Sometimes you might hear the term self-acceptance and roll your eyes: “How can I improve if I accept myself for who I am? Won’t I become lazy or stagnant?” The idea of self-acceptance isn’t about not growing or changing. It’s about recognizing that you are enough, no matter where you are on your journey. It’s about loving and appreciating yourself for what you offer the world around you. Spend some time highlighting your best traits— it’s a great way to start developing self-acceptance.
EditCelebrating Your Strengths
- Make a list of what makes you awesome. Grab a sheet of paper and list out your best traits. Don’t be shy about it. Write down strengths you admire about yourself as well as compliments you’ve gotten from others.
- For instance, you may include things like “I’m really organized” or “People always say I’m a good speaker.”
- You can keep your list of strengths in a book and then refer to it whenever you need a confidence boost. If you ever get thank you notes or positive feedback from other people, put them in the book to help remind you that others appreciate you for who you are.
- If you need help determining your strengths, try taking the character assessment at https://www.viacharacter.org/www/.
- Ask for positive feedback from those around you. By default, you’re never able to see yourself through the same lens that others see you. So, reach out to a few close friends or family members and ask them to identify strengths they see in you.
- You might hear the usual compliments, but someone may also identify an area that you don’t usually see as a strength. This may sound like “I think you are always there for people when they need you” or “I never hear you gossip and that’s a good thing.”
- Add these new strengths to your preexisting list of good traits.
- Recite positive affirmations about your best traits daily. Use the list you’ve built in a powerful affirmation session each day. Go down the list and read aloud each of the traits, adding “I am” in front of each one.
- For instance, you might say “I am really organized” and “I am always there when people need me.”
- Upon completing your affirmations, you are likely to feel more confident and empowered about who you are as a person.
- Exercise your strengths in the world around you. Take on challenges that play to your strengths. This helps you build a “can do” attitude. Over time, you’ll start to define yourself less by your mistakes and more by your talents and accomplishments.
- If you’re super creative, sign up to help make costumes for the school play. If you’re a gifted speaker, join a Toastmasters group to further develop the skill.
- Use your good qualities to help others. Another way to celebrate your strengths is by using them to make other’s lives easier. This can translate to a volunteer commitment in your community or simply pitching in when others need help.
- If you’re really compassionate, try dedicating some time at a local homeless or animal shelter. If you’re great with kids, offer to babysit your neighbor’s kids so the couple can have a date night.
EditDealing with Shortcomings
- Take ownership for your shortcomings. You may exert a lot of energy wrestling with your shortcomings, but this only keeps you stuck. Take a moment to label what the issue is and sit with the knowledge that your reaction to this issue is within your power.
- For instance, if you feel defeated about your low income, admit that aloud. Say, “My salary affects the way I view myself. I feel helpless.”
- Now, empower yourself by imagining that only you can do anything about the situation. You might say something like, “I am the only one who can improve my income.”
- Remember that you don’t have to be perfect. Learn to accept your weaknesses and shortcomings if they’re things you can’t change, and find ways to work around them.
- Set realistic goals if you want to change. Acceptance is all about empowerment, so take a look at your shortcomings and decide if you want to work on them or just leave them be. If you want to change, devise a plan using SMART goals to improve in these areas.
- Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Avoid vague goals like “I want to be happy.” A good SMART goal might be: “I want to go up for a promotion to improve my income or apply for higher-paying jobs. I will do this by the end of the month.”
- Try not to overwhelm yourself— only take on one shortcoming (like income) at a time.
- Some shortcomings can’t be changed, and that’s OK. For example, if you think your height is a shortcoming, that’s something you can’t change. Instead, work on accepting that part of yourself and turning it into a positive.
- Challenge negative self-talk. Notice negative or self-defeating language and start to question its validity. Ask yourself questions: Is there evidence to prove this claim? Does that statement make you feel bad about yourself? Is there another more empowering way to look at the situation?
- For example, you may think “I will never get better at the guitar.” Change the self-talk to something more realistic, like “If I practiced more, I can get better at the guitar. But, right now, my guitar-playing is not a top priority.”
- This revision helps you view situations more realistically and from a position of self-acceptance (i.e., “I’m okay with not being a great guitar player because it’s not my top focus” BUT “I could be better, if I wanted to.”).
- Drop the comparisons and see that you are unique. Become more aware of when you are comparing yourself to others. When this happens, go back to your strengths list and remind yourself of all the ways you are uniquely gifted.
- Typically, you are making comparisons when negative self-talk happens. For example, maybe you criticized your own guitar-playing after hearing a friend play.
- Remove toxic or negative people from your life. Spot the negative, critical, and judgmental people in your life and start spending less time with them. These are the people who make a lot of comparisons, gossip, or focus on the negative aspects of situations.
- Others can get inside your head and undermine your ability to be self-accepting. Getting distance from negative people can help improve your self-acceptance.
- Forgive yourself for being human. Replace self-criticism with self-compassion and say “sorry” to yourself for being judgmental or demeaning. This might sound like, “I’m sorry for beating myself up when I make mistakes. I am only human and all humans are imperfect in some way.”
- Do this every time you find yourself in a cycle of criticism or disapproval.
- Generate loving-kindness towards yourself. Aim to accept and love yourself as you would a close friend. Instead of being hard on yourself when you make a mistake, caress your arm or shoulders as if to say “There, there, don’t be sad.”
- You might even hug yourself if this feels comfortable, or notice when you need a hug and ask someone else to give you one.
- Adopt a self-care routine. Regularly engage in activities that affirm your self-worth. Feeding yourself healthy foods, exercising, and going to bed early are all ways to remind yourself that you are good and worthy of nurturing.
- Self-care can be anything constructive that makes you feel good, such as soaking in a tub of bath salts, listening to your favorite album, coloring, going for a run, performing self-massage, or cuddling with your dog.
- You can even use your self-care routine to counter any negative talk you’ve had about yourself. For example, if you typically criticize your facial skin, spend extra time applying a face mask and caring for this part of you.
- Find others who lift you up. Showing compassion for yourself means building relationships with positive, uplifting people who make you feel good about who you are. Identify those people in your life and set an intention to be with them more often.
- If you don’t have many loved ones who are accepting of you, consider joining a support group or a club relating to a hobby or interest.
- Make Your Parents Love You for Who You Are
- Learn to Accept Yourself
- Overcome Guilt by Taking Responsibility
- Accept Being Tall As a Teen Girl
- Make Your Personality Stand Out
- Accept Being Unattractive
EditSources and Citations
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