Self-acceptance is pivotal when you’re trying to become a better version of yourself (and in general) to live a fulfilling life
We live in a world where competition and perfectionism are the norm. Between the perfectly curated social media feeds and being number one, it is easy to see your shortcomings.
I used to harp on those shortcomings when I made a mistake or others seemed better at it than I was. Even when I wanted it so badly or I tried so hard to be perfect.
Even something as simple as accepting a compliment or a good job can be challenging. It seems backward that we often deflect when someone says we look pretty but if someone told us our outfit was terrible, we’d never wear it again.
But this narrative has got to change.
You can make the decision today to start accepting yourself more and giving yourself more grace.
You can be driven and still stay in your own lane. While yes there is proof out there of what is possible, you aren’t them so you’re going to do it differently.
It’s not about reinventing the wheel but putting your own unique twist on it. No one has the same experience or perspective as you.
And you don’t know the whole story. They definitely had their failures, doubts, and limiting beliefs because that is part of the human experience.
Because no one is perfect.
Everybody makes mistakes (cue Hannah Montana)
When we start to make the mindset shift from competing with others to competing with ourselves, something beautiful can happen.
We can accept where we are at the moment and still make the choice to better ourselves. That good old growth mindset that we are ever-changing humans.
And with some patience, grace, and practice, we can get better than we were yesterday. We can make a mistake and not take it so personally. That it is just part of the process of developing into who we are meant to become.
Since that’s all it takes. 1% better every day.
The good old compound effect.
It gives you the permission slip to mess up and learn from those mistakes. To try new things and see what works and what doesn’t.
But I get it.
You know that loving and accepting yourself is good but it is just.so.hard.
Every time you try to stay in your own lane or accept a compliment, your natural response is to look at the person next to you or say thanks, but no (or nervous laugh that compliment off ?♀️).
And yes while it does take practice, just like anything in the personal development realm, I’m going to share with you what has helped me over the years.
Because it is us against the world when it comes to accepting ourselves fully.
Because otherwise the beauty industry and the diet industry would suffer. They are banking on us not loving and accepting ourselves. So there is a ton of content out there that is meant to make us feel like something is missing, that something is wrong with us.
But it’s not you. You are imperfectly perfect just the way you are. No one is YOU as well as you are. Remember that when you’re wishing away pieces of yourself.
Self-acceptance is possible for you and here is how you can work towards fully accepting yourself on your personal growth journey.
But first, what is self-acceptance?
Self-acceptance is all about accepting all parts of you (even that pesky shadow side of yours). With self-acceptance, you can truly have a love for yourself and it is easier to deflect criticism because you know you are awesome.
Just the way you are.
Self-acceptance goes hand in hand with confidence. If you think you need to be perfect and that you won’t make a mistake, then it is going to be hard to accept yourself when you mess up. It’s going to be hard for you to go outside your comfort zone and stretch yourself to become a better version of yourself.
Think about your partner or your family. You love them but they aren’t perfect, right? Well, the same goes for you.
There are going to be parts of yourself that you aren’t necessarily proud of but you accept it. This awareness builds self-esteem, self-compassion, and the ability to truly be yourself.
Tips to Build Self-Acceptance on your Personal Growth Journey
It may seem a little contradictory that you can accept yourself fully and be on a personal development journey at the same time. The point is to truly accept yourself right? Then how can you truly accept yourself AND tell yourself that you need to be better?
But that’s the thing. You’re trying to be a better version of yourself.
Not your coworker who is outgoing and can crush a presentation while you feel like you’re going to barf or pass out.
Not your partner who has a knack for thinking on their feet while you seem to get tongue-tied.
You can be at peace with who you are and still want more. As humans, we aren’t meant to be stagnant. We’re meant to be constantly growing and evolving.
To experience new things and gain new perspectives. If you’re open to new opportunities and experiences, you can have a strong sense of self-acceptance and still change your mind or learn from your experiences.
So here are some tips I keep in mind on my personal development journey so that these ideas can co-inhabit in my life.
1. Accept the things you cannot change
For a long time, I thought it was a bad thing to be quiet. But I’ve learned that being quiet can be quite powerful.
Being able to truly listen to someone and be empathetic toward what they are saying can be a powerful communication tactic but oftentimes in society being the loudest is perceived as the best.
And for the longest time, I wished that I could speak louder or be able to talk to strangers without my mind going blank.
But now that I have accepted that I’m an introvert and that it isn’t a bad thing, I’m able to show up to social events and listen more than I speak.
When someone says “Oh, you’re so quiet,” I don’t take offense to it.
Because these things are facts. I am quiet but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. I can still build deep connections with others and be successful in social situations.
If you accept the things you cannot change then you can set more realistic goals. Now, I’m not saying don’t reach for the stars but if you realize what you can change then you can set goals around that and you’ll be much more successful.
2. Cater to your strengths
Once you can accept the things you cannot change, you can also lean into the things that you’re naturally good at.
Just like some people have a knack for thinking on their feet, others have a knack for writing.
While yes, you can do whatever your heart desires and you can get better at anything with a little practice, there are things that are going to come more naturally to you. That’s just part of being human.
An example is that I’m short so I’ve never been very good at basketball or I’m super pale so I’ve never been good at tanning.
