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5 Ways to Increase Your Self-Acceptance

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5 Ways to Increase Your Self-Acceptance

"The happiness, the peace, and the love you crave cannot happen without Self-acceptance.”

 - Robert Holden

We don’t just have relationships with other people, we also have a relationship with our self. And that relationship is foundational to all other relationships. 

If you don’t accept yourself, you probably don’t accept other people either.

Shame, guilt, perfectionism, and old negative messages repeating in your mind, can all contribute to being down on yourself.

Being unhappy with yourself taints every aspect of your life.

If you don’t recognize that your unhappiness is rooted inside, you may mistakenly attribute your unhappiness as being caused by something or someone else: your job, your partner, your house,. . . . You might then conclude that you’d feel better if you could just change your job, dump your partner, move. . . . But there’s a saying about the disappointment that can come when you do something like move in order to feel better and then discover you’re still unhappy: Everywhere you go—there you are.

Here are 5 ways to increase your self-acceptance:

1. Root out shame.

Shame and guilt are in the same family of emotions. Guilt is "I have done something bad." Shame is "I am bad."

Shame tends to weigh a person down. It is also often imposed by others who shame us. 

Guilt can be a more productive emotion than shame. Guilt can help you look at your mistakes.


2. Deal with your mistakes.

Healthy self-acceptance isn’t about ignoring mistakes you’ve made in the past or allowing yourself to repeat those mistakes in the future. I

t is about engaging humility and courage so that you can examine mistakes, gather the wisdom and understanding the situations have to offer, make adjustments and possibly amends, and acknowledge to yourself that you are human and therefore will make mistakes.


3. Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Perfection is unattainable. If you expect perfection from yourself, you will be chronically disappointed in yourself.

Excellence is doable. Striving for excellence allows you to take into account individual circumstances and adjust priorities for your time and energy according to those circumstances.


4. Counter negative self-talk.

Negative self-talk may be words or phrases that you heard many years ago popping into your mind again and again.

When you become aware of the negative messages you can challenge them.

In my thirties, I realized I would commonly hear “You’re stupid” in my mind. I began to challenge it each time I heard it, saying to myself: “Reality check. You’re not stupid.” And then remind myself of the evidence that I am actually quite smart. Eventually the “You’re stupid” message went away.


5. Acknowledge that life as an experiment.

As we go through life, we are constantly trying to figure out what works and doesn't work.

Life is an experiment.

Learn to accept yourself while you strive to improve yourself.   

 

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  • Ann Silvers
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