The Magnificent Art of Self-Acceptance
Self-acceptance is the simple act of embracing one’s own self unconditionally; strengths, weaknesses, flaws and all. This means having a kind and friendly, non-judgemental attitude to oneself with honesty and self-awareness. It is based on the same principles of Mindfulness such as present-centred non-judgemental awareness of what is rather than what your mind tells you it should be. The reason why it is so important is that self-acceptance underpins resilient mental health - without it, it is very difficult to overcome almost any mental challenge.
What is the difference between Self-Esteem and Self-Acceptance?
Self-esteem describes how one esteem oneself by comparison to others. As such, it is a feeling that goes up and down depending on who one is with. It can also mean that one may not only esteem oneself as less intelligent or beautiful than another, but also as better than others.
Self-acceptance is a steady and stable sense of knowing who you are - shortcomings and strengths, and having a sense of peace with that regardless of who you are with, or whatever happens. It doesn’t mean that one does not acknowledge one’s flaws, quite the contrary! Rather, it is a sense of being okay with the fact that we are all human, and can work with love and our own encouragement to live according to our values.
Psychology has gradually moved from an emphasis on self-esteem to self-acceptance and developing self-compassion. This is based on the work of luminaries like by Kristin Neff, Christopher Germer, Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach who has shown what a transformation learning greater self-acceptance can have on a person’s life. Instead of constantly fretting and wondering if one is good enough, well-enough liked or respected, energy is freed to excel in our talents, find joy in the world and love ourselves and others naturally and easily. Can you imagine the freedom?
Self-acceptance is a journey of rewiring your brain to think more positively about yourself. It is possible, even if you’ve never been in the habit of thinking about yourself in a kind way. The following self-acceptance techniques can help you get started on this beautiful journey of accepting who you are:
These are daily mantras of uplifting words that you should repeat to yourself. Based on the principles of neuroplasticity, repeated mental activity leads to lasting changes in the brain, and you can harness this power for the good by daily repeating kind or uplifting words that lift your spirits.
Acknowledging drawbacks means considering your limitations with kindness and honesty, whilst finding ways to improve that will enhance your well-being. The key here is doing this with kindness and self-compassion.
Take a moment to centre yourself and find the courage inside when a difficult task or decision is ahead of you. Remember when you managed something difficult before. Draw on that inner strength, then step forward bravely, chances are you can do it!
Practicing thankfulness will make you more content with life in general. Take time every night to remember the good things in your life and how many times you managed things well that day.
Loving another isn’t so hard, so why should loving ourselves be? Try to be kinder and more patient with yourself. Practice self-acceptance today and see how it can positively change your life! If you need a professional helping hand, we are always here to help you along this journey.
At Kensington Psychology and Well-being, there is a psychologist in Adelaide for you who can provide counselling services to empower you on the road to good mental health. We have an expert team of psychologists who are licensed and trained in teaching Self-Acceptance and overcoming low confidence and low self-esteem. For our contact information, click here.