How well do you accept yourself? Are you someone who accepts who they are, warts and all, or do you, like many, struggle with every self-perceived imperfection?
Often, we would rather talk about how we would prefer to appear rather than feel content about our present situation and looks. We tend to talk about how life would be easier if only we had more of a particular trait, such as willpower, or lost ten pounds or had different hair.
Now, some people are already happy with their current status. They are undoubtably content with who they presently are.
Accepting your full self might seem simple enough but most people aren’t satisfied with what they see in the mirror. While there’s nothing wrong with trying to look and feel better about your present situation, it doesn’t make sense to try to achieve things that are simply out of our control.
Believe it or not, most of the time we keep trying to change the things that we really don’t have control over, like how others perceive us. The problem is, we don’t stop.
Here’s the long and short of it. People who accept themselves are more likely to experience good mental health than those who do not.
But the reality is, accepting yourself can be one of the hardest things you do.
What is Self-Acceptance?
“Self-acceptance” is, according to Morgado and colleagues’ 2014 working definition, “An individual’s acceptance of all of his/her attributes, positive or negative.”
In other words, it’s about accepting that you are who you are, imperfections and all.
While it’s often compared to self-esteem and self-confidence, self-acceptance is different. Your self-esteem will often ebb, and flow based on your perceived self-worth. On the other hand, your self-acceptance will remain the same, no matter how you view yourself.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help you learn to accept yourself. By developing self-acceptance, you can better cope with the curve-balls life will throw at you. It also boosts your mental well-being.
So Why Is It So Hard to Accept Ourselves?
It can be hard to accept yourself because others have shaped how we see ourselves. From the time you were born, your caregivers strongly influenced who you were becoming. These people shaped you, or at least your perception of you, from the very beginning.
Your parents, and the friends you made along the way, significantly influence your life and how you feel about yourself. Even today, there’s a good chance that you don’t realize how others are affecting you.
In school, others judge your worth based on academic performance rather than on your passion or personality. This is great if you thrive at school, but, if you’re not great at academics, this might cause you to develop a negative view of yourself.
Over time, this process can make us feel inferior or even depressed, especially when others seem more successful or famous.
When this happens, it’s important to remember that others have the right to form their own opinions of who you are. But that does not mean their views are necessarily accurate or that you have to accept their viewpoint.
So, what can you do to better accept yourself?
Here’s 3 tips you can use to develop more self-acceptance:
1. Look at yourself as a work-in-progress.
Ray Kroc once said, “As long as you’re green, you’re growing. As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot.” In other words, life is about growing and learning.
Don’t let a mistake or two or three keep you from moving forward. A big part of being human is making mistakes.
Allowing yourself to be a work-in-progress rather than a perfect being will provide you with the compassion and understanding you need to keep trying, no matter what trials you face.
One way you can do this is by choosing the way you communicate with yourself. Your self-talk greatly affects your self-acceptance. Changing how you talk to yourself will make a significant difference and will allow you to feel that there’s a possibility for change within you.
2. Learn to be compassionate with yourself.
As mentioned above, an essential part of being human is making mistakes and having flaws. While we don’t have to settle with our shortcomings, it’s essential to know and understand them so that we don’t continually beat ourselves up when they appear.
If you struggle to accept yourself, try looking at yourself as if through someone else’s eyes.
Talk to yourself as if you were talking to your favorite niece or nephew or friend.
Write out a plan on paper about how you intend to come to your own aid.
Doing these things can help you focus on your positive qualities which will assist with your ability to accept yourself.
3. Talk to somebody.
If you’re one of those people who get down on yourself, find someone who does the same and join forces with them. Knowing that you have someone who has your back can be very uplifting.
Keep in mind that in some circumstances this could backfire. This is especially true if you find that when you get together you both tend to wallow in self-pity rather than focusing on what to do about it.
If you find this is the case, look for friends who will encourage you to look for solutions and help you find ways to accept yourself.
See how these tips work for you
As mentioned above, it’s easy to forget the power that others can have over our lives – if we let them.
So, instead of giving your power away, make it a point to be compassionate with yourself, see yourself as a work-in-progress, and focus on what you can change.
As you do this, you’ll notice that your life will improve as you focus on growing, instead of your imperfections.
This will help you become the best version of you that you can possibly be!
Often the problem with self-acceptance comes from our subconscious minds. If you would like to learn methods you can use to control your self-conscious mind then pick up your copy of Subliminal Success: How to Harness the Power of Your Subconscious Mind from Amazon today!