Do you practise self-acceptance? People have gone to great lengths to change how they look because they perhaps didn’t like the colour of their skin, the size of their butt, or breasts, the length of their nose, or the stretch marks on their thighs. If you are struggling with issues like a negative body image, low self-esteem, low confidence, and being oversensitive to criticism, examine aspects of yourself which you have not accepted.
What is Self-acceptance?
Self-acceptance is embracing all facets of yourself whether good or bad, whether changeable or not and being happy with yourself. It involves self-love, awareness, worthiness, and confidence. Without self-acceptance, it’s hard to love yourself. And if you don’t love yourself, how can you be happy? Lack of self-acceptance puts you at risk of making decisions that harm you despite knowing the dangers involved. Clearly, self-acceptance is crucial to your mental health.
Self-acceptance is not holding limiting beliefs about yourself. It doesn’t mean that you must remain in a toxic situation because you are who you are. Rather, it involves the freedom to be whoever you want to be and pursue your goals without being easily dissuaded by external influence. Self-acceptance begins with heightened self-awareness. Thus, you are comfortable in your own skin.
Does Your Self-acceptance Need a Boost?
Your level of self-acceptance will make you feel either inadequate or capable.
If you check affirmatively (yes) to any two of the following statements, your level of self-acceptance needs a boost.
- Extreme filtering of your photos before posting on social media. And when it gets fewer likes than you anticipated it bothers you and ruins your mood.
- Showing off whenever you go out to lavish places or eat luxurious food, or whatever expensive things so people can approve of you, and show the world how rich you are (when you probably aren’t.)
- Being in a secret competition with people who probably don’t even know or like you. And if they know you, they are not competing with you and are simply living their lives.
- Comparing yourself to others all the time hoping to achieve things that they do and feel like a complete failure when you don’t. For this reason, you are jealous of other people’s success and feel you have to prove to others you are doing better.
- You have a habit of criticising people, even those you don’t know, taking part in negative gossip and slander, or abusing others either verbally or physically. Yet, you cannot take criticism yourself.
Consequently, Trying to keep up with what you think other people should see in order to accept yourself, will cause unnecessary mental torture. Therefore, set your own rational standards of self-acceptance. Letting trends (other people) to define what is acceptable and focusing on your superficial image is not long-lasting.
Issues that Hinder Self-acceptance
Personal and external factors can contribute to a low level of self-acceptance or complete lack of it. Knowing and identifying the issues that hinder your journey toward self-acceptance is necessary. Then, you can know how to remove barriers to self-acceptance.
Consider the following questions:
• What past mistakes are you holding on to?
• What are you often defensive about if confronted?
• What triggers your negative emotions like anxiety and anger?
• What character trait do you hate the most in other people?
• Do you walk on eggshells to please people who don’t even know you?
Being unwilling to change.
Well, sometimes people belittle you instead of correcting you respectfully putting you in a defensive mode. Otherwise, when someone gently tries to advise you about something perhaps your behaviour, are you willing to change if you are guilty of the same? Refusing to accept your weaknesses, keeps you stuck. You don’t grow, but instead, sink deeper into a lack of self-acceptance. Any criticism from people worsens your negative self-image because, in a way, they will be validating it.
Acquired negative biases about yourself.
As you were growing up, you adopted beliefs and attitudes from your surroundings. Perhaps, you grew up in an environment where people around you criticised you, laughed at you, mocked things you can’t change about yourself, rejected you, or insulted you. In short, people never seemed to accept you. Therefore, you may have adopted the same view of yourself.
Refusing to accept your strengths or weaknesses.
Refusing to wholly accept both your strengths and weaknesses, makes you unwilling to learn or change. To accept your strengths is easier than to accept your weaknesses. You may need to remind yourself that your weaknesses are motivators for doing better if you choose to look at them so. If you were perfect now, how can you live in a world where everyone else is imperfect?
Being so hard on yourself when you make a mistake can lower your level of self-acceptance. You are unable to forgive yourself for the decisions you made, or things you did in the past. Thus, hating yourself. How can you be self-accepting if you hate yourself? Especially, hating things you cannot change about yourself like where you were born, or perhaps parts of your physical appearance. Hence, you are obsessed with trying to show the world that you are doing well or better than others, and you become so focused on the superficial. Putting people down gives you the illusion that you are a good person.
Wearing a mask.
When you are obsessed with the need for approval from other people, you wear a mask and hide who you are so as to be accepted. Except in cases of criminality, whereby you have homicidal plans or some other behaviours that harm other people, you need to be yourself. People who truly love you as you are will stay with you.
Other people, or the world’s view, shouldn’t set the standard for your self-acceptance because you will never fulfil everybody’s expectations. You need to set your own standards for self-acceptance. Self-acceptance begins from within—accept who you are now, not who you wish to be.
Remember to accept yourself as you did when you were an innocent child without any worries, biases, or fear of harsh criticisms from people. Therefore, you don’t have to quit life when you experience a sense of thwarted belongingness. You can boost your self-acceptance and regain your joy of living.
What is the importance of self-acceptance, and how can you overcome barriers to self-acceptance? Watch out for the next article: Improve Self-acceptance – 5 Tips.
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.
Here is one self-acceptance affirmation to say to yourself every day:
“I am human and I am me”
Here is a great book that contains techniques and more tips on how to improve your self-acceptance. Check out psychological hacks to use when you are struggling, feeling hopeless and thinking of quitting life. Grab your personal Kindle copy by clicking on the following link: The Big Dilemma: Do Life or Quit Life?