The Importance of Self-Acceptance
The sense that “you matter to someone,” or the sense that someone appreciates, loves, cares, and admires you makes you feel good. There is no doubt in saying that it makes everyone feel good—it can even lead to a state of ecstasy. Unconditional love is something we all yearn for, but what we lack is self-love and self-acceptance. We refuse to appreciate ourselves for who we are, and we don’t look to ourselves for approval—we crave the approval of others. More than 85% of people struggle with self-acceptance or low self-esteem, so you’re not alone.
(Image is courtesy of Wix)
Let’s begin with a definition of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as acknowledging and rewarding your talents, competencies, and achievements. Here’s a quote from Lao Tzu to get a better hang of the definition: “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn't try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn't need others' approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
So why is self-acceptance so important? First and foremost, when you accept yourself in terms of body, mind, and soul, it will be easier for the people around you to accept you for who you are and not who you’re not. You’ll surround yourself with individuals who genuinely appreciate you for who you are. This way, you'll form long-lasting friendships, whereas if you’re impersonating someone you’re not, you will never be loved for who you are. And who YOU ARE is worth millions more than who you are not.
So, the next time you unhealthily compare yourself to others or measure your achievements by societal standards, remember that you/who you are deserves to be loved, and choose to show yourself some self-love.
How can you show yourself that you are WORTH it? One size certainly doesn't fit all, but here are some ideas to get you started on developing self-acceptance:
Celebrate your strengths and achievements. It may help to write these down, put them in a jar, and pull one out whenever you’re feeling discouraged.
Be kind to/gentle with yourself. Whether you have done something subpar to your moral standards or you haven’t been as productive as you aimed to be, forgive yourself and begin anew the next day. Let’s be real, we are all surviving through the pandemic; that alone is difficult enough. Show yourself some love by doing something you love every day, whether that be treating yourself to a spa, going out with your friends (not during the pandemic though), watching a movie with your friends (virtually), going out for a socially distant walk, or simply picking up a good book.
Be mindful that accepting yourself for who you are isn’t resignation. Rather, it means that you are letting go of events in the past and future that you cannot control, so you are able to focus your energy on empowerment and events that you can control.
Now, as you come to the end of this article, we once again stress the importance of self-love and acceptance. This will be a difficult step, but a great achievement. As Ralph Eldo Emerson states, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Remember, you can only be your best self if you accept yourself for who you are.
Article Author: Michelle Xiao
Article Editors: Stephanie Sahadeo, Sherilyn Wen