How do I accept myself for who I am?
Some background, some drama
Repeat: I accept myself. I love myself. I forgive myself for what I didn’t know until I learned it. You may find yourself feeling lighter and happier after this. For many people self-acceptance is hard to come by. Self-acceptance is tenuous, a glass with tiny cracks, at best.
If you are deeply rooted in self-criticism, constantly proving yourself, getting approval from parents, bosses, colleagues, teachers, friends and strangers and even at the height of praise and approval, finding a hundred faults with yourself you need to take a reality check. It’s high time you learn to accept and love yourself, faults and all.
Do’s and Don’ts
Self-acceptance is tenuous, a glass with tiny cracks, at best. Fortunately, self-acceptance is something we can nurture. The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide and help you to accept yourself for who you are.
- Self-acceptance begins with intention. Then we are willing to shift paradigms from a world of blame, doubt and shame to a world of allowance, tolerance, acceptance and trust.
- Celebrate your strengths. Many people fail to see their strengths and cling to their feeling of lack of worth.
- Distance yourself from people who bring you down. Instead, surround yourself with people who accept you and believe in you.
- Past regrets can prevent us from practicing self-acceptance. Forgive yourself, and move on.
- Challenge your inner critic. Mistakes and imperfections are the fingerprints of humanity and opportunities for learning, healing and growth.
- Focus on self-acceptance first before self-improvement.
- Alter expectations of yourself. Unrealistic expectations set you up for disappointment.
- Practice daily affirmations which are encouraging and uplifting.
- See a therapist. A therapist can help you peel back the layers that may be preventing you from accepting yourself.
- Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.
- Don’t allow others to control you. Be in control of your emotions.
- Don’t try to avoid change. Instead, welcome positive change and be flexible.
- Don’t waste energy on things you can’t control. You can only control your attitude.
- Don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Don’t be afraid to say no or speak up when necessary.
- Don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but take calculated risks.
- Don’t dwell on the past and wish things could be different. Live for the present and plan for the future.
- Don’t resent other people’s success. Recognise that success comes with hard work.
- Don’t give up after the first failure. Keep trying until you get it right.
- Don’t fear alone time and be dependent on others for companionship and entertainment.
- Don’t expect immediate results. Instead, apply your skills and time to the best of your ability.
Self-acceptance is the ability to unconditionally value all parts of yourself. This means that you value the good parts as well as the parts that you think need improvement. The process of self-acceptance starts with acknowledging judgements against yourself and softening those judgments, so that every part of yourself can be valued. Additionally, it is important to commit yourself to shifting your focus from judgement and blame to tolerance and compassion. Only when you love and accept yourself can you accept others.