So what is self acceptance?
Self-acceptance is seeing things as they are. Not complaining against your circumstances or reality. Acknowledging that every thought and experience you’ve ever had has brought your to where you are now – reading these words on this site.
So how do we get to a point of self acceptance?
We get there first and foremost by not being judgmental of our past and what we’ve done wrong. Again, all experiences sum to bring you to where you are today, so be grateful for your past because each experience has in fact shaped you into who you are today.
Secondly, practicing full mindfulness and engagement in whatever you do. Paying exquisite attention to every bite of the food you eat, appreciating the sun’s glimmer through the clouds, wearing clothes that make you feel absolutely beautiful.
Thirdly, you make a conscious effort to be patient with yourself. Recognize that subtle shifts take TIME. Just trust yourself and trust in the power of practice and consistency, and before you know it you will have reprogrammed your mind to really start looking at things with a fresh and new perspective.
If you want a concrete example of how to start on the journey of self-acceptance, I’ve found and adopted a short exercise you can do (thank you to Ronna Detrick for inspiring this exercise). Go to a neutral place (i.e. not in front of your computer or TV) and answer the following questions to yourself. These questions aim to really get you introspective and to take action to get closer to your truth.
If I extended myself endless patience and kindness, I would feel ____________.
If I were to let go of my internal record-keeping, the laundry list of all that I’ve done wrong, and all the places in which I feel inferior, sub-par, or less-than, I would feel ____________.
If I were to be ever-so still and listen for my own internal voice, the one that existed before the irritating ones took over, I would hear these words: ____________.
If I were to do or say whatever I wanted, whatever I felt—no ramifications or risks —I would do/say ____________.
As an example, here’s what my answers were just a few days ago:
Free and relieved. I would take my time with things without rushing through them. I would be more than certain that I would get to the end of what I’m trying to achieve. I would feel no undue pressure nor would I put pressure on anyone else. I would live my life completely free of anxiety.
Reborn. I would know that the past does not dictate my future unless I allow it to. I could start off with a clean slate, blank canvas, and without worrying that my past fears will hold me back from fulfilling my soul’s desires. I can proceed.
Be positive in everything you do, and your success will come. You will have the life of your dreams, but take care of things now.
Please listen to what I have to say. Please let me go forward with doing things my way. Please don’t offer me a reality check. I believe in miracles.
Make a subtle change in your perspective and behavior to align with your truth. The universe will bend and respond to your good intention.
Now do this exercise, and make a slight change to really walk your talk. It doesn’t have to be dramatic. Write these questions and your answers down and have them somewhere where you can easily read them (on the fridge, next to your computer, in Evernote). Make it a point to remind yourself of your own truth at least once a day (do it when you go to the bathroom if you have to) and make that slight change, whether it’s smiling when you normally wouldn’t, making small-talk with a dog’s owner, or eating some broccoli instead of cheese fries, try to do one thing more intentionally than you did yesterday, and watch what shifts in those around you.
Remember: be non-judgmental, mindful, and patient for maximum results. In time, know that taking action makes a statement to the universe and that you’re on a much greater path than what you could have ever thought possible.