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Forget Resolutions: 5 Ways to Accept Yourself Just the Way You Are

Practice radical self-love in 2019 — because you are f*cking amazing
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This time of year tends to make us very navel-gazey. What did we do wrong over the last year? How can we improve — do more, do better? Lose weight, gain muscle, travel more, learn to tap dance. Enough! You are enough just the way you are. As a matter of fact, you are better than enough. You are f*cking amazing. Read on so you can see how to make 2019 the year you love yourself just the way you are.

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1. Find the Good
In a high school psychology class, we were asked to partner up and make lists of the things we liked about ourselves. I happened to be with one of the cutest, most popular boys in school. I sat, jotting down with my nervously sweaty hand what I considered my best qualities:

1. Good at basketball
2. Pretty smile
3. Nice

I looked at his paper and it was blank. I panicked. Was he too cool for this exercise? Was I too uncool? (Spoiler alert, I was.) I doodled for a couple minutes until I started worrying about our grade for non-participation.

"Why aren't you writing anything?" I said.

He looked at me with genuine bewilderment.

"I can't think of anything," he shrugged.

How could this be? This was my first glimpse into how people viewed themselves wasn't necessarily how the outside world saw them. It was eye-opening.

How about your dreamy blue eyes? Your prowess on the hockey rink? Your lopsided smirk?

"You smell good," I blurted.

He wrote it down.

1. Wear cologne

Here's the thing, lots of times, that nasty voice in our heads won't let us see the good in ourselves. Shut that negative voice up. If you can't, try asking your friends what your best three qualities are. My best friend did this for me in college: one of mine was my easy laughter and happy personality. I kept it in my wallet to pull out in times of emergency, like job interviews, breakups, and plain old bad days. It has since disintegrated from numerous folding and unfolding, but the words are still etched on my heart.

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2. Realize That No One Is Perfect
We've all had it: waking up with a pit in our stomach (please tell me it's not just me). It's a sinking feeling of regret about something that we said or did the night before. Stop and think. Nobody does everything right all the time and we're probably obsessing over it way more than everyone else. Also, the way we handle it — Do we learn from it? Do we laugh at our mistakes? — says a lot about us as well.

Once, I was on a cruise that I had won through work, with lots of co-workers. On the last day, there was a video playing on a loop on every room's TV featuring highlights from the cruise. One of these "highlights" was me dancing — in my bathing suit, beer in hand — in the hot tub. My phone started vibrating as texts came in. I buried my face in the pillow for 10 minutes. Then watched it a couple more times. Embarrassing, yes. Funny? Also, yes. So when people I didn't know stopped me on my way out, I realized that the way I saw myself was the way they would see me. Embarrassing and pathetic, or the life of the party? I chose life of the party. I laughed at myself so everyone could laugh along with me. It is now one of the funniest stories I tell.

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3. Accept Your Individuality
Enjoy your personality quirks and celebrate your uniqueness! Think you're alone? Halle Berry has an extra toe. Tina Fey has a scar on her chin. Angelina Jolie has knobby knees. Mila Kunis and Kate Bosworth have two different colored eyes. The point is, everyone has something that's weird about them. The smaller the world becomes through the internet, the more opportunities there are to make connections with people who are just like you. Build a community. Learn to laugh at yourself! Make the most of your "flaws" by playing them up.

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4. Get Help
This might be the year that you decide enough is enough. I'm tired of not liking me. If doing it yourself isn't working, seek professional help. A counselor, psychologist or therapist might be able to help you figure out where your feeling of self-loathing is come from, then how to get rid of it. It's an investment in YOU!

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