It doesn’t mean I can’t play basketball or I can’t tan at all. It just takes a little more work.
But if you set goals that complement your strengths, it is going to be a little easier and most likely more enjoyable.
And sometimes your strengths can be hidden. For example, I recently read a story in Quiet by Susan Cain about a lawyer who thought that she couldn’t be a good defense lawyer because of her quiet demeanor.
However, she was able to win her case and was told they never saw someone be “nice and tough at the same time”.
So she wasn’t the stereotypical lawyer but she learned to lean into her strengths to be a great lawyer.
3. Practice Gratitude
It’s easy to hop aboard the negativity train. It’s easy to complain and that life is hard but good things are happening all around you.
It may be that you have a loving partner or family to support you.
That you have children
That you’re absolutely crushing it at work
Or it could be that the sun was out today or that you could walk on your own two feet.
Taking the time to be thankful for what you have is a great way to make your life seem more pleasant and fulfilling.
Because we all have something that we can be grateful for. Getting into the habit of recognizing that daily is going to really boost your mood and acceptance of your life.
Especially when you’re chasing goals and trying to be better because you are going to fail. I fail all the time, it is just part of life but if we’re able to be grateful for the process, it is going to give us a better perspective.
Not sure where to get started? Check out my 30-day gratitude challenge here.
4. Check your surroundings
I’m not going to pretend that what we consume on a daily basis doesn’t affect us.
If you’re following models on social media or people living affluent lives, it’s hard to not feel a little flabby or that your bank account is missing a few digits.
Or I know that I’m guilty of this but if everyone around you is complaining about being fat or having flabby arms, it’s hard to not feel the same way.
And I’m not going to be unrealistic and say cut all of that negativity out. You’re definitely going to see it but you can try to limit it.
If there is someone in your life that is continually bringing you down (and never making you feel good) or a social media account that makes you feel like crap every time you look at it, you may want to re-evaluate.
Because no one has the right to make you feel like crap. They may be doing it unintentionally but then talk to them. I would talk to your friends or family if they are bringing you down. If they love you, they will stop and it definitely wouldn’t hurt for them to speak kinder about their bodies or self.
As far as social media goes, you get to decide whose content you consume. So take a look at your account and unfollow any account that is bringing negativity into your life.
5. How’s your inner critic?
People could be singing your praises but if your inner critic is deflecting compliments or diminishing your accomplishments, something has gotta change.
Because what you say to yourself makes a difference. So take note of how you speak to yourself and work on reframing your negative thoughts.
Your mindset is everything and that inner critic can be LOUD. Especially if you’re someone who looks inwards a lot.
If you need some help silencing your inner critic, I create a free mini e-book just for you, so sign up for my email list below and grab a copy.
6. Forgive yourself
You have to make sure you forgive yourself when you mess up. This crazy journey called life is not a linear path and it is definitely not easy.
You’re going to change your mind, mess up, fail, succeed, and everything in between.
But you have to forgive yourself. This idea is wrapped up in the other tips but I think it is important to say it again.
I like to replay scenarios in my head. It is something that I continually have to work on but the other day I was playing card games with my friends and after we were done playing, two of my friends were sorting the decks back into two separate decks.
I walked up mid-sort and said “oh her way was actually better,” (since she was behind at first) and it offended my friend. I didn’t mean anything by it, I just thought my other friend was going to finish first but she took it to mean that I was calling her dumb.
I told her that’s not what I meant and I apologized for making her feel that way but I can’t change it. The only thing I can do is stop beating myself up about it and move on. The funny thing is she probably forgot about it and I obviously didn’t since I’m writing about it now.
The only thing you can change is what you do going forward. I can’t change the way she perceived my words. I can acknowledge it and clarify but I am only in charge of myself and my reaction. I can decide if I’m going to beat myself up about the miscommunication or forgive myself and work on communicating better going forward. We can be one percent better tomorrow but today, we’re pretty great too.
7. Celebrate your wins
Lastly, toot your own horn. Celebrate that promotion or when you forgave yourself and let it go faster than you did in the past.
Be your biggest fan. Sure, you may have loved ones around you who will lift you up but what you say to yourself matters the most.
After all, you spend the most time with yourself. Every minute of every day to be exact.
You don’t want to fill it with negativity.
So boost that ego, tell yourself that you’re kicking butt, that your butt looks good in those jeans.
Lift yourself up girl!
Because trust me, life is truly better that way.
I have found that on my journey to better myself, my self-acceptance has grown in the process. It has taught me to celebrate small wins and to accept myself for who I am.
I’ve learned a lot about being an introvert and how being quiet isn’t a bad thing. I’ve learned that I’m not alone in feeling these thoughts.
That my inner critic doesn’t deserve the amount of attention that I use to give her.
I’ve learned how to free myself from all the negativity and it’s lifted a huge weight off my shoulder.
I’ve learned to love myself and that I’m pretty awesome with a lot to share. That my opinion matters.
So if you take the leap to better yourself, I truly believe that learning to truly accept yourself is just part of the process.
Not a contradiction but a complementary part of it.
Until next time,
More on Self-love
- Self Love 101: 19 Ways to Learn How to Love Yourself
- 28 self love goals to set to boost your confidence
- 121 things to love about yourself