There are more than a few clichés advocating self acceptance. While the messages are generally valuable, they lend little direction to practical application. The reality is that you can’t simply decide to accept yourself. You can decide to not to let others define you. You can decide not to compare yourself to others. You can even decide to stop hating yourself. But you can’t just decide that you are who you want to be and suddenly the world is rose colored. If you were who you wanted to be you wouldn’t need to be forcing acceptance.
This is however how most people proceed. They “decide” they like themselves and adopt an attitude of false acceptance, maybe even superiority. They lie to themselves, constantly proclaiming they don’t care what people think, and boast that they’re beautiful in their own way. This is of course, all bullshit. All they achieve is buried anger and fragile illusions. Merely approving of yourself to spite the world is not acceptance, and it’s a horrible way to live.
Accepting yourself is not achieved through mantras and is more than simply acknowledging your quirks. It requires honest and deep introspection and the evaluation of which of your characteristics define you, and which of them imprison you. Most importantly you must decide what you value about yourself. This is no small task and isn’t achieved overnight. Very often, due to the long term effects of social rejection and empty self-comparisons, we see our best and most individualizing aspects as the ones we like the least. Being able to appropriately identify your qualities is a long process and an acquired self-awareness, but eventually, with honest practice you can truly accept yourself without reservation.
HOW TO (practical advice):
Accepting yourself follows the exact same principal as attracting others to you. You must become someone to which to aspire. This seems an odd suggestion at first. How can you be both the model to which you aspire and the person aspiring? It does hurt the brain a bit. The simplest – but just as ambiguous – answer is that you envision the best you and then act like that person. This isn’t an arbitrary visualization where you imagine that you’re rich then money magically comes to you. The goal is not to become some fantasy version of you, it is to truly become You. The You detached from your fears, beyond your past, and clear in your character.
Once you can become this version of you, then you can achieve anything else within your abilities and aptitude. In truly being able to accept yourself, no matter what you choose to do professionally, socially, or creatively; you will know it is what you chose to do based on your pure desire. Not to impress others, not to fit in, not to attempt to fill an emotional void; but because you wanted to achieve it.
Only when we truly know ourselves, can we know what we want, and know that we’re driven by our passions and not our insecurities.
Easier said than done? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Your life is an adventure worth living,