People usually separate because they are no longer compatible for one reason or another. It is easy to play the blame game. Regardless of how upset we are with our spouse, at one point we will look at ourselves and begin to scrutinize our own actions. In a way, this gives us power; if we can see where we went wrong, then we can change. Taking ownership of dissolution of a relationship is healthy, but taken too far can cause our confidence and self-esteem to deteriorate. Self-awareness and introspection is necessary and is the benefit of a change in one’s life. Some of our negative qualities we might not be able to change nor should we. This is where the odyssey to self-acceptance steps in.
A commonly accepted definition of self-acceptance is realistic and subjective acceptance of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Because we are always evolving, self-acceptance is a necessary step towards self-improvement. It is fundamental for good mental health because it allows for empowerment, happiness, forgiveness, and freedom. Moreover, it is important for healthy relationships. By learning to accept ourselves, we will attract people who accept us as we are instead of seeing us as a work in progress that can be changed and reshaped.
When we accept who we are today and not worry about the future, we feel peace. Power comes from autonomy and ability to act on your own authority free from influence.
Through self-acceptance, we stop comparing ourselves to others, which lifts our mood. Constant scrutiny of social media where we peek into others lives and compare it to our own has been shown to cause depression.
Acceptance of our strengths and weaknesses opens pathways to remorse vs. guilt. We have all done something that we are less than proud of, and commonly we feel guilt over those actions or deeds. Guilt is punitive and worthless; however, self-reflection creates remorse, which allows to review our motivation and change our future behavior.
Think about how much time you would gain if you stopped being self-critical. By creating a plan for self-improvement, you are free to live, build, and grow.
So now that you are convinced that self-acceptance is a good thing, how do you accomplish this task?
Explore what part of yourself you are judging and why. This is best accomplished through mindful meditation.
Analyze whose voice you are hearing when you list your unfavorable qualities – is it your parents, partners, friends, co-workers, societies, or inner voice.
Fully comprehend your reservation about yourself and look at the positives and negatives of that quality.
Remove defensiveness surrounding a particular deficiency and decide if you want to improve on it or eliminate. Either way, you are OK.
Show gratitude for yourself and the environment you helped create.
Learn lessons from all parts of you – even the dark ones.
Compartmentalize your action instead of defining yourself by a noticeable flaw. You lied but are not a liar.
Share your inner dialogue with someone to get out of your head.
Pay attention to your sub-conscious. It is there to guide you and help achieve goals.
Set intention that you choose a life with self-acceptance instead of a life of self-hatred. This simple step will begin a chain reaction of growth and empowerment.
Fortunately, self-acceptance is a skill that can be nurtured through practice versus an innate trait that you either have or don’t. Path to unconditional self-acceptance must be repeatedly incorporated into your daily life. Self-awareness allows for recognition of weaknesses, limitations, and flaws but does not interfere with our ability to holistically accept ourselves.