Do you accept yourself, just the way you are? Not just all the things that are great about you, but also the parts that you might think are not so great about you?
Self-acceptance means that we are willing to acknowledge that we think what we think, feel what we feel, desire what we desire, have done what we have done, and are what we are.
Take a moment and think about all the things you already accept and love about yourself. And then take a moment and write down some things that are harder to accept about yourself.
Here is a key distinction: “Accepting” does not necessarily mean that you have to “like”, “enjoy” or “condone” something. It doesn’t mean that you cannot wish for a change or an improvement. It just means that you can say: “This is an expression of me, not necessarily an expression I like or admire, but still an expression of me, at least at the time it occurred.”
And by accepting that part of ourselves, it now frees us up to change, if we so choose. There are definitely some things that are harder to accept about myself. I procrastinate, I find it hard to focus on one thing, and I can be indecisive. If I am not willing to accept these traits, then I cannot do anything about them, since I am not even willing to acknowledge that they are a fact. Once I am able to accept them, I have a choice. I can embrace them or work on changing them, if I want.
What if there is an emotion, behavior, or thought that you are simply unwilling to accept? Start by accepting your resistance to accept it. And if you cannot accept your resistance, accept your resistance to accept your resistance. =)
Be compassionate with yourself through this process. We all have things we like and don’t like about ourselves. If we judge ourselves, then we are not accepting who we are.
What would happen if you were more accepting of your “supposed” flaws?
What would happen if you were more accepting of your greatness?
This is the 2nd Pillar from Dr. Nathaniel Branden’s book “The 6 Pillars of Self-Esteem.” For more on self-acceptance when it feels impossible, see: http://www.esteemedself.com/when-self-acceptance-feels-impossible/