The Importance of Self-Love and Self-Acceptance
“Growth begins when we start accepting ourselves” -Jean Vanier
We usually set standards that are too high for ourselves because the society expects us to be perfect. We tend to forget that everyone has flaws including the people we perceive to be perfect.
Self-love and self-acceptance are critical aspects of health and happiness. These are the attributes that shape our physical, mental and emotional health in real and concrete ways. When we refuse to accept ourselves, we cut ourselves from the energy that sustains life. This process happens gradually we are disconnected from the life force. And this leads to serious health issues.
When we don’t accept ourselves the way we are, we are in essence, wearing ourselves internally. And when we fight against ourselves, guess who loses? It’s important to accept the fact that we all have flaws. Everyone makes mistakes. Making mistakes is not a bad thing that you should avoid completely. It’s one of the best ways to learn and grow.
Accepting our strengths and weaknesses and reconciling the conflicting parts in our inner world is critical to our health and happiness. Plus, you cannot achieve anything substantial in the outer world without fixing your inner world.
Symptoms of not loving yourself
- Depending on other people to make you happy. People who don’t love themselves cannot be happy with themselves. They’ll try micromanaging and controlling other people to feel better about themselves. In short, they are energy vampires.
- Constantly justifying yourself. People who don’t love themselves the way they are, focus on their good traits and boast so that the people around them can agree with them. They try to get anyone who is listening to believe in what they are saying even if deep down they don’t believe in it themselves. Remember, true love is never boastful. Anytime you see a boastful person, you see someone who doubts himself or herself.
- Indecisive because they want to seek approval or they want people to react to their choices. In short, they crave the attention and respect of others.
- Bad things happen to them all the time and they just can’t figure it out. They complain and blame others for their misfortunes while forgetting that how they feel about themselves determines what happens to them.
- Always preoccupied with personal problems because their mindset is structured around themselves. They tend to judge themselves harshly because they think everyone is talking about them.
- Keep going back to the people who dislike them or things that hurt them because they want to prove that they are worthy even if deep inside they know it’s impossible.
Symptoms of not accepting yourself
- Criticizing and judging ourselves harshly will manifest in all manners of physical, mental and emotional health issues. It’s important to know the symptoms that show you don’t love and accept yourself so that you can fix them as soon as possible.
- Denying who you are results in low self-esteem. People who push themselves to think and act like someone else feel like they are living a lie because it’s not a life of their own making. Denying who you are also involves ignoring your inner voice which always tells you to be who you are. The result? You’ll be stressed, overwhelmed and angry at yourself.
- Developing a victim mentality which involves believing what other people say about you or seeking approval. At the end of the day, you serve someone else’s agenda; not your own.
- Failure to accept yourself will eventually lead to low self-confidence because you won’t trust yourself. Soon you’ll start pitying and hating yourself and this will prevent your growth and development.
- Lack of self-acceptance leads to inactivity because you’ll lack the ability to inspire and motivate yourself to do the things that are good for you such as sleeping properly, eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly.
Self-Love vs Self-Acceptance
Although these two concepts are related, they are not the same. While self-love refers to valuable or worthwhile you see yourself, self-acceptance is a global affirmation of self.
Self-acceptance is all about embracing our positive and negative facets. This means that self-acceptance is unconditional. Recognizing and accepting your limitations or weaknesses should not interfere with your ability to accept yourself fully.
To love yourself, you need to explore what parts of yourself that you are not willing to accept. Loving yourself is all about accepting yourself 100%. This is only possible when you stop judging yourself. Research shows that our self-esteem rises the moment we stop being so hard on ourselves.
Determinants of self-acceptance
Similar to self-love, as children, we can only accept ourselves to the degree that we feel accepted by the adults around us (especially parents). According to psychologists, children under the age of eight cannot formulate a separate sense of self, other than what has been transmitted by parents or guardians.
Therefore, if a parent could not communicate the message that you are acceptable he or she conditioned you to view yourself ambivalently. Positive messages that you received from your parents mainly depended on how you acted. Unfortunately, many of your behaviors weren’t acceptable or tolerated by them. In the end, you start seeing yourself as inadequate.
