What is Self-Acceptance?
Self-acceptance is steady and unconditional. When you accept yourself despite your weaknesses and faults, you are more forgiving and you avoid self-judging. You do not fall into the bad habit of comparing yourself to others and you learn to appreciate your individuality!
Accepting yourself helps make you feel confident; it makes you feel that you are enough – that you are beautiful in your own way. Self-acceptance can do wonders improving your self-confidence; it can make you stop worrying about what other people think about you. You become more natural and happy with yourself! Once you have accepted yourself, you become more relaxed and allow the ‘real you’ to be seen by other people.
Accepting yourself allows you to live freely, with no shame or fear. Self-acceptance helps you build stronger and more intimate relationship with others.
What Determines Self-Acceptance?
As a child, you may have accepted yourself on the terms that your parents have accepted you. According to research, children are unable to have a clear idea of self before they reach the age of eight. So if your parents were unable to tell you that you are totally acceptable, you may develop feelings of doubt toward yourself.
The positive regard of your parents may be based on how you behaved as a child. Unfortunately, you may have acted in ways that were not acceptable to their standards. Once you identify yourself with your misbehaviors, you begin to develop a feeling of inadequacy and uncertainness.
Adverse parental evaluation has the tendency to go far beyond disapproving misbehaviors; you may develop the mind-set that you are not attractive enough, smart enough or good enough because of your parents’ evaluation. Mental health professionals may regard this as emotional abuse because it can lead you to believe that you may only be accepted under certain conditions.
Self-criticism is almost always at the heart of the problems that you ‘create’ as an adult. If your parents dealt with you in a hurtful manner, it is very possible that you will parent your children in the same manner. If you were always ignored, berated and blamed, you will find ways as an adult to deal with all your unresolved pain.
Many, if not all, people enter into adulthood carrying heavy emotional baggage from their past; they are afflicted with a certain negative bias that greatly influence their opinion about themselves. They tend to blame themselves and view themselves as defective; they suffer from self-doubt and this greatly affects their ability for self-acceptance.
‘Happiness and self-acceptance go hand in hand, your level of self-acceptance determines your level of happiness.’ – Robert Holden
Accepting yourself unconditionally would have come easier if your parents ‘validated’ you positively; growing up in a supportive environment can do a lot to improve your self-esteem and self-love. But if that wasn’t the case for you, you have to learn on your own to ‘certify’ yourself. However, keep in mind that self-acceptance is very different from being complacent – you always have to improve yourself without judgment. This can help you find peace in your heart and mind; you will find fulfillment and complete, unqualified acceptance.
To fully accept yourself, you have to be more self-compassionate. If you are more forgiving and understanding of yourself, it also becomes easier to let go of your hurtful past. You have to realize that you are continuously proving your worth to others to accept that you need to develop a more loving stance toward yourself. Forget about the ‘conditional-love-scars’ from your past and recognize your strength and uniqueness.