You’ve probably read all about green flags to look for in a partner and in relationships, but what about green flags to identify in yourself? Often, we’re our own worst critics and we’re quick to nitpick our own flaws, but chances are you’ve grown so much and are closer to all your life goals than you think. There’s way more to growth than visualizing the future you want (that doesn’t hurt, of course): it takes serious action. If you’ve been working toward the highest version of yourself–whether that’s bettering your relationships, health, career, or all the above–there are some signs you can look toward to know you’re on the right track (just keep in mind these aren’t the only signs; remember everyone’s journey is going to look different!). Ahead, the green flags you’re becoming the highest, most authentic, and (most importantly) happiest version of yourself.
Signs You’re Becoming Your Best Self: 6 Green Flags
1. You set boundaries (and follow through on them)
Whether it’s saying “no” to taking on another work project when you’re already spread too thin, creating a safe word in the bedroom, or declining a family dinner to take care of your needs, you establish boundaries to build a solid foundation for healthy relationships with yourself and others. You take the time to reflect on your needs in your friendships, romantic relationship, work, etc. and why each boundary you’ve introduced or would like to introduce is important to you. Setting a few in motion at a time, keeping it simple, and being clear is how you operate. While it may be uncomfortable at first and take practice following through on your boundaries, you’re a better friend, partner, and employee when you show up for yourself. Your end goal? To feel safe, valued, and respected, no matter what context a boundary is set in.
"This razor gave me the silkiest, smoothest shave I've ever had! I never get any cuts or scrapes, even on those hard-to-shave places."
2. You keep promises you make to yourself
We all make sacrifices for other people (remember: boundaries, ladies), but you’ve learned that if you don’t fill your own cup first, your career, relationships, and goals can pay the price. Maybe you promised yourself you would turn off Netflix instead of bingeing the next episode for the sake of quality Zzzs, meditate for at least 15 minutes first thing in the morning instead of stopping at Starbucks, and (finally) create a budget (because of said Starbucks addiction). No matter what you tell yourself, you keep your word and see each promise through. The best part? You’ve gained confidence and self-trust.
The secret to ensuring you make good on your promises? First and foremost, you’re realistic and specific with the commitments you set forth. In other words, you set yourself up for success instead of overcommitting. For example, if there’s any doubt you can carry out 15 minutes of meditation, start with five minutes instead. Then, put pen to paper, lay out a game plan, and track your progress (don’t forget to celebrate your wins!), and voila!—promises fulfilled.
3. You let go of self-limiting beliefs
We all have false preconceived thoughts, notions, and narratives we’ve told ourselves that hold us back from becoming our best selves: “I’m not pretty enough,” “I shouldn’t apply for that job because I won’t get it,” “I’ll never find the right partner.” But you’re aware you have your life experiences, fear, and imposter syndrome to thank for those unconscious biases.
So you take a step back and pinpoint your limiting beliefs by journaling about them and the possible reasons behind them (“Does this fear protect me from rejection and failure?”), question and challenge them (“Is this belief actually true?”), and reframe them into an inspiring and motivating idea (“I’ll never find the right partner” becomes “I haven’t found the right partner yet, but I’m going to work on putting myself and my needs first”). But you don’t stop there. You exercise self-love with affirmations, like “I’m enough,” “I have a lot to offer the world,” and “I’m worthy of love” (thank you, next, false perceptions).
4. You show yourself compassion
You treat your BFFs with kindness without giving it a second thought, especially when they’re hard on themselves. But when you made a mistake or failed to reach a goal, treating yourself with kindness didn’t come as easily—your inclination in the past would have been to beat yourself up and let self-limiting beliefs take over. But now you show yourself the same grace you show your friends (only kindness, understanding, and encouragement are welcome!). You also practice self-compassion by holding others accountable for their actions, say when a boundary you’ve clearly set with a friend was crossed, and asking for help when you need it, like a trusted family member or co-worker.
Showing yourself compassion didn’t happen with a snap of a finger, but you’ve mastered the skill by practicing self-kindness, adopting a mindfulness-based approach, honoring your authenticity, and taking note of when negative self-talk comes into play. The result? You’ve built resilience, made progress on your goals, and reduced stress (get it, queen!).
5. You allow yourself to feel all emotions without judgment
PSA: Even our “best selves” feel negative feelings sometimes. You don’t know you’re becoming your best self when you stop feeling sad, anxious, or stressed; you know you’re becoming your best self when you acknowledge those feelings and know how to process them. You don’t sweep negative feelings under the rug or bury them in work or bottles of wine until you can’t contain them any longer. All emotions are for feeling: happiness, gratitude, and excitement, but also sadness, anger, anxiety, envy, and loneliness. You feel all your feels because they’re each valid.
Sometimes naming the emotion, accepting it, and recognizing where it’s manifesting in your body is your go-to means of processing. Other times, you take to journaling, hot girl walks, talking to a friend, or therapy sessions to uncover where your feelings are stemming from (maybe your social media habit is triggering your anxiety and sadness?) and what they may be trying to communicate to you (perhaps you could use a social media break?). Bottom line: You’ll cry if you want (or need) to. After all, experiencing all of our selves—the good, the bad, the ugly—is what makes us human and enhances our relationships; especially (and most importantly) the one we have with ourselves.
6. You’re comfortable with being uncomfortable
Sure, you could hit snooze, skip every workout, and stay small at work, but stepping out of your comfort zone is a must if growth—personally, professionally, and romantically—is what you’re after. It’s not easy, but you identified the things that bring you discomfort and went after them anyway. You faced them head on, knowing you may not get instant gratification and may risk failing or getting rejected. But here’s the “best-self” part: you did it anyway, because you know it’s what you really want.
Maybe you tried the 3-2-8 method despite never lifting weights, took yourself out on a solo dinner date when you felt self-conscious being alone, made connections at an alumni networking event which you typically avoid, and spoke up when you disagreed with a point your boss made and suggested a different approach. You hit repeat on diving into new experiences and pushing your limits because practice makes perfect (although you’re not after perfection, but I don’t have to tell you that).