Steps to Finding Self-Acceptance
How do you find self-acceptance and awaken inner strength? There are a few necessary steps to take that can help you through your discovery, starting with:
- Defining Self-Esteem
Ask yourself: How do you define your self-esteem? How much do you value yourself? How worthy and capable are you?
- How Self-Esteem Develops
Where do those opinions about ourselves come from? They are formed by various factors, like our achievements, relationships, and connection to a larger purpose. Most of these opinions we form about ourselves, however, are developed in our formative years.
- Challenging Our Core Beliefs
The number one factor that is responsible for diminishing our self-esteem is our thoughts. It’s not external situations that create our self-esteem. When it comes down to it, it’s what we tell ourselves. How we speak to ourselves is directly linked to what we believe about ourselves.
When our thoughts are critical, self-defeating, and negative, they have the power to diminish our self-esteem significantly. Without challenging our thoughts, we have grown accustomed to hearing them. These thoughts may not be accurate, and out of habit, we repeat them. We must challenge our thoughts, reframe them, and question their validity.
One of the key ingredients to healthy self-esteem is to practice self-acceptance. Self-acceptance helps us feel good about ourselves and independent from our flaws, mistakes, and failures. It helps us release judgment and embrace all facets of who we are.
Self-acceptance is unconditional; we are not reliant on our achievements to build our self-worth. We begin to reaffirm our qualities and attributes, accepting non-judgmentally our weakness and strength. It’s liberating to experience a kind of happiness that is not dependent on goal-oriented thoughts.
In a nutshell, self-compassion is being kind and loving toward the self. We practice it when we are going through a difficult time or recognizing qualities about ourselves that we dislike, rather than judging and criticizing ourselves. We offer patience and kindness toward ourselves instead of berating ourselves for all of our mistakes. It is practicing forgiveness, knowing we don’t have to be perfect to have high self-worth.
- Dropping Comparisons
To increase our self-esteem, society taught us to compare ourselves to others to prove that we are better. We became competitive. That falsely heightened self-esteem is contingent on our most recent successes or failures.
Therefore, our self-worth is dependent on our circumstances. Self-compassion is unconditional, and when we are caught in the game of comparison, not only do we thrive on being better than others, but our perspective is distorted; it’s impossible to see the whole picture.
We don’t always see underlying struggles, burnout, or depression. We observe people gain accolades and success without being privy to their hardships. With a competitive mind, the more successful people are around us, the lower our self-esteem falls. We begin dismissing and devaluing our own self-worth. Therefore, we should drop our comparisons and practice self-compassion.
- Letting Go of Perfectionism
At a young age, most of us are put on a quest to be perfect in all aspects of life. As we work toward achieving our perfect self, much of our attention is spent focusing on our flaws. Often, we get mad at ourselves for not meeting our own expectations, and at the same time, putting quite a bit of pressure on achievement.
As for making mistakes, we are unable to let them go, and our relentless internal critic won’t grant us the ability to experience satisfaction and happiness. Whenever we reach a goal, it seems our best is seemingly never quite good enough for ourselves.
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