For most people, accepting who they are doesn’t come naturally. It’s far too easy to criticize yourself as writers do so often. Listen, nobody wants to be seen as an egomaniac. Better to drag yourself down and show how cool you are by not giving yourself a break, right? Self-acceptance is crucial to mental health, though, and it takes some practice to learn it.
Why Is Self-Acceptance So Important, Anyway?
Self-acceptance reminds you that you are a valuable person just as you are. Without it, your happiness level plummets. You trust someone else’s thoughts, opinions, and decisions more than you do your own. So, you make choices that aren’t right for you. Yet, at the same time, you may feel resentful, because deep down, you know you’ve let them lead you the wrong way.
How to Practice It
The first thing you need to do to practice self-acceptance is simply to decide to do it. Don’t worry about whether you deserve to be accepted. That will come later. For now, just take the first steps, knowing that you’ll feel happier and more at peace when you do. So, how do you do it? Here are some tips to get you started.
Treat Yourself at Least as Well as You Treat Others
If you don’t accept yourself, you may be more afraid of being negative towards other people than to yourself. You feel if you’re kind to yourself, you’re being selfish. You think that it’s noble to put others ahead of you. But here’s something to think about: If your duty is to be kind to everyone, aren’t you a part of that group? Of course you are! So, stop criticizing yourself and do something nice for yourself for a change!
Keep Self-Deprecation Light-Hearted
Self-deprecating humor is some pretty funny stuff. You tell a story about some ridiculous thing you’ve done, and the room lights up with laughter. And, if you can see the humor in the situation, it can make you feel better. It also brings people together, especially if everyone can relate to your story.
Self-deprecation only becomes a problem if you start to believe too much of what you say. Perhaps you did do something weird or wrong. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you need to be put down for it. Also, if you’re going for a laugh, you’re probably exaggerating what really happened. Take it all with a grain of salt, and remember, in most cases, we’ve all been there.
You aren’t the most beautiful person in the world. You aren’t the smartest. You’ve made mistakes. In other words, you’re like just about everybody else. Let go of the thought that you aren’t good enough. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. No one is, and you wouldn’t hold these things against someone else, would you?
That goes for not reaching your highest childhood ideals, too. Holding yourself to impossible dreams is not only unproductive, it can also make you miserable. So, forgive yourself for not doing what you set out to do. Accept yourself and your situation as it is now. That doesn’t mean you have to stop trying for a better life. It just means that you allow yourself to feel happy right now, right here, where you are in this moment.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. Her interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health specifically targets subjects related to anxiety and depression.