By Barbara @ Follow Your Own Rhythm
What is self-acceptance anyway?
Well, the opposite of acceptance is resistance. When you don’t accept yourself the way you are, you are in resistance to who you are.
Even though you might not like certain qualities about yourself and are working on improving yourself, it's important to recognize that right now, in this moment, you are the way you are just the way you are. If you don’t accept that, you’re in resistance to who you are which therefore creates inner conflict.
As Eckhart Tolle explains, when you’re in resistance to who you are and to what is happening, you’re resisting the present moment, the “as-is.”
So in order to accept the present moment, you have to surrender to the present moment.
“Surrender, one could say, is the inner transition from resistance to acceptance, from “no” to “yes.” When you surrender, your sense of self shifts from being identified with a reaction or mental judgment to being the space around the reaction or judgment. It is a shift from identification with form – the thoughts or the emotion – to being and recognizing yourself as that which has no form – spacious awareness.” -Eckhart Tolle
When you surrender to something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are okay with how it is or that you enjoy it or like it. It just means that you aren’t in conflict with it. You simply see it and accept it for what it is.
Therefore, the key to self-acceptance is to see yourself for who and what you are in this moment.
Maybe you’re not everything you want to be, but right now you are who you are. Accept that. Accept the bad, the good, and everything in between. Stop fighting who you are. Just let yourself be.
Once you stop fighting with yourself, you can look at yourself from a higher, more clear and conscious perspective. You can see what needs to change, what needs to be embraced, and what needs to be truly accepted.
You’ll never be able to accept and love yourself if you’re sabotaging yourself, in conflict with yourself, and if you resent yourself. You have to develop a friendly relationship with yourself so you can work with yourself to come up with solutions.
Imagine being at work having a co-worker that you dislike. Your boss asks the two of you to do a task. Do you think it’s going to be easier to accomplish this task if you work against each other or if you work together? Do you think you’re going to feel better about the task if you resist her or work alongside her?
It's the same thing with creating positive change within yourself.
Positive change happens when you have a positive mindset. You can’t start to change yourself if your relationship with yourself is based in hate, anger, and shame. You have to love and accept yourself first so that you can create positive and lasting change.
So here are 3 steps you can take to accept yourself:
STEP 1: Get to know ALL parts of yourself.
You can’t accept yourself if you don’t know yourself. Get to know the good, the bad, the pretty, the ugly, your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, quirks and personality traits, tendencies and patterns, what you’re good at and not so good at, etc.
In addition, become aware of how you act in certain situations, around certain people or in certain environments.
Become aware of your fears, insecurities, pains, and triggers.
Become aware of who you are underneath your mental programming and learned behaviors. Get super familiar with who you are on all levels.
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STEP 2: Once you’ve gotten to know yourself, make a list of everything that you have a hard time accepting about yourself.
These can be personality traits, tendencies, behaviors, physical characteristics, habits, etc. What are those things you “hate” about yourself, are ashamed of, hide from the world, wish were different or feel could be improved?
These are the things you have to learn to accept about yourself despite them being something you dislike. It’s not enough to just accept your good side, you have to surrender to the bad too.
STEP 3: Either make improvements or make peace with what you can't change
With regards to the qualities you dislike about yourself, see them for what they are. Accept that they exist. Don’t resist them because that will just make things worse.
And then, consciously acknowledge the fact that these qualities do not define who you are.
Next, make note of the qualities that you can change and improve, and start working on it right away.
As for the things you cannot change, such as certain quirks, personality traits, dispositions, or physical characteristics, instead of seeing them as bad or negative, look at them from a more positive perspective by completing the following exercise.
Exercise: List all of the inherent traits (can't change) that you dislike about yourself.
Next, either name 3 positives about them, 3 ways that they have benefited you in your life, 3 ways that it could be worse, or 3 lessons that they can teach you. You can also name one thing from each category.
The point is to see these traits as if they serve a purpose in your life (because they do!)
For example, if you have a hard time accepting your physical body because you’re too tall or too short, try to see how being tall or short has helped you in your life. What are the benefits of being tall or short? What lesson can being really tall or short teach you or how can it help you grow as a person? Maybe it can help you embrace your inner beauty more, teach you about true self-love and acceptance, teach you to overcome your fear of what other people think of you, or help you overcome your insecurity and become more confident and strong.
Try to give these qualities a positive connotation and a sense of purpose so that you start to view them from a more loving perspective. Once you see them in a more positive way, it’ll be that much easier to accept them.
At the end of the day, none of these traits, qualities, and characteristics define who you are deep at your core.
These parts of you are only a fraction of the whole truth.
So try to get in touch with your true, essential nature, and reconnect to your authentic self. When you're connected to your truth, self-acceptance will come naturally.
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