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  • Writer's pictureDena Lampert

The Power of Self-Acceptance

Something I’ve noticed a lot recently in my clients is that so many of them speak very negatively about themselves. Lots of them are struggling with their weight, their body image, their idea of how people perceive them, what they have or haven’t accomplished in life, and this leads to a lot of negative self-talk and stress. And this negative self-talk can affect us in very powerful ways.


If we think negatively of ourselves, we are less likely to believe we can do the things we want, which in turn often leads to us giving up more easily and not trying as hard. If we don’t believe we deserve something, then we might not try at all. All these goals are most likely achievable and attainable, but simply thinking negatively about ourselves is often enough to get in the way of us achieving what we want.


Negative self-talk can affect us in some pretty damaging ways. One study found that rumination and self-blame over negative events were linked to an increased risk of mental health problems. In addition, focusing on negative thoughts over positive ones can lead to decreased motivation and even depression.


Self-acceptance is key to reducing this negative self-talk and allowing ourselves the space to accept as we are and embrace our perceived flaws. Self-acceptance is embracing yourself with no conditions attached. You accept all your flaws and imperfections just the same as you accept your strengths. No part of you is bad—you are just you. By truly accepting ourselves, we allow for more opportunities to work towards our goals with a reduction of negative self-talk.


So how do we become more self-accepting?


1. Accepting yourself doesn’t mean loving every part of you


We all have parts of ourselves that we don’t love—whether that be our bodies or parts of our personality—and that’s ok. It’s totally normal not to love every part of yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t accept it. Maybe you get frustrated more easily than your friends, or you need more time to yourself, or you wish your body looked a little different. Whatever it is, the key is to just accept every part of you, not to love every part. You’re not saying that your perceived flaws are now the most lovable, you’re just accepting that they are part of you and that’s ok.


2. Practice gratitude


Practicing gratitude can be a great way to combat negative self-talk and become more self-accepting. It might be difficult to start, but we all know that good things come with practice. By practicing gratitude, we are reframing our thoughts in a way that makes us feel thankful for our experiences. For example, instead of thinking “why do I put on weight so easily? I wish I could eat anything I want without putting on any weight”, try reframing this thought in a more positive way: “I’m grateful that my body puts on weight easily because it makes me more conscious of my health and the foods that I’m eating. Without this, I would be more inclined to eat unhealthily.”


3. Stop comparing yourself to other people


If I could rank these tips in order of importance, this would come top of the list. Nothing positive or self-accepting ever came from comparing ourselves to others, and what a boring place the world would be if we were all the same! Your traits, appearance, and personality are all things that make you, you—without them, you would be someone completely different. Instead of comparing yourself to others, start focusing solely on yourself, your goals, your dreams, and what you want.


4. Forgive yourself


Forgiveness plays a huge role in becoming more self-accepting. Whatever it is that you did in the past, it’s exactly that…in the past. There’s nothing you can do to change the past, but you can change in the present. We all make mistakes, it’s just part of life. By forgiving ourselves for our mistakes and misgivings, we give ourselves the space and the permission to move forward.


5. Be kind to yourself


Self-compassion and self-acceptance go hand in hand. We can only truly accept ourselves when we know how to be kind to ourselves. When you experience negative self-talk, try reframing it into something more positive. You can also change your environment to reinforce this positivity. Maybe hang up posters or set a reminder on your phone with positive affirmations. When you feel insecurity and doubt creeping into your thoughts, turn to one of these positive things in your environment.


By becoming more self-accepting we become happier, freer, and experience more empowerment. The benefits are endless. If you’re struggling with negative self-talk and are looking for some support in reframing your thinking and becoming more self-accepting and positive, reach out to one of our therapists. We’re here to help.

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