Accepting yourself is the first step to building self-esteem. It’s not possible to feel positive about yourself if you can’t even accept yourself. A lack of forgiveness in self is the birth place of autoimmune conditions. Self-acceptance is the level of happiness and satisfaction you have with yourself.
As a holistic doctor, I believe that self-acceptance is necessary before change can occur. If you’re feeling stuck, a lack of self-acceptance may be the first challenge to overcome. Accepting your flaws allows you to change them. We all have flaws as human beings regardless of the person or pursuit of perfection. The key is forgiving ourselves for all of our imperfections.
Learn to accept yourself and enjoy the person you are:
1.)Let go of your parents’ behavior. Some parents are better than others. Overly critical parents don’t have bad children, they’re just not good parents. There’s little to be gained by giving your parents a hard time for their inadequacies. The solution is to forgive them and release yourself from the past. They truly have done the best they can do with what they have at the time. Even if they were abusive, they were acting out of their own hurts and pains from their pasts. This can be a big pill to swallow, yet it does not good to hold onto this pain and suffering of the past.
- Avoid judging yourself based on the parenting you received. It’s a reflection of them, not you. Consider yourself a miracle for being able to live through that experience and still be standing. Having grace with yourself and the process is key to your healing.
2.)Volunteer. There’s no easier way to convince yourself that you’re worthy of self-acceptance than to volunteer your time with someone that needs you. Prove to yourself how great a person you are. There are countless opportunities to volunteer in your community. Volunteering in soup kitchens, or battered women’s shelters can truly bring more humility to your heart recognizing that everyone goes through difficult times. It brings up a sense of belonging and recognizing that you are not alone.
3.)Be proud of your strengths. It’s hard to accept yourself if you’re constantly reminding yourself of your weaknesses. Make a long list that you can return to in the future. List every positive thing you can about yourself. Even the smallest positive attribute is worthy of mention. Even asking friends and family about what positive attributes can help to reinforce the positive things about yourself.
- “I am a good person.”
- “I can play the banjo.”
- “I am loyal to my friends.”
4.)Forgive yourself. If you’re harping on your past transgressions, self-acceptance will be in short-supply. Chalk your bad choices up to experience and move on.This can be easier said rather than done. Looking at each choice, and reflecting on what you have learned from the experience can be helpful to being able to move on from the situations at hand.
- Everyone does the best they can with what they have at the time. There will always be moments where you’re less capable than others. You can do better next time. You can learn from your mistakes. You can always accept what you have thought, felt, and done in this situation which can bring you closer to healing.
5.)Let go of goals that will never be reached. If you’re 57 years old, your childhood dream of becoming an astronaut is over. It is. It’s difficult to accept yourself when the life your living is very different from your original plans. There’s a time to let it all go. Let the present moment be that time. Make new plans that are plausible and that excite you. I am not saying that you want to default to being realistic, as you may be invited to go on a spaceship ride, nonetheless it is important to detach from the outcome. Once you detach from the outcome, then you do not have expectations to get disappointed.
6.)Eliminate negative self-talk. You can’t accept yourself if you’re constantly insulting yourself. Give yourself a fighting chance to reach a state of self-acceptance. Speak to yourself the way you would a good friend. Be a friend to yourself. Be kind. Say kind things to yourself, as well as your inner child. Be loving. Be sweet. And especially, be present to what you are saying to yourself that is negative. Negative self talk can deteriorate the self esteem.
7.)Be authentic. When you put on a persona for the world, you’re not giving others the opportunity to accept you as you are. How will you be able to accept yourself? When you’re authentic, the love you receive feels infinitely more meaningful. Living honestly is scary, but surprisingly easy. People admire and respect those with the strength to be authentic. Being authentic, being messy, and be brave are all concepts that were taught by Brene Brown, who taught us how to live bravely and authentically in the world.
8.)Recognize your worth to the world. Fortunately, this isn’t something that must be earned. You’re born with it. How much could you contribute if you applied yourself? The world needs you. What could say more of your inherent value than the fact that the world needs you? Knowing your worth is key so that you do not do things that are below you such as taking a job that is less than what you deserve or settling for a relationship that is abusive. Knowing your worth, and setting healthy boundaries for yourself can help you minimize suffering in this world.
9.)Forgive others. The ability to forgive others is proportional to your ability to forgive yourself. Practice forgiving others and you’ll find self-acceptance comes much easier. Forgiving yourself involves accepting your flaws, and accepting these as a gift. This includes previous mistakes in the past. As long as you learn something from the mistakes, then the mistakes you have made we’re not in vain.
Self-acceptance is fancy word for tolerating yourself. No one is perfect. You accept your friends and family even though they’re all flawed in a unique way. Give yourself the same latitude. Focus on your positive traits and forgive yourself for your flaws and mistakes. Accept yourself as you are, if you are struggling with these concepts or have developed an autoimmune condition as a result please feel free to reach out for a mind-body consultation.