When you wake up each morning and look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? Do you like the person reflected back at you? If you’re like most people, the answer changes depending on the day. Sometimes, you wake up feeling amazing and beautiful even though your hair looks crazy. Other days, you zoom in on the pimple growing on your chin or the dark circles under your eyes. It’s okay and even healthy for your feelings about self-acceptance to go up and down. One of the biggest misconceptions about loving yourself and doing so fiercely is that you have to like every part of yourself, everyday. News flash: no one likes anyone all the time, and that goes for how you feel about yourself. True self-acceptance means being honest about your emotions and who you are—the good and the bad.

Think about the kind of friend you want—someone who is compassionate, thoughtful, and honest. Be that friend to yourself.

Be compassionate by showing yourself kindness, especially during hard times (because that’s when you will need it the most). Be thoughtful in the choices you make each and every day; our lives are the sum of the series of choices we make. Lastly, be honest about what you like and what you don’t like. What are your strengths and your weaknesses? Only with this kind of honesty can you develop enough self-awareness to command change and progress.

If we start each day from a place of acknowledgement that we are not perfect but that we are good and that we are enough, we give ourselves room to grow even more so into the person we want to become. The fact that we carry an image of the person we hope to one day be is a testament to our character, our dreams, and our faith in ourselves to rise up to be the very thing that inspires us. Tracee Ellis Ross puts it best: “I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.”

Challenge yourself to work tirelessly on you. What this process looks like is probably very different depending on the person. But there are three things that everyone should challenge themselves to do.

1) Make your relationship with yourself a top priority.

Everything you do—from what you decide to eat for breakfast to how you choose to spend your free time—is or can be an investment in yourself. Shower yourself in good and healthy things that provide a positive return to your life.

2) Find your thing.

You are good at something. In fact, you’re not just good, or even just great. There is something out there at which you’re absolutely brilliant. Do not rest until you know what it is. You need to know what that is for yourself, but also do not forget that the world is also waiting for you to find your gift.

3) Enjoy life.

Part of the challenge is working hard for tomorrow and the future, aligning the actions we need to take today to become the person we are striving to be. But, remember, tomorrow is not guaranteed. In fact, nothing in life is. So have some fun along the way. Enjoy the process for what it is. It won’t fight you if you don’t fight it.

You can only do these three things if you are compassionate, thoughtful, and honest. There are hard days just like there are good days. Don’t be afraid to take a break or cry when you need to. That is not a sign of weakness, but rather a bold choice to listen to yourself and take action as needed. It shows that you are flexible and can adapt to all of the good and bad things life hands you. You need both your physical and mental health to conquer all that you will conquer in this life. You will not always feel beautiful even though you are. Use those days to propel you forward, because you know that beauty comes from the inside. Actively demonstrate self-love every day and be your own best friend.

Originally published at www.spireandco.com