Definition: Unconditional self-acceptance is the act of embracing yourself for who you are, quirks (so to speak) and all. It’s honoring your uniqueness … your humanity … your intrinsic value.
You will be in a relationship with yourself your entire life. Why make that relationship antagonistic, combative, and self-critical?
You deserve better. You deserve to be in love with yourself. Not a vain, conceited pseudo kind of love, but a wholehearted, genuinely caring love that elevates you each and every day of your life. You deserve unconditional self-acceptance.
If you want to know what you were conditioned to believe as a child, look at how you treat yourself now. –Cheri Huber
What’s Keeping You From Offering Yourself Unconditional Self-Acceptance?
Sadly, situations and circumstances from your past may have prompted you to believe that you should not accept yourself, that feeling good about yourself is wrong and inappropriate. There may be people in your life who told you that you’re not good enough and you took that message to heart. Today is a great day to rethink what you formerly held to be true. Right now is the perfect time to start looking at yourself through a far more accurate, positive lens.
Being Kind and Accepting of Yourself Does Not Turn You Into a Self-Indulgent Jerk
I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.” – Kristen Neff
I grew up secretly believing that I had to be humble, otherwise I would be considered an arrogant jerk. True humility is fine. True humility is admirable. My version of humility was a brand of self-deprecation that was more akin to self-loathing.
There Are Plenty of People in This World Who Will Knock You Down. Don’t Be One of Them.
Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship with myself. – Nathaniel Branden
Other people can be awesome, and they can be awful, and the truth is that a person who acts “awful” is not necessarily the problem: the real problem is whether you believe what they say or not.The same goes for the person who is awesome to you: it’s nice to hear nice things about yourself, but if you give too much weight to those nice things and they disappear, you’re in store for a big let down.
Your internal dialogue reveals your opinion of yourself more precisely than just about anything else.
Do you ever find that your self-talk drones on and on with one negative thought after the next? How do you feel when you’re nit-picking over everything you think is wrong with you and your life? What emotions arise when you’re criticizing your weight, your nose, your skin, your income, your social skills, your current employment situation, etc.? It’s a lousy feeling, right?
Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. – Nora Ephron
It’s time to stop feeling lousy about yourself!
One day you will come to the end of your life. How much regret will you have if you look back only to find that you treated yourself poorly most of the time?
Consider this article your wake-up call.
You Can Accept Yourself and Still Want to Grow and Improve
Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation – Michael J. Fox
Somewhere along the line, a lot of people, myself included, got stuck in the notion that self-acceptance means never changing.That can’t be further from the truth.
Self-acceptance is saying “this is who I am right here and right now and I’m fine with that.” I don’t reject myself. I don’t rebuff my current situation. I don’t hide in pretense and denial.
Self-acceptance means I hold myself in compassion as I acknowledge who I am, knowing that where I am is just the starting point of more great things coming into my life.
You don’t have to beat yourself up anymore. You don’t have to knock yourself down. If there’s something in your life that you’re unhappy with and you can change it, then put an action plan in place.
If there’s something you’re not happy with that you cannot change, it’s time to make peace with whatever you’ve been fighting. As I often tell the teens in my life, “You might not always like how the properties of gravity impact your life, but there’s no point in denying that gravity exists or wishing it would behave differently.”
How to Practice Self-Acceptance: First Realize that Accepting Yourself Isn’t Selfish
There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity. -Nathaniel Branden
When you begin to accept yourself, your self-esteem soars. When you feel good about yourself, you’re far more likely to be happier. There’s scientific evidence that people with a non-pretentious, healthy sense of self treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Hurting people hurt people.” When you don’t accept yourself, you might as well be placing daggers in your heart, metaphorically speaking, of course. Self-rejection is painful. Self-acceptance is exhilarating.
Do yourself and the world a favor: make self-acceptance a priority in your life. It’s a decision you’ll never regret!
Need a Little More Help? Self-Acceptance Exercises
If you’ve been struggling with self-acceptance for a long time, you may need a little more help to overcome the unhealthy patterns that have emerged in your life. For that reason, I’ve added a couple of self-acceptance practice exercises below to get you started. I also highly recommend Cheri Huber’s Self-Acceptance CD/Online Course and Tara Brach’s Radical Self-Acceptance.
SELF-ACCEPTANCE EXERCISE #1: OBSERVE AND REFLECT
Consider your actions carefully this week. Observe all the times when you criticize yourself or hide your true nature for fear someone else will judge you for being who you truly are.
Ask yourself these questions:
- In what areas am I most critical of myself? How does that make me feel? Does it ever help me rise or is it just keeping me down?
- In what ways am I unloving towards myself? What alternative behavior can I choose to demonstrate that I truly do love myself?
- How do I reject my true self by pretending to be someone I’m not so others will like and accept me?
- What am I doing because I think others want me to do it, not because I think it is the right thing to do for me?
Whenever you feel yourself moving away from self-acceptance, choose instead to align your actions with what you know deep-down is truly right for you.
Paying attention to your thoughts and actions takes time and practice. The benefits in terms of peace, joy, happiness, and more are well worth the effort!
SELF-ACCEPTANCE EXERCISE #2: Mantras
Whenever you notice that you’re self-critical, recite an uplifting, affirming mantra to yourself. I often use the following mantras from Louise Hay:
“I love myself just the way I am” – Louise Hay & Mona Lisa Schultz
“I love and accept myself.” – Louise Hay
Want more mantras?