At its core, self acceptance is being comfortable in your skin. Understanding and appreciating who you are. Looking in the mirror and recognizing the unique, wonderful work-in-progress staring back at you. Accepting yourself, faults and all.
Accepting yourself does not mean you should forsake improving yourself, nor does it imply you should talk yourself into believing you are perfect. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I'm not one to blow smoke or delude myself, nor would I advise you to do those things. If you have an area of yourself that you'd like to improve, by all means do so!
But let's be honest: Some of us magnify our faults to ridiculous extremes, beat ourselves up about things outside our control, or hold ourselves to impossible standards. Some of us focus on our faults instead of seeing a bigger picture of ourselves that includes both strengths and weaknesses.
Consider the woman who has worked hard to be physically fit and yet hates what she sees in the mirror because she doesn't have the face of a super-model. Instead of giving herself credit for her healthy lifestyle and all her hard work, she magnifies a part of herself that she's unhappy with until that's all she sees.
Consider the student who studies hard and passes all his classes, yet hates himself because he can't earn straight A's. Consider the victim of childhood abuse, still carrying around all the emotional baggage dumped upon (him/her) years ago, blaming (oneself) for things that were not (their) fault. Yes, consider each of these individuals, and then consider how their lives might be different if they learned to accept themselves, faults and all. Below are 5 practical tips to help you learn to accept yourself without sacrificing your ambitions.
Don't let anyone else tell you what you can or can't do. Yes, learning to accept yourself does not mean learning to accept your faults, but you owe it to yourself to test those perceived faults in the real world instead of letting someone else inventory your strengths and weaknesses for you. Before you can accept yourself, you have to understand yourself. Don't blame yourself for childhood experiences. Let go of the past and the things that happened in it. It doesn't define who you are.
Instead of focusing only on your weaknesses, make sure you take time to consider your strengths as well. You are far more complicated and wonderful than your morning affirmations would have you to believe.
You will never be complete. That's Okay. We are all a work in progress in some way or the other.
Yes, it's important to recognize your faults so you can learn and grow. But there's a big difference between positive growth and negative obsession: make sure you haven't crossed that line.
If you're still carrying around baggage because of something you did years ago, make amends and move on. Very little good can come from a perpetual sense of guilt. Conversely, if you're still holding a grudge because of something that someone else has done to you, do your best to let that go too. That doesn't mean that you should foolishly subject yourself to future abuse, merely that anger harbored towards others tends to hurt you a whole lot more than it hurts them.
When it comes to the life long process of Self-acceptance, this list is really only the beginning... but we have to start somewhere, don't we? No one's perfect. Thankfully, no one has to be.
We think that who we are is not enough or wrong. We compare ourselves to others and imagine that they have it all figured out; that they are correct or living as they should. Do we ever really look at ourselves in this way? Do we see ourselves from a place of complete acceptance? We often judge ourselves by what we are not. In order to live your life fully, you must come to a place of complete acceptance for who you are. Imagine living life not from a place of discontent, but from a place of self-worth and satisfaction.
Imagine not comparing yourself to anyone else. Instead, live your life as you are and be happy in how you see yourself. Life is not about comparing, judging, or altering who we are to fit in. Life is about coming from a clearer place within. When we accept ourselves, we open ourselves up to more. We begin to understand who we are because we are not trying to change what we are. Acceptance is about letting go of the idea that you must be something other than what you are. Imagine looking at yourself for where you are now and seeing with clarity everything you are, not everything you are not. What do you see and how do you feel? Look at yourself as a person that is meant to live this life as they really are.
Imagine being who you are and enjoying it. All of this can happen when you let go of thinking that you are not enough or that you should be more. By accepting yourself as you are, you begin to see the real you. You are no longer hiding within because you think you should change. Being yourself and accepting who you are gives you the room to enjoy and love life. Do not look at yourself from a place of what you imagine others might think. Rather, see yourself from a place of acceptance.
Others will come and go. They will not provide the true confidence we need to be ourselves. When you believe in who you are, you will always be ok. When you accept yourself always, you will never feel less, unworthy, or without confidence. Acceptance plays the biggest role in our self-worth. By accepting yourself completely, you are letting go of the idea that you are not enough. All of this ties together and the easiest step to seeing who you really are is to believe that you are what you should be. Accept yourself and wake up to the real you.