Learn to accept yourself in 10 easy steps
Are you someone who tends to feel awkward in social situations? Outwardly you may appear calm and confident and in control, but perhaps inside you are quaking, feeling anxious about how false you think you’re being. Do you have issues with your self-esteem and body image? Perhaps you simply struggle to accept yourself for who you are.
Learning to accept yourself can make a huge difference to your happiness in life. When we accept ourselves and stop judging, we feel that other people in our lives are much less critical and judgemental too. Most of this feeling comes from within ourselves of course. We create an energy that others’ pick up on, and so when we’re downhearted and self-conscious, other people pick up on the vibes and our body language.
So how can you learn to accept yourself. We’ve put together 10 easy steps to help you.
Learn to accept yourself in 10 easy steps
1. Admit there’s a problem
Admitting there’s a problem is the first step to accepting yourself. At the moment in which you take a long, cool look at yourself and recognise an issue, that is the moment at which you can best affect change. By making the decision to change, you are empowering yourself. Self-empowerment is a wonderful acknowledgement of your own worth.
2. Learn to be kind to yourself
If you’re the sort of person who allows their inner critic to trample rough-shod over their fragile self, now is the time to learn to speak more softly. Listen to the amount of name-calling you do to yourself. Hear yourself when you are being negative. How many times do you find yourself scolding yourself when you do something daft or make a mistake? That inner voice is constantly chiding and criticizing and judging, and there is no need for it. You wouldn’t make your best friend feel so guilty, worthless or ashamed, would you? Why do it to yourself? You should always be your own best friend.
If you find it hard to drown that voice out, you can approach it in one of two ways.
- Firstly – listen to what it has to say then tell it to stop.
- Or secondly, listen to it and dismiss what it says. It has NOTHING important to tell you.
By detaching in this way, you will find that the inner critic loses its power to control you. You won’t successfully manage this every time at first, but keep doing this and eventually you will succeed. One thing to watch out for, when you catch your inner critic being mean, don’t tell it off. You’re learning NOT to be hostile to yourself remember, so be kind, but shoo it along.
3. Change your thinking
Recognise it is your own thinking that is critical. Our experience of the world happens through our own thoughts. Your own happiness depends on yourself and what you think. It does not depend on other people and what they say or do. You choose how to react to outside situations, and you choose your own internal dialogue. Accept the need for change (step one) and be kind to yourself (step two).
4. Make a list of all the wonderful things you know to be true about yourself
It is far too easy to pick fault with ourselves about imperfections and flaws. As we’ve see above, over the years our inner critics have torn us apart, and I’m sure you’ll have had friends and family and colleagues who have had a good go at this too. So why not counteract all that negativity and write a list of things you like, love and appreciate about yourself? It can be absolutely anything. You may have long eye lashes. You may have neat handwriting. You may cry at soppy movies. Perhaps you do a good imitation of a blackbird. Are you good at DIY? Maybe a good listener? Whatever it is you identify, pin it up somewhere you can see it and every now and again read it and add to it.
5. Acknowledge these good aspects about yourself
The next step in self-acceptance is to notice when you do something that makes you feel good. You held the door open for someone else? Notice it! You engaged in a pleasant conversation with a complete stranger? Notice it. You made someone smile or gave them a compliment? Notice it. You tackle your to-do list? Notice it! Do you see how amazing you are? Look out for those moments that make you feel good!
6. Save something for yourself
One of the problems with living life the way we do in the twenty-first century is that we’re constantly busy and we give far too much of ourselves to others. We make time for our significant other, our children and parents, friends and colleagues, and even the cold caller who phones up when we’re watching TV. Examine how you divide your time and make sure you allocate some to yourself. This may be so that you can take a walk alone, or simply sit and breathe. Perhaps you like to do some colouring in, drawing or writing. Perhaps you would like 30 minutes listening to jazz. Whatever you feel like doing, allocate the time and give in to your own needs.
7. Visualise a self-accepting you
If you close your eyes for a moment and think about a you who has stepped into your own power and is perfectly happy with the person you are (and why shouldn’t you be, if you’ve been following the steps above?) what does that actually look like? The more you know what self-acceptance would mean for you, the closer you will come to achieving this.
8. Forgive yourself
You’re only human, and humans make mistakes. When you do this, forgive yourself. Recognise that only through making mistakes can you learn and grow.
9. Consider what it is you really want from your life
Sometimes we are cruel to ourselves because we aren’t happy. This may be in a relationship, in a job, or some other personal situation. When you know exactly what you want from life, and you have goals to achieve, you will feel more fulfilled as you achieve them. Even if your desires seem almost impossible to achieve, making a series of goals that take you a step closer can be very life affirming.
You have to ensure that what you want is authentic however. It has to be your heart’s desire, not something your partner, your parents or society dictates. This means understanding yourself and being very clearly in touch with your own feelings.
If it helps, you can ask yourself some questions and record the answers.
- Who do I want to be? Describe what you want to be in detail.
- What do I really care about?
Once you have the answers, then you have a kind of job description for yourself. How does that compare with the person you are now? Is there any overlap? Are you being authentic? What changes do you need to make?
Don’t strive too hard. Perfection is unattainable and will never make you happy. Acceptance of who you are and what you have are valuable. Consider learning about mindfulness and living in the moment. Enjoy who you are and what you have and self-acceptance will follow.
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