I recently wrapped an amazing, life-changing, 3-day virtual event with my Clutch chickens, and the breakthroughs were so good that I wanted to spread the Clutch College love by sharing my top 4 takeaways with you.

First: Everyone is creative. Really.

How do I know?

Because we’ve all created an entire world of complicated beliefs and rules in our own brains.

Think about it.

We all have a detailed, comprehensive mental architecture of how we understand the world, what we think we “should” do with our lives, how we think other people “should” behave, what values are important to us, what we’re good at and not good at, what it even MEANS to be good at something, and so on.

We believe that we should be good at our jobs but we shouldn’t think we’re TOO good at our jobs, we think we should make more money but we shouldn’t want to make TOO much money, we think we should be a certain kind of parent, daughter, friend, partner, etc.

If you tell yourself you’re not creative, you are a liar. You’ve created an entire world in your brain.

There’s another layer to this, too. Because most of us blame ourselves for creating the NEGATIVE results we experience in our lives, but relate to the positive results as accidental.

But you’ve created it all. The good, the bad, the metrics you use to even judge whether something is a good or a bad result. It makes no sense to believe that your brain is so powerful it creates everything negative in your life, but it has nothing to do with the positive results you experience.

We have so much more creative power than we think. And when we learn to see all of the rules that govern our relationship to the world as we know it as a product of our own creation, we open ourselves up to the possibility of creating an entirely new experience, if we choose.

Second takeaway: In order to change your reality, you first have to ACCEPT it.

This point frequently gets glossed over in self development circles but it is EVERYTHING. When we resist reality – meaning, when we judge it, focus on how bad it is, wish it were different, lie to ourselves about where we’re at and where we want to go – we can’t actually create something new.

Think of where you currently are as your starting point on a map.

If you aren’t willing to enter your current location in Google Maps, if you pretend you’re starting from somewhere else, you won’t ever figure out how to get anywhere new. None of the directions will be relevant to you and you will be stuck where you are.

This is what you are doing when you resist your current reality. You’re trying to create a roadmap to somewhere new without being honest about where you’re starting from.

Now, you don’t have to believe where you are is PERFECT. You don’t have to love it. But you DO have to accept it, if you want to change it.

Whenever I find myself resisting an aspect of my current reality, I like to remind myself that humans will always feel positive and negative emotions, no matter what is happening around them. There is no exit ramp off the human experience. Releasing the fantasy that there is some version of reality where you will feel happy all the time, and accepting that life will ALWAYS be a balance of positive and negative emotions, will allow you to be present with whatever your current reality is. Then, if you decide you want to change it, you can.

Third: Most of us think of self-love as a destination that will always feel amazing. But actually, self-love is just choosing to having a better relationship with yourself, incrementally.

Just like cultivating love in any relationship – with a partner, a kid, a friend – the goal of self-love is not to become a happy robot all the time and never think a bad thing about them (or yourself). In any long-term relationship or friendship, you are bound to feel frustrated and angry and hurt sometimes.

You can love your kid and sometimes want to scream at them.

You can love YOURSELF and sometimes have mean thoughts about yourself.

Believing that self-love is some far-off destination keeps a lot of us in a space where we want to fix ourselves in order to love ourselves. But coaching teaches us to accept the reality that we are human, and so sometimes we will be a mess, and that’s ok.

The goal is not to achieve some kind of perfectionist bliss where you never have a mean thought about yourself or where you never do something you regret or feel bad about. The goal is to shift the proportion of your negative and positive thoughts. To be incrementally nicer to yourself. To choose love and forgiveness just a little more than you currently do, everyday.

You don’t have to love yourself 100% of the time to identify as someone who loves themselves and is working on having a better relationship with themselves. You simply have to identify as someone who is working on choosing to be kinder to themselves.

Last, but certainly not least:

Many of us think they have to be mean to themselves in order to accomplish anything. They think that if they’re nice to themselves, they’ll just sit on the couch all day watching Netflix and eating cheetos. But this belief system is not the Truth of Humanity. It is rooted in a specifically Christian premise that humans are inherently sinful and slothful, and the only way to “correct” this nature is to try to be virtuous enough to out-run your inherently corrupt and lazy nature.

I want you to think about how little kids engage with the world. They don’t just want to sit on the couch or stare blankly into space. They’re active and curious. They want to plan, learn and connect.

When you’re working on your relationship with yourself, I want you to think about how much of your premise about yourself is that you’re inherently lazy, indulgent, and sinful.

And then I want you to think about kids in their “natural” state and how active THEY are.

What would your life look like if you believed your natural state of being was to create, to contribute, and to be in community with other people? How would you relate to yourself if you believed that being mean to yourself was actually PREVENTING you from creating at your highest capacity? That improving your relationship with yourself would only boost your desire to create?

Most of us relate to ourselves as something we have to control, regulate, and moderate – because we have adopted the Christian belief that left to our own devices, we would be sinful and lazy. And so, we believe we have to use negative reinforcement to make ourselves “better.”

But consider that the premise itself is flawed.

What if you believed, instead, that like a small child, you are naturally curious? That you desire to create things and want to contribute to the world and help other people?

What if THAT is your natural state of being, and the nicer you are to yourself, the more you can access that state?

Remember, chickens.

You are creative.

You can accept and LOVE yourself as you are.

And your natural state of being is to build and love and contribute to the world.

If you want some of this mind-blowing goodness in YOUR life, join the Clutch. We are already planning our next Clutch College Live event this fall, and I can’t wait to see what life-changing insights emerge from that one.