The dictionary definition of self-acceptance is: acceptance of self in spite of deficiencies. Sometimes our fiercest critic is our self, and our self-criticism is not always balanced and helpful.
Lorrie A. Shepard published an interesting study about self-acceptance in The American Educational Research Journal. In the study she promotes self-acceptance as being necessary for good mental health.
If you are having a hard time seeing yourself in a positive light, here are five things that may help improve your view:
1. Stop Rating Yourself
Failing to accept and love yourself just as you are will leave you feeling empty and demoralized. Why not stop measuring yourself against others, and accept that you are the best that you can be at this moment in time. Don’t add conditions, such as “when I lose weight I’ll be happy.” Simply accept yourself as you are right now, acknowledging that you (like everyone else) are less than perfect.
2. Be Thankful
Counting your blessings can often be a good way to turn negativity into positivity. Be thankful for what you are and tell yourself “I am enough.” Spend a moment each day contemplating the things that make you feel grateful.
3. Be Thought-Aware
Become more aware of your thought patterns. Learn to recognize when you start to decline into feelings of self-hate and stop those thoughts right there. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones and celebrate all the things that are amazing about you as part of your newfound self-acceptance.
4. Work at Self-compassion
You are kind to others; now it’s time to be kind to yourself! Remind yourself of your good qualities, think about what your friends would say they like about you. Learn to respect yourself, trust your intuition, and allow yourself to form your own opinions.
5. Be Forgiving
Everyone looks back on their past with some regrets for things said or done that they are not proud of. Feeling regret and self-hatred does not help you to move forward. Rather, forgive yourself, learn from your past mistakes and move on.
By not striving so hard for perfection or setting unrealistic expectations of yourself, you can boost self-acceptance. Accept your imperfections and set yourself free to be the person you are, basking in the comfort of self-acceptance no matter what the rest of the world may think or say.