Self-acceptance is the fundamental of personal growth that I feel the least comfortable with. It is the one that I’m still trying to figure out, all the time. Every time I think I’ve finally laid down my flaws and imperfections, something will happen to remind me that no, actually, I still have a deep pit of self-loathing inside of me.
Rather than act as if I have this shit figured out, I’m going to share some ideas and suggestions that I’m either currently trying, or plan on trying. Of course, of all the fundamentals, this one is probably the most personal, so really, the only way to figure out how to accept yourself is through a deeply personal process where, once again, you spend a lot of time alone. Basically, the moral of all these fundamentals, is go be
A L O N E
like Squidward in the episode of Spongebob Squarepants when he finally gets to be by himself, away from Spongebob and Patrick.
Some other strategies to try:
1.Don’t wait until you accept yourself to care for yourself
If you’re anything like me, you think you have to have X before you can give yourself Y. The way we feel about ourselves, though, is related to how we treat ourselves.
Your actions tend to chisel away at the raw marble of your persona, carving into being the self you experience from day to day. It doesn’t feel that way, though. To conscious experience, it feels as if you were the one holding the chisel, motivated by existing thoughts and beliefs. It feels as though the person wearing your pants performed actions consistent with your established character, yet there is plenty of research suggesting otherwise. The things you do often create the things you believe. – David McRaney
So, if you aren’t taking care of yourself because you don’t accept yourself and you think you don’t deserve care, well then, you’re likely always going to feel that way. If you take care of yourself, you are showing yourself that you do, in fact, deserve it. You may not cultivate self-acceptance right away, but the more you act with compassion toward yourself, the more you will start to believe that you deserve your own love, care, and acceptance.
2.Take your interests, passions, and pursuits seriously
When you believe that what you’re doing is worthwhile, even if just for your own enjoyment or sense of accomplishment, then you will reap more benefits from it. For example, if you engage in, let’s say, oh I don’t know, writing for a hobby, but you think it’s “just a silly hobby,” and treat it as such, then you are, in effect, not accepting the validity of your own interests, and not accepting your pursuit of it.
Taking your interests and pursuits seriously doesn’t mean that they can’t still be fun, it just means that you are acknowledging the impact that these interests and pursuits have on your own life and self-esteem.
3.Take your problems seriously
In the same vein as above, if you are experiencing a hardship, but you attribute it to being just a “silly problem,” then you’re not accepting the impact that it’s having on you, and you won’t be as willing or as determined to take the steps to heal, or remedy the problem. When you can accept that you’re suffering or hurting, then you can accept the treatments or help you might need to recover.
4.Take ownership of the ideal
You have the power to define what’s ideal. The world, society, or your culture tells you that a particular way of being is ideal, but ultimately, you get to decide if that’s true for you or not.
I really struggled with this post. I had a whole different draft ready to go on Saturday, and then I recoiled in fear because it was way too personal. I don’t feel as though I have any grounds to write with any authority on self-acceptance, as I’m still struggling, so I want to reiterate that these are suggestions that I’m still trying. Please tell me your own.
How do you approach self-acceptance? Did you grow up being taught to accept yourself, and so it comes naturally to you, or is it something that you have had to cultivate? If so, how did you do it?