How to Be Happy with Who You Are

Three Methods:Accepting YourselfLoving Who You AreIncreasing Social Connection

Being happy with who you are, or having a positive identity, involves feeling good about your personal, professional, and social self. Most people in the world, big or small, Hispanic, African American, Asian or Caucasian, can sometimes feel negatively about their identity. This negativity can be due to lack of personal, occupational, or social fulfillment. In order to regain a positive identity you may benefit from: accepting your unique qualities, loving who you are, pursuing your goals (personal, professional, and social), and increasing social connection.

Method 1
Accepting Yourself

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    Appreciate diversity. Accepting yourself is crucial to having a positive identity. It's important to bear in mind that every human being in this world is different, and no two faces or bodies are the same. If there is no norm among human beings, how can there possibly be any form of inferiority? If you appreciate diversity in the world, you may begin to appreciate and accept yourself more.[1]
    • Make a list of all of the diverse aspects that you appreciate about the world. Some examples might be different: religions, cultures, environments, skin colors, talents, personalities. These variables are what make human beings, including yourself, interesting and unique.
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    Embrace your unique qualities.[2] There is no 'normal' human being, and no 'normal' framework for a human being.
    • Accept your differences in a positive manner. For instance "Yeah, I have big feet, but that's what makes me unique!"
    • Look at your personal flaws or mistakes as opportunities to learn or to better yourself.[3]
    • Don't think of your unchangeable differences (color of your skin, height, etc) as flaws, classify them as unique qualities that make you who you are. Your 'inferiority' or defect can also be seen as a unique or individual quality. If it wasn't for those things, we might all be generic clones with no unique traits.
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    Avoid comparing yourself to others. Nobody is perfect. They say the grass is always greener on the other side. If you focus on the idea that there will always be someone out there with more money than you, or better looking than you, you may struggle with feeling content.
    • It may seem other people are perfect, but really, they have their own differences.
    • When you compare yourself to others, stop and redirect your thinking. Think about your unique traits that are just as interesting. Tell yourself that it is okay to have these traits.
    • Understand that most people aren't out there to judge you. Most people won't know about how poorly you did on your last math test, or how you've gained a little weight since last summer.
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    Forgive yourself. People who have self-acceptance are able to forgive past mistakes and not let these situations color who they are.[4] Your history or mistakes do not define you. What you choose to do today and who you are in this moment defines you.
    • Consciously admit your mistakes or regrets. Go through each one that stands out and forgive yourself for it. Say or think to yourself, "I made this mistake. I forgive myself for doing this. This does not make me a bad person. I will choose to not make this mistake again."
    • Identify positive things that you have done or accomplished in the past. Some examples might include: graduating, passing a test, maintaining a relationship, accomplishing a goal, or helping another person. These positive events are likely to outweigh your mistakes and can help you focus on the good aspects of your history.

Method 2
Loving Who You Are

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    Define your identity. You must first know who you are in order to love yourself. Athletes who practice self-love tend to have more positive emotions about themselves and think more highly of their own behaviors.[5] Part of loving yourself is truly knowing who you are, or creating a personal identity. These pieces of your identity make up who you are.
    • Make a list of all of the important components of your identity. Some identities include: athlete, mother, child, grandchild, passionate person, dancer, or writer. These are the important identities that you can learn to love and appreciate.
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    Think positively about yourself. How you think about yourself affects your feelings and behaviors.[6] Evaluating your identity as positive may help you feel happier about yourself as a whole.[7]
    • Spend time thinking about your strengths (everyone has them) and you will find yourself more happy, and also more confident!
    • Look on the bright side of things!
    • Imagine positivity. Using imagery helps improve self-confidence.[8] Imagine yourself as confident and completely happy with who you are. What does it feel like? What is happening? How did it occur?
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    Use positive self-talk. Positive affirmations or positive self-talk help improve confidence and reduce negative emotions such as anxiety.[9][10]
    • If you are feeling bad about yourself, try saying something positive like, “It’s okay that I didn’t get the grade I wanted on that test. It doesn’t make me a bad student. I know that I am a good student, I just need to learn how to do better next time and everything will turn out okay.” The key here is to not let small mistakes become part of your overall identity. Do not let yourself believe that having trouble at something makes you bad.
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    Respect yourself. Self-respect is about treating yourself well and not allowing anyone else to treat you poorly.
    • Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Poor health can lead to lack of well-being.[11]
    • Set boundaries with others. For example, don't joke with others about things that truly affect your self-esteem. If you're particularly sensitive about your weight, avoid joking with friends, as this may lead them to believe they can do it too.
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    Build your character. Having virtuous qualities such as: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence, can help you form a positive identity.[12]
    • If you want to become more focused on helping others, you can donate your money or time (volunteer) to a charity of your choice. This can help you feel like you are giving back to your community or the world as a whole.
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    Create positive and attainable goals. Focus on fixing what you can change. Having goals and working toward them can increase your happiness with who you are.[13] This way you are progressing toward your ideal self.[14]
    • Gain employment. Not having a job is linked to a lack of well-being.[15]
    • Let go of what you can’t change. There are some things you can work toward (gaining employment, losing weight, etc) while others you cannot. Things like your height, ethnicity, and family upbringing are very difficult to change in a healthy way. Instead, accept these as they are and work toward coping with them.
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    Engage in self-expressive activities. This can help increase intrinsic motivation and overall happiness.[16] It is important that you are intrinsically motivated because this means you are able to motivate yourself and you rely less on outside rewards (praise from others, or financial gain) in order to achieve your goals.
    • Such expressive activities might include those which make you feel: alive, complete, involved, that it is what you are meant to do, that it fits you, and that you are truly being yourself.[17]
    • Define your purpose. What do you want to be remembered for? Being a good parent, friend, helping others?
    • Be persistent. Don't EVER give up. Don’t avoid taking chances because you fear you'll make a mistake.

Method 3
Increasing Social Connection

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    Be social. Lack of social contact can lead to lack of well-being.[18] Don't concentrate too much on yourself; Get interested in others.[19]
    • Balance your personal and social identity.[20] You can do this by being genuine and honest. Be yourself and don’t put on a false identity.
    • Celebrate your accomplishments with others.[21] This can create a shared sense of happiness. Celebrate accomplishments such as: jobs, promotions, test scores, new homes, engagements, marriages, etc.
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    Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Getting support is an important component of being happy with who you are.[22] We need people around us to build us up and believe in us.
    • If you are around negative people who put you down or treat you poorly, you may need to decide if these relationships or worth continuing.
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    Get help from a friend. Good friends will help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Good friends will tell you the truth, and you can work together on ways to make you feel better about yourself.
    • Talk with your friend about what aspects you are unhappy about.
    • If you find it difficult to talk with friends, ask them if they ever feel inferior or unhappy with themselves sometimes, and you may be surprised.
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    Inspire and help others. Be inspiring for someone else; this can be a virtuous quality that can increase your positive identity.[23] If you radiate positivity and happiness to others, you may internalize this positivity.
    • When you find yourself fishing for compliments, turn it around! When you notice how pretty someone's hair looks today, or how cute her shirt is, tell her! This may not only make her feel good about herself, but also may help you feel happier.
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    See a counselor. If you feel unhappy with who you are and cannot seem to move passed it, you could benefit from professional help. Psychologists and therapists can often help you set specific goals; they have a variety of psychological interventions to use that may help you work toward self-love and happiness.
    • Contact your medical insurance provider for a list of approved therapists.
    • If you do not have medical insurance you can contact your local government or social services agency for low-cost health insurance. Or, you can conduct a search for low-cost mental health centers in your area.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Building and Maintaining Self Confidence