In a previous article on overcoming self-doubt, one of the first things that I mentioned was learning to accept yourself. In this post I want to dive into the idea of self-acceptance a little deeper.
Let’s start with a definition…
What is self-acceptance?
In a nutshell, self-acceptance is defined as the act of acknowledging and accepting yourself, just as you are. Pretty straightforward, right?
You’d think it would be easy to accept that you’re not perfect, and that being uniquely you is perfectly okay. You don’t have to like everything and can be working to make changes, but you accept yourself with your beautiful imperfections, and allow yourself to be who you are.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done, though. Especially when we maybe don’t fit the mold that society tries to fit us into. After all, we are conditioned from a young age to be what society thinks is acceptable, and not to accept ourselves if we’re less than perfect when measured up to other people’s standards.
That makes gaining self-acceptance one of the hardest, and one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Accepting yourself lets you take care of yourself in the most healthy and positive way.
When you can accept yourself, you are also better equipped to deal with the disappointment and hurt that comes from not meeting your expectations.
What does self-acceptance look like?
By now you might be wondering what self-acceptance looks like. Here are a few examples you might recognize:
- You acknowledge there are things about you that you’d like to change, and work on those instead of beating yourself up about them
- You learn to love your body, even if you don’t have the “ideal” body type.
- You’re able to forgive yourself for past mistakes.
- You allow yourself to be imperfect.
- You let yourself kick perfectionism to the curb.
Those last two are especially important, I think, when it comes to being creative. Because it’s your imperfections, and the little imperfections in your creations that give them your unique voice. You can’t get into a creative flow if you’re always fighting yourself and focusing on some abstract idea of perfection.
You could say that self-acceptance is an essential step on the road to happiness and success, both in your creative pursuits and in the rest of your life. When you accept yourself the way you are in this moment, you open the doors to self-improvement and personal growth because you’re now able to let go of negative self-talk and destructive behaviors like self-doubt. Once you get there, you are able to focus on living your best life instead.
Here are 4 ways to practice self-acceptance:
1. Learn to practice self-compassion
In other words… stop beating yourself up!
Be kind and understanding towards yourself when you make mistakes or fall short of your goals. Learn how to ditch the negative self-talk and accept that everyone makes mistakes and it’s perfectly normal. Learn from your mistakes, make the necessary adjustments and move on.
2. Play to your positives
Sometimes we spend so much time focused on the things we don’t like about ourselves that we forget about all the positive things we do like.
Playing to your strengths and positive traits is a great way to practice self-acceptance. Focus on the things you know you’re good at and allow that positive energy to motivate you to work on the things you’re not crazy about in yourself.
3. Use affirmations
I love affirmations! I write them and read them every single day. It’s the second thing I do in the morning after writing my gratitude statements. And here’s why…
It’s been my experience that when you repeat your affirmations to yourself regularly, it changes the energy and enables you to put the magic of believing in yourself to work. And there’s nothing that says self-acceptance quite like that unshakeable belief in yourself.
If you’ve never tried using affirmations, give it a go. Try writing them down, saying them out loud, or even recording yourself saying them so that you can listen back to them frequently.
4. Take time to be present
One more thing you can do to practice self-acceptance is to add meditation and mindfulness to your routine. When you can take time to be “in the moment” and just accept whatever thoughts and feeling come up, it helps you let go of worry about the future or other people’s thoughts and focus entirely on yourself, just as you are in that moment
Practicing self-acceptance is important because it allows you to be who you are, and to focus on the qualities you like about yourself. It’s an excellent tool for letting go of negative self-talk and other self-destructive behaviours. And I’m no expert, but for me, it also helps my creativity flow because nothing works when I’m too busy beating myself up to be creative.
When you focus on the good stuff, even at the same time as working on things you’d like to change, being able to accept yourself makes it that much easier to live the life you want, and to do what makes your heart happy.