When hearing the words “self-acceptance,” it may mean different things for some of us. The idea of self-acceptance is the accepting of oneself and accepting the bad along with it. There has been confusion with the words self-acceptance because people think we have to be fully absorbed in ourselves to be so self-accepting.
Is self-acceptance same as self-monitoring?
With those who truly understand self-acceptance, it is understood that we also learn to accept those things about ourselves that we would rather not. For example, I cannot sew a stitch to save my life. I loved all things with fine sewing and was convinced I would make such beautiful artwork. Fast forward about a week and multiple pin pricks to the fingers, and I now know that I cannot sew. I have accepted the fact that I cannot sew and may lose a finger if I try again. Does this make me feel bad about myself? No, because we all have unique talents and that is not one of them.
At What Age Does Self-Acceptance Begin?
Believe it or not, we begin to learn about self-acceptance at a very young age. Self-esteem is being built first with interaction with our parents. As we grow older, even the teachers that are with us daily can influence the way we look at ourselves. By the time we hit middle school and high school our peers help to form how we think about ourselves.
In the teenage years, our self-acceptance can become very fragile. If you are a female who is a couple of pounds over what is considered normal weight, you may consider yourself fat. If you are a male that is not great in sports, then you may view yourself as weak. The problem is in the teen years we tend to take everything personally. We all want to look and act a certain way. We all want to be accepted by our friends and the “in-crowd.” If we are a bit different, then the way peers view us, it may not be nice or flattering.
There will be times when every child or teen will experience a time in life when their self-acceptance or self-esteem may be down. As parents, we become concerned when our teens state the fact that they do not like something about themselves. Most teenagers will pull through fine and learn to love themselves for who they are.
As adults, many of us have not practiced self-acceptance. There are always days where we do not like something about ourselves. Learning to accept yourself for who you are and what you stand for can be quite liberating! Once we accept ourselves, it seems the world around us becomes an easier place to deal with.
Self-Acceptance does not mean being totally in love with ourselves and not caring about anything else around us. Self-acceptance is the art of being able to accept ourselves for who we are.
Here is a great example: Sue hates the fact that she is overweight. She has tried every diet in the universe and not a pound lost. Sue loves to exercise and regularly does so. Losing the weight was becoming a battle that Sue put herself through each day emotionally. Her self-esteem had plummeted, and she was becoming depressed. Once Sue accepted that no matter what she did she wasn’t going to lose the weight that was being caused by medications.
Having the ability to accept herself for who she was, Sue was a much happier person. Understanding that being harsh on herself was causing stress, which leads to a bout of depression, was unhealthy and she deserved to be happy.
Self-Acceptance Allows Freedom.
When we learn to accept ourselves, we are granted a certain freedom. By accepting ourselves, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks. If people want to be negative, then leave that choice to them. Being confident in our own bodies is something that can be accomplished.
Time and again the media is throwing out these images that we, as women, are supposed to look alike. Well, even eating salads every day of the week we probably wouldn’t be the size of the models. This type of advertising is dangerous to those who are already having issues with self-acceptance.
Practicing Self-Acceptance and developing self-confidence
Each day it is important to remember a few things when practicing self-acceptance.
- Be kind to ourselves.
- Don’t become our worst critic.
- Know our strengths and be happy about them.
- Have a support circle.
- Be conscious of the people around us.
- Help others around us.
Just because we are now at the point of being able to accept and love ourselves does not mean we have given up. Self-acceptance also includes the will to want to accomplish goals is our lifetimes.
Learning to live each day happily allows us to be able to see and experience the world around us. We are finally able to take the step to an incredible freedom that is known as self-acceptance. I may never be good at sewing, but I have a whole lot more to offer the world and people around me.
Self-acceptance takes time, and we are not all just happy-go-lucky let’s learn something new. For some, the art of self-acceptance may take a week or less to master. While for others, the new skill may take months. Each of us must look within ourselves and celebrate all our strengths and passions.