I’m generally a happy, satisfied, confident and positive person, but I also have sad, vulnerable moments, and times when feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt come to the forefront. When I catch myself feeling negative, I make a point of practising self-acceptance. This creates positive energy that affects what I do, how I think, and how I interact with those around me.

I remind myself to let go of things that I cannot change, and focus on the things I can change. I try to reframe negative situations to see the opportunities they represent. I set goals to solve problems or seize opportunities, and work towards them in some big or small way each day. As I make progress towards reaching my goals, I’m rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

I identify my strengths, realistically appraise my capabilities, embrace what makes me unique and eccentric, and give myself a big pat on the back for what I am doing right.

I identify my limitations and weaknesses, forgive myself for past mistakes, and embrace the fact that with each new day I can improve my behaviour and make better choices that positively affect others and me. I fully accept that I can’t please everyone, can’t be popular with everyone, and that imperfections are okay.

I compare, but do not despair. We all have our challenges, big and small, even when we don’t speak about them openly and publicly. There will always be someone who is doing better than you by some measure, and that’s not a bad thing. I try to view others as inspiration, not competition. I’ve found this liberating, and believe it has made me more accepting and tolerant of others.

I embrace an attitude of gratitude.

As far as I can, I try to remove the negative influences of my life, and surround myself with supportive loved ones — human and canine — who are wise, soothing, kind, affectionate, funny, and make me feel like what I say and do matters.

I give myself permission to dream, because that’s the first step to making a so-called impossibility a reality. Taking steps to actualize my dreams — no matter how small those steps are — is very fulfilling.

And last, I make fun and relaxation a priority.

For me, self-acceptance is therapeutic, calming, strengthening, and sets me up for constructive improvement. It creates positive body image, helps me identify and prioritize what is important in life, builds my self-esteem, protects me from harsh criticism, and makes for a much more fun and relaxed style journey.