the beauty of self-acceptance
Self-acceptance or embracing who you are is crucial to peace of mind and happiness. But loving yourself all the time is a challenge.
It’s easy to find fault with yourself and believe the inner critic that you’ll never measure up or be ‘good enough”... It’s the voice that berates you for not being better than you actually are. No one wants to doubt themselves but self-acceptance can be fleeting. Quiet confidence on a good day is easy, but on a day when you’ve made a mistake or two, don’t like how you look or feel miserable, the way you see yourself can shift toward the unhelpful.
So why is it so common to struggle with self-acceptance?
There are many reasons. Parents or caregivers may have dealt with you in childhood with hurtful and critical messages rather than with love and acceptance. Or maybe you experienced abuse, disapproval, or bullying at home, in school or online. Or maybe unrealistic messages from the media have had an impact. The consequence of such experiences is that they can lead to painful feelings of inadequacy.
We know negative self-talk is counter intuitive to success but how can we switch the dial from those messages?
Self-acceptance is something that can be nurtured and strengthened with the right techniques. The messages you give yourself are like tuning into a radio. At any time, there are stations playing relaxed, loving messages and others are critical. The good news is that you can choose what you listen to. Even the negative messages can be turned from unhelpful static into easier, positive listening. Notice the impact of the following critical messages and consider how differently they sound when adjusted.
- "I am not a good enough mother" can become "What's the best I can do for my kids today?"
- "I'm lazy and don't have the energy to exercise" can become "I can build up my fitness by going for a short walk."
Clinical psychologists are specially trained in cognitive behaviour techniques (CBT) that identify unhelpful thoughts and give you the skills to reframe them into more realistic, self-accepting statements. Think of self-acceptance as a skill that takes practice rather than a trait that you do or don’t possess. Learning how to embrace your true self – the good, the bad and the quirky – is not about complacency or giving up hopes of self-improvement but focusing on what you can control and setting realistic goals.
Want to feel good about yourself? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Quiet your inner critic. Notice when you're sending yourself mean messages and try turning your ‘radio dial’ to a more loving frequency. Create a realistic mantra such as, “I am only human and I am doing the best that I can.”
Celebrate your strengths. Write a list of your strengths and achievements, including any hardships you’ve overcome.
- Forgive yourself. Past regrets can prevent you from practicing self-acceptance. Forgive yourself, let go of any shame or humiliation, accept that you can’t change the past and move on.
The key to self-compassion is accepting that your mistakes and imperfections are simply reminders that you are human. Do you struggle with letting go of the past? Do you want to feel good about yourself? For help to guide you toward self-acceptance for life. Contact Us
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by Lydia Rigano