How to find self-acceptance and live with intention
It’s the first day of spring! Whether that means the start of warmer weather for you or a fresh start for yourself - this is an awesome time of year (because it means more sun and less snow!). So, while the sun starts warming us up, why not try to warm yourself up too. I don’t mean in the heat sense, but more in the sense of self-love. We can be prone to criticism sometimes but by learning to become more accepting of ourselves we might be able to learn how to ‘warm up’ to who we really are. So, this blog post will outline how self-acceptance can be hard to learn but it also really important in learning to love ourselves.
Self-acceptance is a crucial part in being able to learn how to love yourself. Sometimes we struggle with who we are compared to who we want to be or even who others want us to be. But total self-acceptance can help you be free to be whoever it is that you are.
Learning self-acceptance can be a lifelong journey but as people, we change as we get older and have more experiences and we have to learn to accept not only our past but who we are becoming.
Sometimes accepting ourselves isn’t even something we really think about - but it is important in learning to be happier and more comfortable with who we are. Often outside criticisms can lead to a lack of self-acceptance
Self-acceptance isn’t only about accepting ourselves during our highest moments - our accomplishments and successes. Self-acceptance is also about learning to accept and be okay with our faults and with ourselves when things don’t go as planned.
Self-acceptance helps to construct our thoughts and feelings of not only ourselves but of the world that we engage ourselves in too. Being able to accept ourselves, we will be more resilient to problems in our lives as they arise.
Part of self-acceptance is learning to be vulnerable with ourselves. I wrote a blog post on Brene Brown’s take on vulnerability a few weeks ago. Being vulnerable can feel uncomfortable, but being vulnerable enough to accept yourself fully for who you are can help you learn more about yourself and how to love yourself.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to get to know who you really are. Not who you think you should be. None of us are perfect. Be compassionate to who you are and allow yourself to just be.
Similarly to Brene’s point that we only accept love when we believe we deserve it deserve - Robert Holden notes in Happiness Now! that:
Being mindful is a big part of being able to fully accept yourself too. Try to be mindful of how you’re feeling and don’t be upset with yourself if you’re reacting or feeling differently than you think you should. Sometimes emotions can feel irrational, but that’s okay - we’re only human.
Everyone has things we like or don’t like about ourselves. The trick is learning to be okay with the things we don’t like - or being mindful enough to notice the things we don’t like and trying to make a change for the better. For example, if you applied for an award that you were a shoo-in for and you absolutely knew you’d get - only for it to be awarded for someone else.
Our first reaction might be to be angry with ourselves and that’s okay, make sure you notice that. But the thing we need to be mindful of if this happens is how we talk to ourselves. It’s okay to be angry that you lost - that’s natural. But you need to be careful not to blame yourself too much. If you really did believe you could do well, don’t lessen the weight of your own success.
Now, the flip side of that is what if you did something that made you deserve to lose or not succeed in some way? Acknowledge that, but don’t beat yourself up about it. Try to think of what you can do to improve, not what you did wrong.
Remind yourself of how hard you worked and focus on what you did do. Talking negatively to ourselves doesn’t do anything other than break ourselves down. You’re the only one who hears the voice in your head anyway - why not make it a positive one?
A big part of that positive thought process is being intentional with you how you’re thinking. Intentionally build yourself up and soon enough it can become more like second nature to you. Being intentional with your thoughts can be a game-changer and can help us become more forgiving of our mistakes while celebrating our successes and holding ourselves accountable for our actions too.
Also, try to make sure that everything you do is something you like, or something you think will be good for you. Be intentional with what you do. If you know going somewhere will make you feel uncomfortable, don’t go. If you’re feeling stressed out and anxious, take some time for yourself and make sure you’re intentionally doing things you know will help you feel better.
Sometimes we go into auto-pilot and just go through the motions of the day without really considering what we’re doing. I do this a lot with Netflix and then realize half of my day is gone and I really don’t feel much better. Instead, I now try to choose reading a good book - which I know will help me get into a better mood. Now, reading a book doesn’t have to be it for you. Maybe the thing that really does help you feel better is watching Netflix. But - if it’s not just make sure you notice that and try to do something that does.
These intentional actions can help us feel better about ourselves and what we do everyday. Putting ourselves into situations where we don’t enjoy what we’re doing can actually bring us down and when that happens it can be hard to be happy with ourselves.
Sometimes things are unavoidable, I know that. But for the things you can control - try your best to do what’s best for you.