The Practice of Self Acceptance
Achieving self-acceptance takes great skill, care, an open mind and an ability to forgive and manage expectations. It can be fleeting and hard won but as you get better at achieving self- acceptance, you achieve real power.
When we begin to accept ourselves, we’re able to embrace every part of ourselves unconditionally. Self-acceptance helps us acknowledge our strengths and capabilities, not to mention out vulnerabilities and limitations. There is an awareness of our feelings, behaviour and our impact on others. We are aware of our idiosyncrasies and accept them with grace.
When we are unable to practice self-acceptance, we risk degrees of self-loathing. We cannot accept our shortcomings nor do we own our strengths. We become increasingly uncomfortable in our skin.
A quick self-assessment:
- Are you unreasonably hard on yourself?
- Are you a perfectionist?
- Do you place greater importance on failings rather than successes?
- Does your day usually end with a critique of all of the things you could have, should have or might have done or said differently?
How good would your life be if you had regular, deep connection and inspiration from within that you could rely on?
How different would life be if you could tap into your spiritual self in a blink of an eye?
Whether you know it or not, self-acceptance is critical to achieving personal freedom. Whether you are aware of it or not, your thoughts and emotions control the energy and behaviour you portray to the people around you and in turn the energy and behaviour you receive from them.
The limbic brain, considered the emotional brain often overrides our rational thinking. How you live your life, the quality of it and how your future unfolds will ultimately come down to how you deal with your emotions on a day-to-day basis.
So, if you are ready to challenge obstacles in your life, here is a simple step by step practice which will enhance your life and help you grow in self-awareness, emotional fitness and self-acceptance. This won’t happen overnight but if you keep practicing and applying these methods to your daily regime your behaviours and emotions will shift to a better and happier place.
Be Kind to Yourself
It’s time to accept the fact that no one in this world judges you more than you judge yourself. Be honest, you can be your own worst enemy! Start developing patience. Be patient with yourself, and accept your flaws. Remember, no one is perfect, even if others sometimes appear to have everything together.
Check the Self-Talk
Everyone engages in self-talk, it’s how we review our environment and the way we interact with it. Positive self-talk is a critical skill used by high performance coaches and athletes who use it to visualise positive performance outcomes. When used consistently, it can be extremely powerful!
Negative self-talk can also be limiting if not damaging. How many times in a given day do you find yourself mentally rehearsing the worst possible outcome, or telling yourself you can’t do something, or it's too hard? If you are in the middle of a 5K run and someone bolts past you, does that little voice in your head encourage you or shoot you down?
Try challenging the inner critic.
‘I’ll never be able to run 5 km’s’
‘I’m going for a 5 km run and I'll go as far as I can without stopping and I will gradually work up to a full 5km run’.
Acknowledge the challenge without killing the possibility and reality of the work required to successfully complete your goal.
It’s this connection between the words and the belief that is the ultimate goal of this technique. Another important factor of positive self-talk is that it must be possible (realistic) and believable!
Confront Your Fears
We all have fears, often produced from past experiences or events. But it’s usually the fear of the unknown that keeps us trapped and frozen. We’re so afraid to experience something unfamiliar that we allow ourselves to stay stuck in what we know.
It’s important to try to take small steps to create a change in yourself. Start by making a list of big and small things that scare you. Start with one small thing first. Face it, as many times as needed to re-program the way you see that challenge.
Seek help and assistance to make sure you have the best chance of success. For example, if you want to be able to do a hand stand but fear breaking your neck, there are many steps and preparation that are going to help you achieve a free standing handstand safely. Building up upper body strength relative to your body weight is critical to being able to do a handstand safely. Without doing the work, your fears and doubts get re-enforced by unreasonable expectations and lack of preparation. Don’t set yourself up for failure simply to tell yourself ‘I told you so!’.
Surround yourself with goodness. Write yourself positive notes. Hang up posters with positive affirmations. Download an app on your phone that will send you motivational quotes on a daily basis. When you start to feel insecurity and doubt creeping into your thoughts, turn to one of your good things. Remember to tell that little defeating voice inside your head to be quiet and that you refuse to go to that dark place.
Let go of perfectionism. Start to let go of what you think perfection looks like. Life is perfection in all its imperfections. Don’t let an obsession for perfection slow you down in your journey to accomplishing your goals.
If perfection is the Insta model you’re following, then you are setting yourself up for failure. There is no doubt that what you are seeing is a perfectly curated façade designed to hook you into a journey of self-doubt driven out of an illusion of perfection.
Anyway, have you ever spent time with someone who was perfect? Well, you probably haven’t because that person simply doesn’t exist. However, if your friend, colleague, partner is perfect, I’m betting they’re pretty unbearable to be around, making them pretty imperfect anyway!
Good is good enough!
Don’t Take It Personally
If something offends you, stop and ask yourself why you’re offended. Always make a conscious effort to stop assuming you know what people mean. Don’t get defensive about something you’ve internalised. Chances are people don’t want to hurt you to begin with, however they might not know how to communicate effectively either. Things get lost in translation. If you’re not clear on the meaning of a specific comment or reaction, all you have to do is ask!
You can’t grow without forgiveness. But understand that it’s a process, and it will always take time. Forgive others for things they didn’t mean to do. Try to forgive others for things they didn’t know they did. Forgive yourself for mistakes you think you’ve made. And remember to forgive yourself if things don’t change quickly enough.
Good luck on your lifes work in Self Acceptance!
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