Self-acceptance means treating ourselves with care and recognizing that we are valuable and worthy of being loved and respected even though we are not perfect. In theory it seems easy, however, it is not .
We live in a highly competitive society, and self-acceptance often requires changing our way of thinking and re-educating ourselves.
Not accepting ourselves as we are is a barrier between us and our emotional well-being and growth, because it prevents us from facing life with energy and makes us succumb to the difficult experiences and difficulties we may encounter. Life has good moments, but it also has difficult moments and we must accept them. If we do not accept ourselves, we are our own worst enemy.
Self-acceptance is the path to inner peace
To accept ourselves is to find inner peace, to find peace with ourselves . It also allows you not to escape from problems and to accept them, because understanding that failures are human is healthy for your well-being. Self-acceptance is, without a doubt, a victory in the ring of life.
- Recommended text: “70 Buddhist phrases for finding inner peace”
When you do not build your inner peace and self-acceptance you are at the mercy of the situation, which most likely engulfs you. When a person does not accept himself he will have problems at work, at school, with others and ultimately with life.
Self-acceptance is such a powerful tool that it is even used in psychological therapy. Third generation therapies, e.g. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or mindfulness, are based on this concept.
Albert Ellis, one of the most influential psychologists in cognitive therapy and creator of rational emotive-behavioral therapy (REBT), defined self-acceptance in this way: “Self-acceptance refers to a person’s full and unconditional acceptance of himself, whether or not he behaves intelligently, correctly or incorrectly, and whether or not others give him their approval, respect and love”.
Tips for achieving self-acceptance
It is common to talk about forgiveness and whether or not we should forgive others. Forgiving others and living without grudges is good for our emotional health . And in fact, it is one of the most important factors in our interpersonal relationships. But can we forgive ourselves? Forgiving others can be complicated, but it is even worse when it is our turn to forgive ourselves.
Forgiving and accepting oneself requires willingness. That’s why below you can find some tips that can help you achieve it.
Make a list of negative judgments about yourself and let them go
The first step in ending negative thoughts about yourself is to make them conscious. Therefore, it is necessary to detect what takes away the happiness of being yourself . You can do this with a thought journal. To do this, you must detect those thoughts and write them down from self-acceptance and self-forgiveness, making a contract with yourself to let these thoughts pass and forgive yourself for what you have done. This is accomplished from a non-judgmental attitude.
One idea to achieve this is to write the following:
I free myself and let go of all the suffering and guilt in relation to ……. (fill in the blank). I am willing to forgive myself for what happened. I did my best. I forgive myself and everyone else involved. I’m not going to torture myself about this anymore.
2. Learn to validate your emotions
When it comes to resolving interpersonal conflicts, acceptance, through emotional validation, is one of the best ways to do it. After all, certain prejudices and beliefs about our identity can cause us to falsely reject some feelings, making us doubt and feel bad about what we experience. We need to look at ourselves without prejudice.
Emotional self-validation consists of accepting and validating what we are feeling whether we agree or not . Therefore, we don’t need anyone’s permission to accept our emotions, because we give ourselves permission. To validate our emotions, we must first of all know them, label them, and then accept them as they are, with a non-judgmental and non-critical attitude.
- If you want to go deeper into emotional validation, you can visit our article: “Emotional validation: 6 basic tips to improve it”
3. Cultivate a good relationship with uncertainty
Cultivate an attitude of courage and be authentic . Take risks and don’t be afraid of uncertainty or being vulnerable. Get out of your comfort zone. Many people get caught in a spiral where failure feeds the story of “I’m not good enough”.
Disconnect from this sense of failure and negative feeling that affects your self-esteem and connect to the wise experience that not everyone is perfect and can fail. Get out of your comfort zone, take risks and take life as a continuous learning experience .
4. Don’t compare yourself to others
We often compare ourselves with others, because we live in a society that rewards people with money and success. If evaluating us for money, possessions, and success at work is not good, it is worse to compare ourselves to others. When we do that, anxiety takes over and our self-esteem suffers . We must re-educate ourselves and stop thinking this way.
- You can do this by following the advice in this post: “Tips to stop thinking about what others think about you”
5. Learn to accept your imperfections
Stop being a perfectionist and stop thinking that you are unworthy because you have imperfections . Perfectionism negatively affects our emotional balance. Instead, when you accept your imperfections and see them as normal, then you are free! You are free to feel the anxiety of being the way you are, and you no longer need to waste that mental energy on these thoughts that eventually cause you great emotional fatigue.
6. Practice Mindfulness
In recent years, one practice that is becoming really popular in psychology is Mindfulness . Mindfulness is a way of life, although psychologists have adapted its principles and methods to therapeutic practice, aware of the great benefit it provides for mental health, to the extent that it is used to treat cases of mild depression.
This philosophy is based on living the present experience in all its totality, and proposes that we find the essence of who we are. This is achieved through self-acceptance, compassion towards oneself and a non-judgmental mentality.
Mindfulness allows us to be aware of the reality around us and helps us to live from freedom, self-knowledge and acceptance. As a therapeutic tool, Mindfulness makes us focus on the here and now, judging beliefs about the past as what they are, uncertain and imperfect ideas that can be useful or not, depending on the case.