Are you generally kind, or do you tend to drive yourself too hard? Why, oh, why do we find self-acceptance so difficult? Do you think if you crack down on yourself enough it will motivate you to make some positive change?

Sure, you’re willing to go out of your way to help your loved ones, but what about your sweet self? Have you ever told yourself that you’re a failure, a flop, or a loser? How do you treat the anxious and frightened part of yourself? Our nervous inner child will not respond well to critique and condemnation, trust me.

No doubt you have received messages from the culture we live in. Are you considered thin enough, rich enough, cool enough? I know: You prayed for a fat bank account and a thin body, but somehow they got mixed up? I get it. If you had to choose between pizza and being skinny, which toppings would you get on your pizza?

But sincerely, please do not internalize the feeling that you are somehow defective and deficient simply because you may still be single. Are you still listening to the negative messages the media has bombarded you with about mask-wearing?

Do not allow others to demonize and defame you. You hear that inner voice saying: “I’ll feel good about myself after I lose 20 pounds, get a better job, or get married.” I know. Every time I eat a salad, I’m like: My life better change after this. Yup. You have hunger management issues. I get it. Do what I do. Plan your outfit based on how much food you’re eating.

But truly, do not place these conditions on your self-love. By all means, work on your attributes and all aspects of your life that you deem necessary. But do not be at war with yourself. We all have flaws and failings, but they do not define you.

Your language is impactful and influential. What are you telling yourself right now about yourself? I know: When you talk to yourself, you always get the answer you want. Hey, I’m so sharp that sometimes I don’t understand a single word I’m saying.

Talk to yourself like you would someone you love. If someone criticizes you and says, “It runs in the family,” say, “This is where it runs out.” And remember: When dealing with others, there is a voice that does not use words. Please listen.

Are you able to see good things in yourself? If you treat yourself with gentleness and generosity, your imperfections will not get worse. However, if you call yourself names, like “stupid” or “crazy,” you have become your own abuser. Do not be preoccupied with negative memories of your life. Nourish yourself.

Speaking of nutrition, the best ab exercise is five sets of “stop eating so much junk.” Well, I’ve been watching my weight. It’s still here. You know that dieting is like Amazon Prime: Results are not going to show up in two days. But seriously, you have the capacity to change your impression of yourself. If you want to feel true self-worth, then do things to earn it. Do more and you will be more.

You may have family members who cannot accept you for who you are. Well, we all know that some family trees bear an enormous crop of nuts. Listen, everybody knows how to raise children – except the people who have them. Please do not depend on validation from others – even well-meaning loved ones.

Be honest about how much approval you crave from others. No, you are not wearing those heels “for yourself.” You may have purchased that flashy car simply to impress. You know what they say: Shoes make an outfit. They are rims for a car. Wearing those five-inch heels again? So, what do you call a dinosaur with high heels? My-feet-are-saurus.

But honestly, how many people have to agree with you for you to believe that something is true? Do not depend on others for your beliefs or self-worth.

I’ll bet you can tell me a whole range of skills that you have. What are you good at? What have you accomplished? Start your sentence with: “I can...” We all feel the need to compensate for our weaknesses at times. Learn to embrace even the parts of yourself that you do not like. Focus on developing your gifts, sweet friends, and you may just discover some you did not even know you had.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at