Loving and accepting oneself in spite of short-comings and flaws in him has remained the greatest challenge faced by mankind at all times. People love each other very easily and freely, but forget one most important thing that to truly love another human being, we must learn to appreciate ourselves, with faults and all, and have a healthy self-image. Only then we will be able to radiate the positive energy that attracts everyone around us and makes them appreciate us for our true inner-beauty.

People often judge others on the basis of looks, status, position in the society etc. but fail to look deep inside a human being as to what he's really made of and what inner qualities he possesses that are far more important than what he holds outside. In this way, the person who lacks the outer luster and all the materialism begins to have doubts about himself that he is not good enough to fit in the society, which leads to inferiority complex, poor self-image, lack of confidence and other psychological and behavioral problems that have undesirable and negative effects on his personality and his life ahead.

The truth is, in fact, that everyone has more than one quality which he and only he possesses, and in which only he specializes, and it is those traits that set everyone apart from everyone else. It is not possible to have healthy relationships with others if you feel bad about yourself and hate the way you are. As the quote says: "You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy." And: "If you aren't good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you'll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren't even giving to yourself."

Barbara De Angelis

In order to maintain a healthy and positive self image, we must set our own standards based on our own beliefs instead of comparing ourselves to the standards and norms set by the society. If we do the latter, we will always find ourselves falling short of some quality desired by the society, as everyone has different views and perspectives and it is utterly impossible to satisfy everyone around us. As the quote goes this way that: "The image of myself which I try to create in my own mind in order that I may love myself is very different from the image which I try to create in the minds of others in order that they may love me." W. H. Auden.

The decision to love and forgive ourselves for all our faults could be the most important as well as the most difficult one we'd have to make. But once we get to it, it could really transform our whole life and give a boost to our self-confidence. An effective way to start the whole process of making and implementing this decision is to admit to yourself that "This is just the way I am. It's what God chose me to be like. I have to accept it and live with it as there is no other option." This self-affirmation statement is particularly effective for those who have a particular trait that they cannot change about themselves, such as looks, physical features, family background etc. Contrary to these, there are some characteristics that we can help with and alter according to our own wishes and beliefs, which include inner qualities, way of looking at and perceiving different things and situations in life and overall attitude to others and ourselves etc. That said and done, we take an important step towards self-fulfillment, which can be further improved and nurtured by acknowledging our little and big efforts alike, having a positive outlook towards life, forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we make, letting go of fears and worries, eliminating self-criticism and accepting criticism from others in a healthy way in order to improve ourselves, trusting and being honest with ourselves and others, and most important of all, enlightening our inner selves by growing spiritually, and doing what we love to do. All these factors when combined, help us in transforming into a person we try to find in others in order to fill the empty void inside us, which in turn results in more people accepting us for who we truly are, and most importantly, it leads to self-acceptance and acknowledgement, and loving ourselves, by achieving which we overcome the greatest challenge of all!

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