In my early 30s, I observed a 50-year-old boss who worked in my office at BBC London. On the surface, she looked like she had it all together but upon closer examination, she appeared deeply insecure. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but in my mind, I thought ‘gosh, I don’t want to reach the golden age of 50 and still be second-guessing myself.’ I felt sorry for her and told myself, “When I reach 50, that will not be my portion.”
But who said life was easy? Who says you will be self-assured and confident in your 40s and beyond? It doesn’t just happen. It requires flexing those confidence muscles daily. You have to go on a journey of self-reflection and improvement. It involves being totally honest with yourself, and the more you connect and become the full version of yourself, the more you will self-actualize.
Self-actualization is the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities. Self-actualization aids youthful living because it gives you the freedom to be yourself. Once you have self-actualized, you have fulfilled your full potential as a human being. But it requires the following steps to achieve it:
- Being the best version of yourself.
- Accepting who you are, your strengths and weaknesses.
- Developing strong resilience to life challenges.
- Not taking the actions of others so personally.
- Being comfortable in your skin.
- Taking responsibility for your life.
- Not blaming anyone for your circumstances.
- Enjoying your life now.
- Loving yourself just as you are.
- Loving others and their shortcomings unconditionally – if you love conditionally, you will always be disappointed.
- Growing daily in wisdom.
- Embracing growth and learning.
- Confidence in your God-given abilities.
- Dancing like no one is watching.
- Being grateful and appreciating every part of your life journey.
Have You Self-Actualized?
If you have, awesome! If you haven’t, here are some tips that’ll help you get there so that you can live a fulfilled life.
It’s truly a struggle for people to accept themselves, especially women. It doesn’t help that we are compared so much more among ourselves than men are. I remember a season when I wasn’t comfortable with my height. At only 5’4, I wanted to be taller like my siblings and my parents. It didn’t help that I had people in my life that would throw snide remarks about my height. Throughout my 20s, I wore block heels with extra inches so that I could appear taller. Then one day, I woke up and threw away the big blocks and just accepted my height.
But I still struggled with accepting things. I relocated to Lagos from London a few years ago. When I first arrived, I would complain about everything – from the weather to the traffic and then the poor power supply. I even remember waking my husband in the middle of the night and asking him when we were going back to the UK. After years of complaining, I had an epiphany – I had to accept my circumstances if I was going to live here peacefully. I remember a feeling of calm when I stopped trying to figure everything out. I moved into a new state of maturity. A new place of peace, exuberance, and joy. A new place of youthful living.
Here are three key points that can help to practice acceptance:
- Accept Yourself
Accepting yourself is a big step towards living a fulfilled life but it takes honesty and inner reflection. A lot of times, we aspire to be or do things we are not called to do and that breeds frustration. Sometimes, we envy others who have the gifts we desire.
I remember when I was a little girl, like most little girls, I wanted to be a singer. But reality set in and I realized I just wasn’t gifted to sing. We have to be honest with ourselves.
Have you accepted yourself? Do you know yourself? Do you know your strengths and your weakness? Are you trying to do things you are not gifted to do? Are there people in your inner circle you trust and can be honest with you? I am not saying you shouldn’t strive for things you desire but be clear about who you are and your purpose.
- Accept Others
You have to accept others for who they are. If change is going to come, it will have to come from the person. I use to have this eagerness to try and fix people in my attempt to get on better with them, but they never changed and eventually, I realized you can’t change others. The only person you can change is yourself.
- Accept Things
So much is happening in the world and every day, I see a rant on social media, but I won’t give myself high blood pressure over the things I can’t control. There are so many things in my beloved country I would like to change, especially the power situation. Gosh! The constant power failures used to upset me when I first arrived but I can’t kill myself.
Now, I can be in a meeting and if there’s a power failure, I will carry on talking with everyone else rather than look confused. I have accepted what I can change and for what I can’t, I say this short prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
What about you? What things do you need to accept? What things are causing you unnecessary stress? What things do you need to let go of so you can live your life well?
Photo Credit: Ririokoye.com