When you accept yourself with all of your flaws and unique talents, the world seems to become a more accommodating place. You’ll find that some of the causes of your stress disappear and you can gain more joy on a daily basis.
Accepting yourself completely entails courage, wisdom and compassion. If you’re plagued by negative emotions such as anxiety, jealousy, shame, anger, envy, or guilt, these may be signs of low self-esteem. To counter this, you can learn radical self-acceptance.
If you find yourself equating your worth with your achievements, love life or social status, what happens if these are someday diminished? After all, these are temporary conditions. Life has its ups and downs. Practicing self-acceptance will help prevent your self-worth from hinging on your current situation.
How Low Self-Esteem Can Hinder Self-Acceptance
If you have low self-esteem, you can get mired in refusal to accept your own uniqueness and capability for transformation. You may be a perfectionist, and when things don’t go well, you often tell yourself that you’re not good enough. It becomes a vicious cycle of negative self-fulfilling prophecies.
So what can you do to turn this around?
Suppose you start to appreciate the world around you. Then you’re aware of your place. You realize that just as others are important to your well-being, your existence supports others, too. Since appreciation is a prerequisite for self-esteem, you’re now well on your way to self-acceptance.
How to Develop Self-Acceptance
To develop self-acceptance, you must believe in your intrinsic worth and uniqueness. There’s no one else in the world quite like you and you’re constantly changing and developing. Your value cannot be measured by how others perceive you.
You’re also aware of the fallibility of human nature. No one is perfect. Even enlightened souls such as Christ and The Buddha had to struggle to achieve their goals. Likewise, you must also work to improve yourself. Let this be your joy.
When you make a mistake, refrain from judging yourself. Resist labeling yourself as a failure or a bad person because of past errors. You wouldn’t label your child a failure or a loser because he failed a test. Be compassionate with yourself too.
Accept Your Mistakes and Move On
When you review your mistakes, you may feel remorse and disappointment, but these are healthy reactions. They’ll help you to change your behavior to something you like better.
Remorse and disappointment are different from self-condemnation, which can lead to depression, guilt and shame. These unhealthy emotions may cause you to give up or avoid facing your mistakes. Instead, look toward what you can do to change your actions next time.
Try these strategies to increase your self-acceptance:
1. Avoid excusing yourself from your mistakes. It’s okay to tell yourself that you’re human and prone to error, but if you use this to refuse to face your mistakes, you won’t grow. Instead, work on improving yourself. This will help you accept what you did but put it in the past and move on.
2. Use positive self-talk. Refrain from calling yourself names like “idiot,” “total failure” or “loser.” Get in the habit of complimenting yourself instead. Reinforce the qualities about you that you like by telling yourself things like “I can do this,” “I’m good at this,” “Forgiving others is perfectly like me,” or “I can find a solution to this challenge.”
3. Be tolerant and compassionate with yourself, just as you are with your friends. Judge your behavior, not yourself.
Following these guidelines will help you gain greater self-acceptance. It may take some practice to master these new ways of thinking about yourself, but the rewards will be worth it. Soon you’ll be enjoying life more and find it more fulfilling than you ever imagined!