Also, parental judgment goes beyond disapproving a set of behaviors. For instance, parents may transmit to us a message that we are selfish, ugly, not attractive, nice and so on. As a result, you start focusing on your negative aspects. And this eventually leads to self-criticism.
It’s impossible not to parent ourselves the way we were parented. If our parents blamed, ignored or physically punished us, we’ll find ways to continue with this self-indignity.
According to Robert Holden, self-acceptance and happiness go hand in hand. Your level of self-acceptance will determine your level of self-love and happiness. The more you accept yourself, the happier you’ll become. You’ll only enjoy as much happiness as you think you’re worthy of.
Tips that will help you practice self-love and self-acceptance
Anytime you feel drained, tired or hating yourself, you are turning your thoughts and emotions against yourself. And this will not only make your life difficult but also that of your loved ones. Here are a few proven tips that will help you practice self-love and self-acceptance so that you can grow personally and professionally.
- Focus on yourself – Instead of looking at other people and working hard to be like them, you should focus on yourself. This means setting your standards and metrics to measure your success. Remember, loving yourself is not selfish. You cannot expect to love others if you don’t love yourself. To enhance other peoples’ wellbeing, you need to look after yourself by taking care of your physical and mental health. Don’t be afraid to focus and put yourself first.
- Get rid of the need to change yourself – You need to accept yourself with all your strengths and weaknesses. Instead of trying so hard to change yourself or chase butterflies, you can just drop everything and realize that you already have everything you need to become successful. Any change or adjustments will happen effortlessly just like a flower blooms. You don’t have to change yourself because there’s no other person in the world like you. You are a unique and special individual.
- Confront your fears – Devastating things happen to all of us. We all have baggage that prevents us from trying something new and hurting ourselves. The fear of failure holds us back from realizing our potential. Most people are afraid of the unfamiliar that they find themselves stuck in their comfort zones. When making changes and adjustments, it’s important to take baby steps to avoid freaking yourself out. Start by creating a list of the things you’ve been afraid to do. It could be networking at a key event, approaching your crush or asking your boss for a raise. Start with something small and face it. Figure out why you fear to do it. A big victory is made up of many small victories.
- Surround yourself with positive people – Your company will determine how high you go in your personal and professional life. Surrounding yourself with negative people cannot make you a positive person. Feeding your mind, the world’s worst won’t lighten up your inner world. Therefore, it’s important to choose your company carefully. Associate with positive people who will help you confront your fears. Apart from that, focus on the positive aspects of life. Remember, your mind is like a piece of land. When you take your time to cultivate it, it will bring forth sweet fruits. If you don’t cultivate it, weeds will grow naturally. And once they take over, it will be very difficult to eliminate them.
- Don’t take things personally – If someone or something offends you, don’t take it personally. Don’t assume that you know what people mean. Stop defending or justifying yourself. When you stop taking things personally, you’ll realize that people are doing their best to make things work. Plus, they might be having a bad day which is not your fault.
- Forgive yourself and others – You cannot grow and prosper without forgiving yourself and others. Remember, forgiveness is a selfish act. You forgive others so that you can have enough energy to focus on your growth and improvement. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. No one is perfect. Being too hard on yourself or others cannot accelerate your success.
- Focus on your progress – Forget about the ideal. Perfection will not take you to the next level. When you focus on your progress, you’ll eventually become successful. Keep in mind that there will always be room for improvement no matter how well you do something.
- Don’t give up – When you fall, you have to get up and keep on keeping on. When we fail, we learn more about ourselves than when we succeed. Figure out what needs to be done and just do it. At the end of the day, celebrate for having the courage to go after what you want.
You are a special and unique person. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. By loving and accepting yourself 100%, nothing in the world will stop you from achieving your goals.
Guest Writer Bio
Tobias Foster is a professional journalist and editor at UK assignment help and Australian assignment help. With more than a 5 year work experience, he has amassed a wealth of knowledge in marketing, business, and philosophy. He truly is a master of his craft.