How many times a day do you do things seeking approval? Too many? Keep on reading.
When we are looking to be validated by others, we may say and do things to fit in and be accepted. We pretend to be someone we’re not, trading our identity, our essence, our unique blueprint in exchange for acceptance and validation from others.
Many of us are well aware that we ‘should’ be ourselves but bridging the gap between theory and practice isn’t that easy.
Why is self-acceptance difficult?
Well, there are many reasons for that, the main one being: FEAR. Fear of rejection, fear of being alone and the deepest of all, the fear of not being loved for who we truly are, etc.
The last one is especially difficult to overcome. Indeed, it’s one thing to be rejected for someone we’re not, but it’s another when we’re authentic and true to ourselves.
To avoid getting hurt and protect ourselves, we wear different masks, depending on our role, the people we are with and the situation.
We don’t want to get hurt; that’s normal, that’s human. However, looking at the same situation from another perspective: what happens when we are loved and appreciated for someone we’re not? Does it hurt less? Is it worth it?
What self-acceptance really means
Self-acceptance isn’t only about accepting the beautiful aspects of what makes you a nice and lovable person. Self-acceptance means embracing yourself as a whole; including all the facets of your personality that you don’t like so much about yourself: the good, the bad and the ugly.
- Your greed when you feel insecure and need to support yourself first;
- Your sensitivity that makes you cry in front of anyone, your boss included;
- The way you may say stupid things when you’re nervous amongst strangers;
Perfection doesn’t exist. In fact, there is no light without darkness, no cold without warmth, no strengths without weaknesses.
How to practice and develop self-acceptance
There will always be two sides of a coin, so why don’t you simply start accepting the cards you’ve been dealt instead of beating yourself up?
Here are a few things you can do to get started:
1. Be kind to yourself
We know that we should be kind to others, but we’re usually way less kind to ourselves. Treat yourself with a gift, a yummy meal and positive self-talk. What you do for yourself is just as important as what you think about yourself; be mindful.
2. Practice self-compassion
Acknowledge that being imperfect is part of being human. There will be bumps on the road and you’ll experience difficult moments, but no matter what you do, you always do your best.
3. Forgive yourself
You’ve made mistakes and you will probably make more. Is it worth it to dwell so much on your past? Focus instead on the lessons you’ve learnt and try to be better next time.
4. Build upon your strengths
You have some qualities that, when taken altogether make you unique and beautiful. Highlight those qualities by using them as often as possible (being helpful, open-minded, friendly, caring, etc.).
5. Accept your flaws
Your flaws, just like your qualities, are part of who you are. Of course, you can improve to some extent but don’t fight against what you can’t change. Instead, acknowledge that they’re there and embrace them.
Self-acceptance isn’t a skill that you learn overnight; it’s a practice you acquire over time. Be mindful and practice everyday so you’ll feel more serene over time, become aware of your own abilities and skills, and know you can support yourself.