Many, if not all of us, struggle to accept ourselves unconditionally. While we may celebrate some parts of ourselves, acknowledging our failures or weaknesses often brings an overwhelming sense of judgment and resentment. Self-acceptance is crucial for your well-being; without it, it is easy to be overly judgmental and critical towards yourself. These negative emotions hold you back from living the fulfilling, happy life you were meant to live! Achieving unconditional self-acceptance won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! Keep reading for a complete guide to accepting yourself unconditionally, so you can kick that inner critic to the curb!
What is Self-Acceptance?
Self-acceptance, as the name suggests, is the complete acceptance of all parts of yourself. The good and bad, and the positive and negative. It’s about learning to love yourself, inside and out. Self-acceptance is letting go of the things you can’t change and loving all the things about you that make you who you are!
Why is it so Hard to Accept Yourself?
You might be wondering why you should accept your flaws. Why would I want to accept the things I dislike about myself? Shouldn’t I be trying to fix them? But when we obsess over our flaws, they tend to become bigger in our heads. Our inner critic loves to dwell on all the negative aspects of oneself. For that reason, we often forget to focus on all the special, unique qualities we have.
Or, we don’t believe we’re deserving of self-acceptance just yet. We say things like “I’ll feel good about myself once I get a better job” or “I will love myself once I lose weight.” Too often, we place conditions on our self-acceptance. We feel we must change or achieve certain goals before we accept ourselves fully. While it is damn hard to accept yourself, it’s certainly not impossible!
How to Practice Accepting Yourself Unconditionally
Self-acceptance isn’t going to happen right away. It may take weeks or even years for you to get there, and that’s perfectly okay! You will have to put in the work, but learning how to accept yourself unconditionally will positively impact all areas of your life.
Here are 5 tips to help you get started with accepting yourself unconditionally.
Be Kind to Yourself
We’re more than happy to hype up our friends or pay a compliment to a stranger. But when it comes to ourselves, we usually fall short. Let’s change that! Take the time to appreciate yourself as much as you do others. If you do something you are proud of, really take a moment to relish in your achievement. Pay yourself a compliment, or practice positive affirmations (these cards will help if you don’t know where to start.) Or treat yourself to a little something special. A glass of wine, a soak in a bubble bath, or a rom-com in bed are simple ways you can be kind to yourself. You deserve it!
Surround Yourself With Positivity
Surround yourself with as much positivity as possible! While it’s important to be around positive people and in uplifting environments, you can spread positivity by yourself too! Make a list of all your positive attributes. They can include your personality, your beautiful smile, and your talents! Or, you can literally surround yourself with positivity by sprinkling positive post-it notes around your house for a cute pick-me-up throughout the day. If you’re struggling with ways to practice being positive, a gratitude journal is a simple way to express gratitude and focus on your blessings.
We all mess up and make mistakes. Maybe you said something embarrassing at a work function or did something you seriously regret. Whatever it is, big or small, you must forgive yourself and move forward. Forgiving yourself doesn’t mean letting yourself off the hook. It means you accept what has happened, acknowledge the situation, and no longer want to dwell on things that can not be changed. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you can forgive others, you can forgive yourself too. (Try to laugh at yourself as much as you can, life’s more fun when you don’t take yourself too seriously!)
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment rather than living in the past or worrying about the future. When you practice mindfulness, it forces you to slow down, listen to yourself and appreciate all the little things that may otherwise go unnoticed. To practice mindfulness, sit comfortably, close your eyes and try to focus on your breath. If thoughts come up, don’t try to push them away, just notice them as they are. You can start with as little as 5 minutes a day and eventually, work your way up if it resonates with you. Plus, it’s a great excuse to treat yourself to a dreamy meditation cushion!
Let go of Comparison
Being unique is what makes you special, so try not to get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Sounds impossible, I know, but actively noticing when you’re making these comparisons is a good place to start. Don’t feel bad for noticing these thoughts, just acknowledge them and change your focus. You could shift your focus to appreciating all you are lucky enough to have, and the people in your life who care about you. But just remember, we’ve all had different experiences and grow at different paces. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to compare our lives to someone who hasn’t walked in our shoes.
You’re not alone if you’ve ever compared the way you look to someone else. Check out our article Overcoming The Challange of Insecurities to Find Body Acceptance to help you leave comparisons in the past!
Your road to accepting yourself unconditionally may be a long one filled with twists and turns. But being able to accept all parts of ourselves without shame, judgment or resentment makes the process worth it.
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