In today’s world, many men and women struggle to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. We nurture insecurities about our weight and our body shape. We worry about what others think of our new hairstyle, our clothes, our career path. And we constantly question our own appearance, abilities, interests, and overall worth.

I’m guilty of harboring these insecurities and even allowing them to take over my life—that, is until I grew sick and tired of feeling ashamed and finally accepted myself for who I truly am. There was no quick or easy fix; it took a lot of time and effort, but every second and every ounce of hard work was worth it… because now I’m a happier and healthier me. And you can be too! The only requirement: you commit to pushing your insecurities aside and embracing the true you.

Push Those Insecurities Aside: 4 Professional Tips

An important step in loving yourself again is ditching the negativity and insecurities, once and for all. “Take action, get back on that bike, and get in motion,” as advised by Makida Bey, MA CLC Founder and C.E.O. of the Resilience Therapy Center, LLC. Follow Bey’s four tips for pushing aside your insecurities and boosting your self-esteem:

1) Love yourself first. “You are enough to give and receive the love and respect you deserve—but you have to believe it first. Start each day or end each evening by taking a moment to recall a special time when you felt loved in your life, or remember a loving experience where you were able to offer love to someone else. The energy that you get from those thoughts and feelings will last you through the day, or help you sleep more soundly at night. Once you feel you are worthy of love, you will be amazed at how comfortable you are in being in your own skin.”

2) Take responsibility. “Being responsible for the things in your life means no longer blaming outside sources for your troubles. By blaming others, you are taking power away from yourself to make any necessary changes you need and to reflect on your life. Don’t be a perpetual victim. Instead, focus on your own contribution to what has happened, learn from this experience, and move forward with the strength of this knowledge. Building up on our strengths and learning from our weaknesses is what makes us more confident and able to endure what life brings.”

3) Recognize your value. “A healthy self-esteem creates a confidence that allows you to respect and value other people, yet you also need to value your own thoughts and opinions to gain that confidence. A way to do this is to really take a look at what you value: your family, faith, health, relationships, money, etc., and how these areas impact the value you place on them in your life. List each area and rank them based on each area’s impact on how you see yourself. Look at those at the top of the list, and then at the bottom. What areas in your life hold the most value for you? Which ones do you hinge your self-image on the most? By recognizing your own value, you have the power to adjust your life to fit the self-image you desire.”

4) Make an attitude adjustment. “Healthy self-esteem doesn’t have to take a long time to reach. In fact, you can go from low to high self-esteem quickly. All it takes is a willingness to adjust your attitude. A quick way to do this is by first recognizing when you are being down on yourself, then changing those thoughts to something positive or productive. For example, if you tell yourself, ‘I will never be able to get a better job,’ you can recognize that this is unhelpful thinking and instead switch it to something more productive. You could say, ‘I don’t like this job, and I’m nervous about getting a better one. Let’s see what’s out there anyway. What do I have to lose?’ By doing this, you are changing your attitude from that of a victim to one who can DO something about it. The more you practice this, the more you will be amazed at how successful you’ll be.”

Love, Respect, and Embrace the True You

You are perfect just the way you are—there’s no need to feel ashamed or to mold yourself into something you’re not. Instead, follow Bey’s four tips above for improving your self-esteem, and then rejoice in you. Let your true self shine through each and every day: when you’re hurrying to get ready for work in the morning; when you’re dropping off clothes at the dry cleaner’s; when you’re making blueberry pancakes for dinner; when you’re out celebrating a friend’s birthday—embrace the true you in everything that you do, wherever you may be.

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