Step 2 - Accept Myself (again)
To add the type and culture perspective to what I had written 5 years ago, I'm still working on accepting that my mannerisms actually come across a lot harsher than I want them to.
Interaction Style teaches that ENFJ fall into the "In-Charge" style, with a directing rather than informing communication style. Looking at straightforward speech through the culture lens, it makes perfect sense to me to tell it like it is. That saves time, everybody knows what they're supposed to do, leaving little room for misunderstandings. Organizations like Toastmasters help me practice finding a balance between the two styles; directing when called upon to do so, and informing when I care about all group members and wish to motivate and inspire.
All types have inherent strengths and all cultural preferences have their natural habitat. Cultural behaviors evolved because they were the best response to the environment's situation, securing survival of the species and adaptation to the surroundings. I know it is impossible to be liked or respected by all, to fit in everywhere, and to always do the right thing in any given situation. But there's still a little voice inside of me that says, "why not try, though?" Very stressful.
So, self-acceptance: work in progress. Here's a great inspiration I heard at a recent Toastmasters meeting: 12 words that will change your life.
Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better.