Client story: "I want to be unique," said Hayley, a singer in her early 20s. "How are you going to do that?" I asked. "By being different," said Hayley. "There is another way to be unique," I told her. "By being authentic."

When you lack self-acceptance, your personality begins to compare itself negatively with 6 billion other people on the planet. As long as you refuse to love and accept yourself, you will tell yourself that you are not beautiful enough, rich enough, loved enough, lucky enough, successful enough or anything-else enough. No amount of makeovers, reinventions or new beauty secrets will do the trick. Deep down, you'll still feel like a nobody, but only because you are identifying with the self-image rather than with the authentic you.

Exercise: Self-acceptance is an invitation to stop trying to change yourself into who you wish were for long enough to find out who you really are. When you believe in yourself and you are true to yourself, you will experience the miracle of self-acceptance, which reveals just how uniquely beautiful you are.

My all-time favorite prayer is by Macrina Weiderkher, a Benedictine nun. It goes: "O God, help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is!" The more you say this prayer, the more you will experience the beauty of your authentic self.

Next: Abandoning self-defeating behaviors


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