who they are and what they value. Let me explain what I mean…

We grow up being bombarded with ideals and expectations. Our parents always want the best for us and have ideas about what that means. The media knows exactly what is right for us, how this brand of cereal will make us feel and what status comes with wearing those jeans. Even as adults many of our parents continue to have an exact plan for us; the media gets more and more sophisticated in broadcasting standards to live by. We see an endless stream of images depicting how successful, admired and loved “other people” look, what kind of car they drive, how many desirable things they own. And of course they are together with beautiful, successful and charming partners. It is only natural that we want these images of happiness and “perfection” for ourselves. Yet, more often than not, something important does not have a chance to develop: our sense of self. The result of this lack of anchor in ourselves is that we get carried away trying to be who we are not. This all too easily leads to feeling overwhelmed, dissatisfied and depressed.

Some of us have lived most or all their lives according to other people's plans and expectations. If that is you, it might be hard for you to decide where to start. A gentle way to get to know yourself better is SoulCollage. I highly recommend SoulCollage as a great step to becoming your own best friend. Check out my schedule and sign up for a SoulCollage workshop or group.

Accept Yourself

All of us share a desire to be loved. It is what drives us to please our parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, relatives. But if what others want to see is not consistent with who you are, there is a problem. Either you must pretend to be something you are not or fear there will be difficulty or unpleasantness. As Mark Twain said, “The truth will make you free. But first, it will make you uncomfortable.”

Here is a question: What is the value of being liked for something you are not? Where is the wisdom in continuing to play a role to please others? You become liked for reasons that might have nothing to do with the authentic you. You dedicate energy toward maintaining an image that does not reflect your true self. By the end of the day you are drained and there is no place for the real you left. The result is being overwhelmed and even depressed. Your wish to please others turns against you and causes you harm. What if you,

* Stop trying to be something you are not. Life will be so much easier once you accept that you cannot be everything to everyone. You can be, and certainly are, precious to some and it is definitely worthwhile to stay focused on those relationships and perhaps open up for new and nurturing ones. As long as you try to be (fill in the blank) you set yourself up for disappointment, aggravation, and stress.

* Instead, try listing all of your positive traits and all of the wonderful things that exist in your life right now. Set yourself achievable goals that honor who you are. To make sure you get positive feedback try making one person smile each day. Celebrate that smile as your achievement. 
* Give up self-defeating self-talk. Many people are hurting themselves because of negative, polluted and repetitive mind chatter. Don’t believe everything you think! (Especially if it’s negative and self-defeating.) You deserve better than that. Read my article Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Five Things YOU Can Do To Overcome Negative Beliefs

* Let go of competing with others. Our culture is rife with invitations to do more and be more than someone else. It is not necessary to win a Nobel Prize, earn 6 or 7 figures, and be the most caring parent and loving spouse. Redirect your energy towards concentrating on your own strengths and make sure to nurture them every day.

* Choose to love yourself, with your needs and your preferences, and give them attention. Sometimes nurturing yourself can be as easy as taking some time of for connecting with nature (go for a walk), singing a song, or giving yourself a hug as if you mean it.

It is not easy to break through and change deeply ingrained habits, but, on the other hand, it’s also not easy to deal with the stress and the feeling of being less than perfect. By accepting yourself and being yourself you will create a deeper experience of life and find more fulfillment. The key is to start with small and simple changes. Where can you begin right now?

If you need help, call or email me to explore coaching options for you. Through coaching you receive guidance and support as you transform your old habits and make room for the new authentic you to emerge. And chances are, that new you will be way happier and much less stressed! What are you waiting for?




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Eva has been my coach for one and a half years. She has helped (and continues to help) me to become clear and see what I really want and need in my life. With Eva as my coach I have manifested more than I ever expected.
Chris C., Pennsylvania