Self-Acceptance is, essentially, being satisfied and happy with who and what you are. It includes self-awareness and knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses, making them work for you instead of against you. Self-acceptance, however, is incredibly challenging for most because we all have something we don’t particularly like about ourselves. Whether it’s a character trait, a physical trait, something in our past, or even our current situation, we are our harshest critics. But, accepting something about ourselves that makes us cringe? Now that’s hard. That’s what makes self-acceptance so challenging. It’s easy to like the good and positive parts of ourselves, the opposite? Not so much.
I’ve personally struggled with lack of self-acceptance most of my life, the feeling of not being enough. Childhood trauma as well as the challenging experiences in my life made me feel less than I am which made me vulnerable to people who would take advantage of that. I found my worth and empowerment in the validation of others. I never felt good enough, smart enough, attractive enough. I didn’t even realize to what extent it had on my life until recent years. Which is the case for many people. I’ve since learned that my power and validation comes from WITHIN ME. Only I have the power and right to validate myself. As a result, I am learning to love myself enough to take care of myself mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Social media, online dating and other digital platforms have plummeted people’s perceptions of self, particularly the most vulnerable. It’s hard to love yourself when you see so much perceived beauty and happiness out there. It is challenging not to compare yourself with others and their “perfect” lives, even if you know deep inside that it’s all an act. According to research, self-acceptance is most challenging for those who didn’t feel accepted by their family as a child, who experienced trauma, who feel guilty about past events, and for those who see themselves as inferior because of their race, gender, orientation, or another aspect of their identity. A 2019 study found that “unconditional self-acceptance” is more important to mental health and wellbeing than self-esteem because you are accepting yourself as a whole rather than focusing on how you feel about yourself at any given moment.
Self-acceptance starts with moving past the trauma, neglect and negativity to self-love, self-kindness and forgiving yourself for those things you aren’t so proud of. You accept your weaknesses and acknowledge that they don’t define you. Your empowerment comes from the knowledge of who you are, regardless of the things you’re not so proud of. From this space you can grow and work on those undesirable things about yourself. I suggest starting with positive affirmations or “I AM” statements to help build your self-confidence and self-compassion. You can find some examples and worksheets from Positive Psychology here. Additionally, my free empowerment journal helps with all this – the gratitudes, affirmations and goal tracking helps you see and acknowledge your worth and take back your power and have a more positive relationship with yourself.
Deep breath. One.step.at.a.time.
Don’t forget to request your complimentary copy of my Empowerment Journal HERE.