Many people struggle with self-acceptance. In other words, too many people are searching for acceptance outside of themselves when they haven’t yet learned to accept themselves. Self-acceptance means being okay with WHO you are. It means being kind to yourself even when you make mistakes, fail, or do something that you later regret. When you practice self-acceptance, you reduce your stress level greatly.
Self-acceptance is a close relative to self-esteem. It is difficult to have one without the other, and, if you have one, you will tend to have the other. There may be many reasons why people have low self-acceptance, but most fall into one or more the following areas:
- A desire to be perfect
- A focus on imperfections rather than on blessings
- An eager desire for approval and to be liked
- A strong desire to please others
- An extraordinary concern for other people’s opinions about you
- Feeling inadequate or some perceived lack of ability or skill
- Lack of mindfulness of your self talk
When you practice self-acceptance, you recognize that not everyone you meet will like you and that you will never be perfect. Humans are fallible. We can never be perfect in all our endeavors for the simple reason that a person cannot learn and be perfect at the same time. We are always learning and growing, and growth is one of the pleasures and, satisfactions of living.
You are not finished making mistakes or doing foolish things. Falling is natural; getting up is the challenge. A happy and content life is not about what happens and why, but rather about how you deal with your challenges. When your level of self-acceptance is low, you will tend to feel a lot of anxiety when things go wrong because you’ll feel a lack of control over your emotions. However, when your level of self-acceptance is high, your stress diminishes as you feel you have control over your response. Being mindful of your emotions will allow you to moderate your anxiety and develop more positive self-acceptance.
You can Develop Your Self-Acceptance
The key to gaining self-acceptance is mindfulness of the process of continual learning. Sometimes this requires risk, and with the risk comes the reward. Having a willingness to learn and not be discouraged in the process is a requirement of self-acceptance. Former U.S. Senate leader Everett Dirksen said, “I am a man of principle, and my first principle is a willingness to change my mind.” If your self-talk is one of not fully accepting yourself, you have the option of changing the conversation.
As long as you feel inadequate about yourself in some task or about yourself in general, you are participating in a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the instructions in an airplane are announced, put the face mask on YOURSELF before helping someone else. Your first responsibility is to accept yourself. It is essential for accepting others.
Teaching, parenting, and simply living can be stressful at times. That’s why I wrote my newest book Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. If you’re looking for stress management advice, check it out. The book is available as a print book (Buy one and get a second copy free to give as a gift), as an eBook, and as an audio book at PiperPress.com.