Acceptance. A word so common to us, yet the least used. We’ll happily use the word, yet we’re not comfortable doing what it says on the tin.
An absence of self-acceptance can have damaging implications on our mental health, according to Headspace. This was validated by studies that showed “diminished self-acceptance can threaten our psychological well-being”. Not only does it make us feel awful but it’s proven to be unhealthy for our minds too, unsurprisingly.
Self-acceptance has got to be one of the hardest things to accept, ironically. It’s seldom something we want to do or even consider. We’re just too busy for all of that malarkey. Truthfully? Because we don’t deem ourselves to be worthy enough.
Whether you realise it or not, our self-hate stems from something. A comment made or the way somebody made you feel about yourself. We aren’t born hating ourselves. The same as we aren’t born with judgement. We learn to reject others and sometimes ourselves because what we are taught is the “norm”. As children, we would let our hair down, run around like there’s no tomorrow and just feel comfortable in our own skin, inside too. The joys of growing up bring about people trying to tell you who you should be, what you should do, and how you should be. Forget the “should”. Happiness won’t come from “should”, I can assure you.
Truth be told, self-acceptance is something I too am working on this year. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s by no means an overnight process. Determination and willingness to try every single day are a necessity. Self-acceptance doesn’t have to be and isn’t a war. It’s simply knocking down one negative voice in the back of your mind, one day, week or month at a time. The important part is that progression is being made. The willingness to try.
I’m certain that you’re thinking to yourself “but what if I don’t deserve self-acceptance?” and I completely understand. The fear of actually letting go of a habit you’ve known for however many years can feel daunting. You’re so used to putting yourself down and thinking negative thoughts about yourself that it’s become second nature. It’s like peeling another layer of an onion. However, just like onions, no matter how many layers you peel back, the same you will remain. Just a little better (thank you, Shrek).
It’s hard to accept who you are, physically, mentally or even both when society tries to fit each of us into the same mould. A mould based on what’s “in”. We are in a constant illusion that who we are isn’t worthy enough of happiness, love, success – whatever it is. But, please note that greats like:
And many more, might not have made it had they not been seen as eccentric.
Who you are is enough and you don’t, ever, need to try to be anything else than who you truly are. Life may throw some people in your path that don’t like or understand you, but it’ll also throw in some that adore and admire you.
To finish this off, I’ll leave this little gem written by E. K. Bradley for Tiny Buddha that sums self-acceptance up completely – “Our common culture is one that values acceptance from the group over self-acceptance”
Ciao for now x