Self-esteem is said to be crucial in leading successful lives. Yet, self-worth—a much more important aspect—is often left out of the conversation. It is this, the feeling of being worthy of love and belonging, which is vital to leading contented lives.

Success stories in the media paint pictures of ideal ways to live. Over time, we have started measuring our self-worth by how far we meet the expectations of society, family, friends and colleagues. When unable, our natural response is to feel shame; this painful feeling of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy—as explained by Dr. Brené Brown, a well-known researcher—is the no. 1 obstacle to living wholeheartedly.

In her book, Daring Greatly, she writes, “Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. […] It’s going to bed at night thinking: yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”

We are all imperfect, and accepting this will help us lead more gratifying and happy lives. Following are 10 guidelines that can help overcome the need for perfection, develop the courage to let go of fear and shame, and foster compassion for ourselves.

  1. Practice Authenticity:

Let’s not dwell upon what people think and stay true to ourselves.

  1. Find Self-Compassion:

Let’s relieve ourselves of perfectionism, it is the first step to feeling we are enough the way we are.

  1. Cultivate Resilience:

We are stronger than we think. So let’s learn to cultivate a hopeful attitude and believe in our ability to overcome the challenges in life.

  1. Build Gratitude and Joy:

Even in challenging times, we have the ability to feel joy. So practice being grateful, and let this change in perspective bring happiness into our lives.

  1. Trust Your Intuition and Faith:

We live in an uncertain world with very few things under our control. Let’s focus on doing them right and not let negativity cloud our actions.

  1. Foster Creativity:

We all possess unique talents. So let’s nurture them and feed our souls. Let’s not compare, because that will leave us feeling not enough.

  1. Protect Your Play and Rest:

Our net worth does not define our worthiness. Society puts productivity on a pedestal, but we need to remember that we need rest and play to rejuvenate.

  1. Don’t Fear Calm and Stillness:

Being calm means being aware of our anxieties. It is hard to do away with them completely; however, with yoga and meditation we can learn to take control of our emotions to deal better with complicated situations.

  1. Pursue Meaningful Work:

We may not all be able to practice our passions in our careers, but with a little bit of time management, we can still do things that satisfy our souls and bring value to society.

  1. Laugh, Sing, and Dance:

Let’s remember to laugh, not take ourselves too seriously, and let go of being in control. It can make a world of difference.

I wholeheartedly believe that we all are worthy of being loved and feeling a sense of belonging. Each of the above guidelines is an on-going practice to live wholeheartedly. They have been developed by Brown to help us let go of our desire to conform to the expectations of society and our ideals of perfectionism; so that we can accept ourselves as being self-sufficient.

I hope you feel like you belong when you come to Inspire, as we work towards building an ever-loving, safe and supportive community. What do you think about wholehearted living and is there a particular point above that resonates most with you? I’d love to know! Please feel free to share, I’ll be looking forward to your story.

Elisa