What if I offered you more freedom, more independence, more kindness, less fear of failure, improved mental health, a more positive mindset and an increased sense of self-worth? Would you take it?
What if I said, all of this is available to you but the path to this involves self-acceptance? Self-acceptance of the kind where you embrace everything about yourself, all your good bits and your not-so-good bits and be ok with it all? Would you be able to do it?
I think you could.
I have been a yo-yo on the self-acceptance spectrum for years. Brought up by a parent who was so supportive & praising of me, it wouldn’t have been a stretch for me to believe I was born wearing a golden halo. Fast forward to adulthood, when life exposed me to the reality of my flaws, and people who weren’t so nice to me, I became overly critical of myself.
For me, there was no bigger bully than my inner one. As a result I put myself on a path of attempted perfectionism that was no more sustainable than it was achievable. There had to be a better option.
There was, it was self-acceptance.
It’s not the easiest path to navigate. It can seem to go against what we’ve been brought up to understand. Faults are a bad thing. We should work-harder to be better. Saying something good about yourself is bragging. Conform. None of this encourages us to get comfortable in our own skins. But what a difference it would make if we were.
If what you’re doing right now isn’t working for you, then it’s time to do things differently. It’s time to change the way we look at ourselves. Time to stop the judgement and like ourselves more.
Here are a few things you can do right now to start accepting yourself more.
– Become aware –
Self acceptance starts with self awareness. You can’t start to accept everything about you, unless you’re aware of everything about you. It can be difficult to assign the negative points to ourselves, we might not want to admit an imperfection. But it’s OK, we all have them, you’re not alone – they’re just part of what makes us human.
Equally, if you’re ultra self-critical, it can be challenging to work out the good things. If it helps, back it up with an example. So you could say, I’m generous because I always give to those around me. You could also ask someone you trust. What do you think my good points are?
Ultimately though, it’s understanding that when it comes to you as an individual, nothing is black & white. This isn’t a labelling exercise, or a shame-game, more of a self-exploration opportunity.
When you’ve identified something that perhaps you’re struggling to get to a place of acceptance on, such as I am sensitive – try adding the words and that’s OK! It takes a lot of power out of the statement whilst adding reassurance. Also avoid adding judgemental words, such as I am too sensitive. Try and keep it as neutral as possible
– Letting go & forgiveness –
Self-acceptance is about the here and now. It’s not about yesterday and it’s not about tomorrow. It’s about accepting yourself as you are right now in this moment. Which is a lot simpler when you’re not carrying bags of guilt around with you.
We all make mistakes. Quite often we don’t realise the mistake until hindsight comes into play. Here is an affirmation I find helpful when dealing with guilt over past events…
If you feel that you would like to take steps to apologise or rectify, then do. The most important thing is you learn to forgive yourself.
– Kindness –
I’ve previously spoken about the importance of being kind to yourself. Quite often we’re very kind to others but really struggle to extend it to yourselves. If we want to fully accept ourselves, we have to flex our kindness muscles.
These are the 3 simplest steps to being kinder:
01. As soon as you become aware of the self-criticism think STOP (say it aloud if possible)
02. Apologise to yourself – isn’t that what you would do if you were mean to someone else?
03. Replace the negative self-talk with something nice. One kind statement will do, but feel free to keep going.
Simple right? However, if your inner-bully is the biggest b*tch on the playground – pretty much as mine was – paying yourself a compliment will prove near impossible.
Thankfully I learned a technique during my EMDR therapy sessions that helped tremendously…
You’ll need to attempt this when you have some quiet time, at least a good 10 minutes of uninterrupted peace for yourself.
Sit with your eyes closed and visualise a ‘being’. This being can be anything that you are able to assign love and warmth to. For me it was a fairy godmother – give them a name if it helps.
Visualise their size, shape, appearance. The visualisation of them should make you feel comforted in their presence.
Know this being will never let you down, will always have your best interests at heart, loves you for you, just as you are. This being is a part of you and will be with you forever.
Then visualise where this being appears to you, for example mine always appears just hovering above my shoulder. Does your being hug you? Hold your hand? Or – like mine just stands supportively near you.
From that point on – in the times you need them – call your being. Imagine your being speaking kindly to you. What are they saying to soothe and support you?
Good to know: It’s important to not select someone you know (however good they are to you) as your being. If something happened in your relationship with the actual person, it would dissolve your trust in the being. It’s also an idea to not give it the name of someone you know either – make this being completely unique to you.
But if I start accepting myself for who I am right now, will it limit my potential?
It’s absolutely possible to love & accept yourself whilst still be committed to personal growth. One doesn’t cancel the other out. If anything, accepting yourself propels you forward, safe in the knowledge you’re growing with a lot more freedom and authenticity – how’s that for a happier you?
It’s Self-Acceptance month on Living.Pretty.Happy find out more here!
I hope you find these tips helpful as you begin to start accepting yourself more. Do you actively do any of these already? Do you disagree with me & instead believe that self-acceptance is an exercise in mundaneness? Whatever you’d like to say – or ask! just get in touch via the comment box below, I’m happy to help & I always love to hear from you!