What is the Meaning of Self-Acceptance?
- Self-esteem leads to temporary happiness
- Self-acceptance as a life-affirming concept
- How can you develop self-acceptance?
- Keeping a Journal
- Practicing mindfulness & intentionality
- Remember, practice makes perfect.
Do you accept yourself?
It might sound like an odd question; what does it even mean to accept yourself?
Don’t we all accept ourselves as a regular part of living our day-to-day lives?
As it turns out, self-acceptance is not an automatic or default state.
Many of us have trouble accepting ourselves exactly as we are. It’s not so hard to accept the good parts of ourselves, but what about the rest?
Surely, we shouldn’t accept our flaws and failures?
In fact, that’s exactly what we should do!
Read on to learn why we need to accept ourselves, the good and the bad, and to get some practical suggestions on how to do it.
What is the Meaning of Self-Acceptance?
Self-acceptance is exactly what its name suggests: the state of complete acceptance of oneself. True self-acceptance is embracing who you are, without any qualifications, conditions, or exceptions (Seltzer, 2008).
For an academic definition, we can turn to Morgado and colleagues’ (2014) working definition:
“[Self-acceptance is] an individual’s acceptance of all of his/her attributes, positive or negative.”
Self-acceptance and self-esteem are often used interchangeably. But they are significantly different concepts that can have powerful impacts on your wellness.
Self-acceptance is a broader and more all-embracing personal philosophy that can help you live a balanced life. Let’s look at how self-acceptance can serve you and how to make it a part of your life.
Self-esteem leads to temporary happiness.
Having self-esteem is associated with feeling good about yourself. This feeling is often based on achievements and positive experiences. The more you accomplish things in life, the better you feel about yourself.
According to Dr. Albert Ellis in his book The Myth of Self-Esteem, it’s not possible to have consistently high self-esteem because you cannot always meet your goals or have positive experiences all the time.
For example, if you’re an entrepreneur, you may feel good about yourself when you make money. But you may develop anxiety and believe you’re a failure if you lose an important client. Constantly rating and evaluating your self-worth based on transient events and actions can lead to general anxiety.
Instead, consider adopting self-acceptance as a way of life. You’ll have a balanced perspective of what matters and will be able to sail through both bad and good events.
Self-acceptance is a life-affirming concept.
Self-acceptance means that you embrace your entire being. That includes your flaws as well as your successes. It means that you are at peace with both your failures and your accomplishments.
When you accept yourself fully, you recognize that you’re a multifaceted human being. You’ll be able to face challenges with equanimity because you’ll realize it’s not representative of your entire life.
With self-acceptance, you’ll move on faster when you make mistakes at work. If you’re a business owner, you’ll be able to look at the bigger picture and endure minor problems when trying to grow your business.
How can you develop self-acceptance?
Accepting oneself completely can be challenging because the norm is to self-criticize when you make a mistake. The idea behind this is that if you judge yourself harshly, you won’t repeat the same mistake.
However, this is often detrimental to your mental health and can prevent you from being productive. You may become less willing to make changes to your work and personal life, and you won’t take any risks.
It is possible to make self-acceptance a core part of your thinking with some effort. You need to pay attention to your thought patterns and keep challenging yourself when you become negative and judgmental.
Some helpful techniques that will give you the ability to develop self-acceptance.
Keep a journal.
Keeping a journal allows you to track your thoughts and reflect on them. Writing daily in a paper journal or a blog will help you document your thinking when you judge yourself.
When you write down your thoughts, you can become more aware of unhelpful patterns. Simply becoming aware of judgmental thoughts can be an eye-opener. As you go through your journal, you’ll be able to look at your life from a broader perspective. You can then tackle such thoughts by practicing mindfulness.
Practice mindfulness & intentionality.
Mindfulness is about staying grounded in the present moment. It creates a necessary gap between your rational self and the desire to rate and label experiences as successes and failures.
Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as taking a seat and breathing while letting thoughts happen. With time and practice, you’ll build the ability to allow unhelpful thoughts to arise without reacting to them. From here, you can develop an attitude of self-acceptance that leads to peace of mind.
Remember, practice makes perfect.
All things improve with practice. This is true of self-acceptance as well. It’s difficult to stop judging or rating yourself, but it’s a mindset that anyone can build over time.
We need to approach the process of changing as if we’re doing regular homework. By this, I mean that it’s essential to set aside time every day just to focus on developing a new mindset.
You could set aside minutes for meditation, positive declaration and affirmation and for journaling, or you could work with a coach either a physical or an online one to keep you accountable. Creating a well-defined plan for making an internal change will lead to better results than if you plan it in your head.
Benefits of self -acceptance to self?
When you have complete self-acceptance, you’re more likely to feel balanced and happy. You don’t have to experience extremes of high self-esteem and self-loathing when your actions and circumstances vary.
Focus on developing self-acceptance to embrace the fallible nature that’s endemic to everyone. You’ll get the courage to continue taking more risks in your business and work, and you’ll be able to bear life’s vagaries with confidence.
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