In other words, they don't expend useless energy comparing themselves with other people, or comparing themselves with some hopeless standard of perfection.
That is not to say that they simply accept everything about themselves and refuse to grow and change. Not at all. However, they make changes that move them in the direction of their own goals, and not in the direction of everyone else's approval.
If they are heavier than they'd like to be, they do something about it and don't allow it to go to far. When they fall off the wagon, they clamber back on without pointless recriminations. If they know they are going to indulge - say, over Christmas or Eid or Hannukah - they ringfence specific "cheat days" and then go back to their healthy eating habits. They never just throw it all in with an "Oh what they hell - I might as well just pig out".
They choose their friends according to their value system, and are comfortable with the company they keep - they have no need to keep one group of friends from another group of friends or from their family. The same with their occupation - they are comfortable talking about their work.
Whilst they recognise that the good opinion of others is important in some respects, they are not derailed by the fact that some people may not like them or approve of them. Having said this, if they notice a pattern, they are willing to look in the mirror and take responsibility for how they might be earning the disapproval of others - and then do something about it if it is important enough.
People who thrive often have their own sense of style. That is not to say that they are fashion icons. However, they have probably decided how they like to dress and how they want to look - and they are fine with it.
So if you have read all of this and you are still saying "Well that's all very well in theory, but I'm well into adulthood/middle age and I just don't know how to do these things", what can you do? Here are some ideas:
1. Do an inventory.
- What do you like/what can you be proud of regarding your looks, weight, sense of style, friendship groups, work and networks? Give yourself credit for progress and improvements that you've made along the way. These are aspects of yourself that you want to keep and appreciate.
- What would you like to change about your looks, weight, sense of style, friendship groups, work and networks?
- What do you need to make peace with and even embrace? For example, if you are a statuesque woman of 190cm in height, embrace it! You are never going to be petite no matter what you do!
- Weight goals: To get from Xkg to Ykg by (date) / I want to fit into a size X by (date)
- Style goals
- Friendship goals: To make friends who enjoy (activity) by (joining a club/online group). You can also end friendships that diminish you and are not in your best interests.
- Career goals: To be promoted to (name it) by (date); to find a new job that better suits your interests and skills.
- Network goals: To meet colleagues in (name the parts of the organisation) and have them call me for input.
4. Choose a set of affirmations that address your negative self-talk and support your success (google "how to use affirmations"), and use them as a mantra many times a day. Make sure that these are loving affirmations - you will grow to believe them as you use them.
5. Do a daily reflection: ask yourself what you did today to move each goal forward, no matter how slightly; ask yourself how you demonstrated your better nature (the likeable aspects of yourself) today.
6. Track your progress - use a tool such as Monday.com or trello.com. They are great because you can track whether or not you actually took action relevant to each goal all on one dashboard. Maybe also get yourself an accountability buddy - someone who will hold you accountable and give you "the look" when you are fooling yourself; someone who will celebrate with you and give you a high five when you win.
7. Celebrate progress. Allow yourself to revel in your small wins and give yourself appropriate rewards - but be careful not to reward yourself with things that derail you, like a wedge of chocolate cake when you've lost 2kg!
8. Accept compliments graciously. Just smile and say "Thank you."
Remember that you are fabulous and worthwhile and deserving - and remind yourself often!
If you recognise that you need to become comfortable in your own skin, and you know that it's going to be a real challenge, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss your coaching programme.