Too hard to love and accept yourself?
“In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you “
Happiness and appreciation of one's self go hand in hand. Your degree of acceptance ultimately defines your level of satisfaction. Perhaps promoting self-acceptance more than anything else demands that we establish more self-compassion.
What do we understand by self-acceptance?
It is the satisfaction or fulfillment of a person with oneself and, at the same time, it is thought to be important for good mental health. It encompasses self-understanding, a practical (knowledge of one's strengths and limitations. We must take into consideration that self-acceptance is unconditional and exempt of any form of qualification.
We can become aware of our weaknesses and other limitations but this acknowledgment in no particular way interferes with our ability to fully accept ourselves We often question that why a need for self-love or acceptance is there and why is it important?Existing literature on individual variations in unconditional self-acceptance suggests that low unconditional self-acceptance is harmful to the well-being and may contribute to mental health problems and mental illnesses in certain instances. Unconditional acceptance of oneself facilitates personal adaptation and well-being. (Flett et al., 2003). Also, if we do not accept ourselves the way we are, we will never be able to live an authentic life. Accepting yourself also means that we are more aware of our true needs and values and less prone to negative criticism.
In usually find ourselves in a situation where we find acceptance so difficult. We believe that it is something we can never achieve. One of the reasons we find it hard is because we are trying to accept things forcibly and we do not understand its true meaning. Secondly, we tend to bring in our stereotypical thinking that whatever comes to us is to be liked and acknowledged. But the true meaning is, that you do not have to like everyone and everything. It means you accept your dislikes for some people and things too. To base your self-worth on qualities such as appearance and achievement is not a wise decision. They do not define you.
Since I don't agree that self-acceptance is about appreciating any simple Degree of physical beauty, superior intelligence or some other criteria being achieved. Let's get away from the subjective attitude.
6 Ways of accepting yourself
i. Accept that everybody makes mistakes. It is a part of learning and the main way we grow.
ii. Accept that the past can’t be undone. Make peace with your past. Because that was then and this is now.
iii. Accept that all people don’t think alike, often their opinion will be hurtful and demeaning. However, they are not aware of your story, so focus on your life.
iv. Accepting your body the way it is, as it provides you with life. Choose to nourish it, love it and nuture it. Every human body is unique in its own way.
v. Accept that your life is your own responsibility and body else’s. Your thoughts, actions and opinions and be aware of the consequences of those.
vi. Accept the point where you are in the journey of life right now. Be patient, kind and understanding to yourself.
vii. You are your own thoughts. You can always enhance, but first you have to get serious about the core self. There are benefits and drawbacks, truth and false convictions.
Recently, while reading the book “Life of A Monk” authored beautifully by the talented Jay Shetty, I came across a few lines that I believe every individual will resonate with. In the first chapter named IDENTITY- I AM WHO I AM”, Jay mentions in a very simple way that “We try to live up to what we think others think of us, even at the expense of our own values. We live in a perception of a perception of ourselves, and we’ve lost our real selves as a result.”
Just take a moment to realise how true these words our, that we lose ourselves in order to gain others. To gain their acceptance we alter ourselves. But in the end it is not a reflection of who we truly are. Because in this whole process, we lose our real identity. Without self-acceptance we put ourselves in a situation where in we make our psychological well-being suffer. When we confront things, and begin to have a greater sense of acceptance, we tend to embrace the changes and not try to avoid them. As a natural human tendency, we always try to run away from problems rather than to accept and work to resolve them. When finally you begin to accept and take charge that this is you, and this is your life, you will grow.
“ We always Criticize ourselves every now and then, and probably it hasn’t worked, Try approving of yourself once and see what happens!”
Louise Hay6 Thoughts that can help increase acceptance
i. It feels to be liked and accepted by others, but I accept myself even when I face criticism.
ii. My performance does not ascertain my worth
iii. Success feels better than failure, neither of it makes me a better or worse as a person.
iv. I may depend on others for practical things, but I Don’t have to depend emotionally on others for acceptance.
v. I can recognise my mistakes, rectify them, hold myself accountable, without letting myself off
vi. I am imperfect and with flaws like the rest of the world and I’m ok with it.
It looks like a luxury to love yourself when it is a basic need.
Self-love is an unusual phenomenon of critical significance, with a need for greater awareness of the term.
Maslow's model suggests self-actualized people as having higher levels of self-acceptance than the ordinary individual. It suggests acceptance of the light and dark aspects of an individual. We often put ourselves in a competitive situation and in a constant pressure to perform well. And when we fail, we criticise rather than to accept our mistakes and learn from them. This involves a lot of self-criticisms and an adrenaline rush to be perfect in everything we do. Previous studies have reflected how perfectionists are at a risk to develop mental as well as physical illnesses.
To love yourself, you do not have to be the ideal self. You just have to Be kind to yourself.
3 daily prescription for self-love
a. Set boundaries
When you set limits or say no to work, love, or things that physically, emotionally and psychologically deprive or hurt you, or improperly convey who you are, you will love yourself more.
b. Forgive yourself
The human beings can be so harsh on ourselves. The downside to taking responsibility for our acts is too much to blame ourselves for learning and increasing errors. When you make a mistake, practise being less harsh on yourself. Know, if you have gained and evolved from your shortcomings, there are no failures; there are just valuable lessons.
c. Set boundaries
When we have a purpose in life, your level of acceptance and love for self-increases. The purpose does not have to be always clear and well defined. Whatever your purpose is, the decisions you make will help you achieve your goal. And as you see yourself progressing towards it, you will feel happy. When you practice these on a daily basis, you will begin to notice changes gradually. The cognitive shift is important and it may take a while.The road to self-love and acceptance will not be easy, but it will be worth it. Better things take time. A lot of factors act as hurdles in the way, for some being our past experiences, our lifestyle, the environment we live in, the social circle we belong to and other external stimuli. All these factors might make it seem difficult to reach to our destination but it is not impossible. As you gradually progress by practicing the affirmations and other ways mentioned above, you can progress to the level of unconditional self-acceptance. One of the beautiful gift that you can give to yourself is to accept yourself the way you are. To love yourself enough and be happy with your own self. You are unique and don’t let that thought go away even for a minute.
Beyonce has rightly mentioned “Be healthy and take care of yourself, but be happy with the beautiful things that make you, YOU!
Leave a Reply