In 2005, Leo Babauta, owner of the Zen Habits blog, wasn’t doing very well: he was overweight, in debt, a smoker, and a procrastinator. He then discovered some invaluable advice to help him overcome his problems and change his habits for the long-term. He quit smoking and started running, he ran a marathon and began waking up earlier and eating healthier. And then he started to share his learnings and experiences on his blog, Zen Habits. By the end of 2007, he had 26,000 readers, sold a book deal, got out of debt and quit his day job. Today, Leo’s readership has grown to well over 200,000. We really recommend you check out his blog, it is an amazing source of wisdom for each and every one of us.

Here is one of his most recent blogs, that comes as a guide to dealing with dissatisfaction with ourselves. We chose the topic because just as Leo, we also talk to more and more people about things and realize the majority of us all have some sense of dissatisfaction with ourselves. Do you have it? Consider some of the ways we’re dissatisfied with ourselves:

  • We constantly have a feeling that we should be better, doing more, be more productive, more mindful, and so on.
  • We doubt ourselves when we have to speak in a group or in public, and feel that we’re not good enough to contribute.
  • We are unhappy with certain aspects of ourselves, like our bodies, the way our faces look, the way we procrastinate or get angry or lose patience as a partner or parent.
  • We think we need to improve.

Some of his practical advice:

  • Each time we have these feelings, we can pause and just notice.
  • Turn towards the feeling, seeing how it feels in your body. Be curious about how it feels, physically.
  • Instead of running from this feeling, stay with it. Instead of rejecting it, try opening up to it and accepting it.
  • Open yourself up to the pain of this feeling, and see it as a path to opening up your heart. In this way, getting in touch with the pain is a liberating act.
  • See this difficult feeling as a sign of a good heart, soft and tender and loving. You wouldn’t care about being a good person, or a “good enough” person, if you didn’t have a good heart. There is a basic goodness beneath all of our difficulties, and we just need to stay and notice this goodness.
  • Smile at yourself, and cultivate an unconditional friendliness to all that you see.

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