If you listened to the story you’ve been telling yourself, in your head, you’d be shocked.

We live in a society where it’s cool to complain. We complain about our kids, our significant other, our parents, our friends, our boss, our coworkers, our taxi driver, our meal, our car, our house or our finances. For most of us, it’s pretty much all we do all day long.

All this complaining takes up the majority of the time we spend with other people. And when we’re not complaining to others, we’re often looking forward to seeing someone we know, so we can share all our complaints with them.

We love complaining to others because it’s comfortable. It’s comfortable because it’s what we do inside our head to ourselves. If we ever stopped to listen, we’d be horrified at the way we talked to ourselves.

It goes something like this: We’re fat, ugly, too old, too young, dumb, too smart, shy, scared, broke, stuck, unloved, unwanted, lost or just plain confused. You get the idea. Sounds familiar, right?

The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that there’s something outside of us we need to get to be happy.

Most of us tell ourselves, if I could just get X, I’d be happy. Maybe our X is being thinner, more attractive, more educated, more outgoing, having a partner, getting a raise or winning the lottery. But whatever your X is, it won’t make you happy after the initial glow wears off. Within a few days, you’re going to have a new X you’re desperate for, and you’ll be sure you won’t be happy until you have it.

Just like getting the next shiny object won’t make us really happy, other people’s words won’t do it either. How many times have people you loved told you were attractive, smart, not fat or whatever your X is? Probably quite a few times. But I bet you never believed them for longer than a minute. Other people telling you how great you are won’t make you happy. True happiness comes when you accept and love your inner self, exactly as you are right now.

You’ve been programmed since birth to believe you need to be more than you are right now.

Self-love comes naturally to us. We are born knowing how awesome we are, but time and the experience of childhood erodes this knowledge. It’s no one’s fault. Even children who grow up surrounded by love experience this, because everyone has to learn and grow to function in society. Children have to learn to walk, read, write and do basic math. They have to learn how to wash up and how to use a fork.

None of this comes easy, and it programs children to believe they aren’t good enough, exactly as they are. They begin to believe they need to be better at everything to fit in, to grow up. Most of us haven’t realized that we are not kids anymore. The truth is, you have always been enough, even as a child.

You are not a child anymore, and you do not need to do anything to be worthy of love.

As an adult, you can absolutely reverse the programming of your childhood and love yourself, exactly as you are right now. It’s easy to start. Give yourself a hug and rock or sway a bit as you say out loud, “I love you, [your name]. You’re an awesome person.” The rocking or swaying is essential. It’s you accepting and loving yourself exactly as you are. If you don’t have arms to wrap around yourself, just do the rocking or swaying. Repeat this for a minute at a time, a few times throughout the day, every day.

When you tell yourself you are awesome, you start to notice how awesome everyone else is (instead of all the flaws you used to see). You don’t have to remember to be grateful every day, because it becomes your natural state.