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Self-acceptance 101: Accepting Who You Are

Health Tips
Last Updated Aug 21, 2020

During my teenage years, all I ever wanted to be was become taller, thinner, smarter, funnier, blonder, smoother and lovelier. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve come to accept most of my flaws and love myself a whole lot more. But just like other people, I’m still working on the idea of truly absolutely, unquestionably accepting everything about myself. This article focuses on the importance of self-acceptance and how to learn to love yourself including your flaws and imperfections.

What is Self-acceptance?

Simply put, self-acceptance is acceptance of self. It can be defined as the awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses. It can also be the realistic but subjective) appraisal of one's talents, capabilities, and general worth, as well as feelings of satisfaction with one's self despite deficiencies and regardless of past behaviors and choices.

According to Lorrie A. Shepard, "self-acceptance is an individual's satisfaction or happiness with oneself, and is thought to be necessary for good mental health. Self-acceptance involves self-understanding, a realistic, albeit subjective, awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses. It results in an individual's feeling about oneself, that they are of 'unique worth'."

In clinical psychology and positive psychology, self-acceptance is considered the prerequisite for change to occur. It states that self-acceptance can be only be achieved by stopping criticizing and solving the defects of one's self, and accepting them to be existing within one's self. That is, tolerating oneself to be imperfect in some parts.

On the Road to Self-Acceptance

There’s a quote by essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

The world continues and will continue to show us pictures and depictions of the ‘perfect’ person. As a result, we all strive to become someone we are not. Despite what the world tells us on the perfect person, there is no such thing as a perfect person. All we can do is strive to be the best version of ourselves.

Be Positive

You might be an excellent cook, a strong and fast swimmer, or someone who makes other people laugh. Whatever it is, you have a set of strengths that sets you apart from other people and making you unique. When you start focusing your microscope on the wonderful things that you can offer this world, and take the attention off of your weaknesses, you’ll be racing down the road to self-acceptance.

Banish Negative Thinking

We have all had those moments when we thought to ourselves, “Why can’t I be good at x, like that person?” or “I can’t believe I made that mistake; what’s wrong with me?”

While it is okay to be in a bad mood every now and then, continuously wallowing and indulging in negative self-talk only take you away further from the goals you’ve set and can hinder your overall happiness and general wellbeing.

To conquer negative thinking, substitute a bad thought with a positive one. You can write a list of positive affirmations that you can repeat whenever you are feeling low and lonely.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Worrying about the future and what it will bring creates unnecessary fear, which can prevent yourself from enjoying a fulfilling life. Making yourself busy worrying so much on what may or may not happen, you could miss out on the moment and it will pass you by. Realise that you have the power in your hands to alter a bad situation. Then, take necessary steps to change the outcome or, if it is out of your hands anymore, just let it be. Chances are - the things that you are worrying about will never happen!

Do Your Best

When you wake up in the morning, please tell yourself that you are going to try your best. As you go with your day, do things that will make you happy. If you have a slip-up, acknowledge it, fix it if possible, and forgive yourself. By changing your mindset and thinking, you might be surprised by how the world has changed around you, and the number of opportunities presenting themselves.

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Originally published on May 23, 2014

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Wellness inspiration of the week

People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills… There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind… So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself. — MARCUS AURELIUS