One of the most basic human needs is companionship. We are people people, social creatures, and we need to feel accepted by others. The same desire that left you with baited breath during elementary school kick ball, when captains were picking teams, is still with you as an adult. It is a deep part of your psyche, and something that will be with you forever. But having the desire to belong doesn’t necessarily get you acceptance.

The only prerequisite to a sense of belonging is accepting yourself entirely. If we don’t accept ourselves, we won’t be able to recognize what it feels like to be accepted by others. Find out if you are accepting yourself with these evaluations.

1. Assess negative self-talk.

Pay attention to what you say to yourself when you make a mistake. Watch your tone of the voice. Is it condescending? Do you say things like:
• "How many times do you have to make that mistake?"
• "You are so stupid!"
• "You can’t do anything right!"
A lot of us share a tendency to be hard on ourselves in this way, but we all have the ability to get a handle on this inner critic and find self-acceptance.

2. Keep a positive self-talk journal.

To convert your harsh inner critic into something positive, try keeping a positive self-talk journal. Invest in a small spiral notebook bound at the side, and any time you have a negative thought about yourself, write it down on the left hand page. The left side is dedicated to the inner critic.
Then convert what the inner critic says into the opposite and write it down on the right hand page. This positive inner voice is what I call the inner colleague.

Keeping a positive self-talk journal requires persistence, diligence and commitment. Bring that memo pad everywhere you go and convert negative thoughts as they arise. Immediately, on the spot, write it down and convert it right there.

3. Every night, review what your inner colleague had to say.

At the end of the day, read through the right hand side of your notebook. Listen to your inner colleague and her affirmations in your mind as you drift off to sleep and let your subconscious build her presence.
If you diligently study your inner monologue for three months, your inner critic will disappear and be replaced with your inner colleague. You will feel love, respect and appreciation for yourself, and that will allow others to feel love, respect and appreciation for you. Acceptance starts with you.

Author's Bio: 

In 1996, Aymee Coget (Pronounced C o jjaayy) made a decision that she would devote the rest of her life to helping millions of people live happier lives. Realizing her main skills were talking and listening to others, she studied psychology to find out how the human mind works. After 12 years of studying, teaching, and experiencing happiness, Aymee has perfected her life to be happy everyday no matter what the happiness challenge. She believes in authenticity in her relationships and communications and feels the need for transparency as she relates with others. Aymee truly has become the embodiment of happiness. While growing up, her friends always joked about Aymee becoming a motivational speaker, little did they know Aymee would truly change the lives of many! Aymee holds a B.A., M.A. and almost a Ph.D. in organizational psychology. Her areas of emphasis include authentic leadership and positive psychology. She has a thriving international coaching practice based in San Francisco where she teaches her clients to take leadership of their happiness She blogs about sustainable happiness for Yahoo! health and several other websites. Her book Wake up and Smile is due out in 2008.