Self-acceptance is the key to solve various psychological problems, from low self-esteem to body image issues.
Learning how to accept yourself is difficult, and we often feel self-conscious for our perceived flaws. It becomes harder for people with negative experiences, such as abuse and bullying. However, it does not mean that you cannot learn it.
Why Self-acceptance Is Important
Developing self-acceptance will bring you long-term benefits. Some of them are:
- Physical and emotional health
Do you know that chronic stress causes tons of physical and mental problems? Self-acceptance reduces the possibility of developing chronic stress, giving you a healthier life.
- Better social relationship
Self-acceptance teaches you to be more humble, open-minded, and flexible when dealing with people. It will nurture your social relationship and overall positive environment.
- Free from rumination
Rumination is when you keep negative things and memories in your mind, even long after the actual situation passes. It also makes you analyze things constantly, resulting in stress. Self-acceptance free you from this bad habit, because you learn to think that positive and negative things are parts of this world.
- Better problem-solving skill
You cannot solve a problem if you keep being denial about what just happened. Self-acceptance helps you to see a problem with a clearer mind, because you acknowledge the faults or mistakes.
Self-acceptance also demands you to reevaluate your mind and view, which makes it a difficult thing to do for many people. Learning to accept yourself needs a long time, but you can do it with the right steps.
Steps to Accept Yourself
Psychotherapists have unique ways to help their clients to accept themselves, but their strategies share common grounds. Here are things you can do to accept yourself:
- Start with a strong intention
This sounds simple, but intention determines you will be successful or not. Having an intention means you are ready to reevaluate your mind, view, even prejudice to get better. Knowing that self-acceptance can cure is the first stage of positive chain reaction.
- List your strength
You must know your potentials to start a self-accepting journey. Make a list of things that you are proud of (don’t be bashful about them!). For example, you may be generous when helping people. You listen well when others share their problems. You always make the best of all situations. Make this list on a paper for more realistic “punch.”
- Choose your friends and families
Some friends and even family members can become toxic if they keep making you feel low and unworthy. Think about people in your life, especially those that surround you. Do they keep bringing down? Do they lift your spirit when you feel negative? Once you pinpoint the negative people, you can reduce the meeting frequency.
- Get closer with a support system
Once you identify the positive people, get closer to them. Be more open and share your stories with the most reliable one(s). Ask for their supports and nurture good relationships with them in return. These people will become your beacons and supporters for a long time.
- Reconcile with your mistakes and lost dreams
Many people cannot accept themselves because they still pine to past mistakes and lost dreams. Try to slowly release these past burdens. Think all the good things that happen in your present life, and how they matter more than woes from the past. Say to yourself: “that was the best thing I could do with my limited information, views, and experiences.”
- Get involved with charitable or social activities
Shifting your perspectives is great to feel more positive and not blaming self. Charity or social activities will “force” you to see other realities, which may be more unpleasant than yours. You can also experience joy from giving and taking care of others. Find manageable activities near your house, such as shelter volunteering, blood drive, homeless service, and such.
- Take care of yourself
The lack of self-acceptance can lead to harmful behaviors toward self. For example, you may not eat and sleep well, or abuse drugs and alcohol. Taking care of yourself is a way to feel better, which makes accepting yourself easier. Continue a hobby you neglect, such as playing instruments, gardening, or painting. Read, listen to music, do yoga, and play with pets to feel better.
- Channel your best inner self
Visualize your most ideal self. Is he a generous but wise person? Does she have more confidence and assertiveness than you right now? Now, imagine that ideal person talks to you. What he/she will say so you can follow the step? This mental exercise is great to create an inner perspective, guiding you to become a better person and stop blaming yourself.
Constantly blaming and criticizing yourself is exhausting, frustrating, and sink you to the deepest despair.
Learning how to accept yourself is the best way to live your fullest, with all your potentials. Combine internal and external supports to finally free your mind from vicious blame and critics.