Similar to the self-care challenges for the year, I want to work on a specific focus for my wellness Wednesday post for each month. I decided to choose emotional self-care factors that we tend to struggle with such as compassion, mindfulness, acceptance, motivation, and so on. For the month of January, I want us to work on being more accepting, not just acceptance of ourselves, but in other areas and ways that affect our lives that we can’t control. So for the next three Wednesdays in the month, I will write on topics dealing with acceptance. This week I want us to focus on self-acceptance. What do you think of when you hear the word self-acceptance? What is your definition? Positive Psychology defines it as “embracing who we are without any conditions, qualifications and exceptions.” My definition is similar. When I think of self-acceptance, I think about being less critical and more loving of myself just as I am. Even if they’re things I wish I could change. I try to focus on appreciating what I have now, while knowing that I have the ability to make changes if I want things to be better. But I know that’s not always easy especially if your voice is not the only voice that’s criticizing you (e.g. family and friends). Accepting ourselves definitely takes practice, we all know this.
Self-acceptance can be especially difficult when we feel criticized or judged by others. It takes a strong person to love who they are just as they are in spite of what others may think. In instances like these, we have to remember that often times what others say and think of us has more to do with them and nothing to do with us. I think a person who’s secure with themselves will likely encourage us to celebrate who we are instead of guilting us into making changes to please them and society. In some cases we are our own worse critic. I personally believe that at some point in our lives, we are all extremely hard on ourselves for a variety of reasons. It can be based on insecurity, comparing ourselves to others, what we hear from the media, what others say about us (and if you’re criticized by others often enough, you’ll start to believe it). My point here is, no one really has it all together ALL THE TIME even if it looks like they always do.
Some questions we can ask ourselves when we lack self-acceptance is why we want to change? Is it outside sources that’s making you feel this way or is it truly how you feel? If you feel this way without any impeding factors, why don’t you like these things about yourself? You all know I say this a lot but dig deep to find your answer. We don’t accomplish much when we settle with answers like “it’s just how I feel, I don’t know why and I can’t explain it.” Sometimes when we really dig deep and give ourselves time to assess everything, we can get to the root cause of what’s really going on inside of us.
There are so many tools we can use to work on being more self-accepting, but these are the four I chose to focus on.
Tip #1: SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE POEPLE or follow them on social media. I love following people on social media who always share positive and motivational messages. One of my favorites is alexelle. Alexelle is an author and wellness consultant. She says “writing came into her life by way of therapy and the exploration of healing through journaling.” She’s also the host of the hey girl podcast and she’s written several books such as After the Rain and Neon Soul. But we have to be careful, there’s a big difference between following someone who’s motivating and positive, and someone who creates this facade of a lifestyle that makes you question your worth, yourself, your success, and your capabilities. They are not the same people, the latter is not who I’m referring to. The point is for you to think “Wow, I feel inspired” not “Wow I wish my life was like that.” In addition to alexelle, here are a few others that I follow on Instagram. Their messages empower me.
Tip #2: WORK WITH YOUR INNER CRITIC, NOT AGAINST IT our inner critic is POWERFUL. It manages to break down the strongest of us all. You really have to be secure with yourself in order to not let it get the best of you. We all have an inner critic. And I feel like we’ve gotten to a place where we have allowed this voice to completely dominate us because that’s what it’s “supposed to do.” But what if we work with it, instead of against it. “Work with it” as in show more compassion. For example, when that negative self talk kicks in, try a coaching exercise like “I hear you, I know you’re present, but what you’re saying is not real or true.” This may not come easy but if you do it often enough, you’ll start to see changes in how you think and feel about yourself. Sometimes just being aware of the voice and knowing that it will bring forth negativity is enough, just as long as you know that what it says isn’t accurate.
Tip #3: THERAPY because we can’t always do everything by ourselves, no matter how strong or tough we think we are. Years ago an old co-worker said her mom told her that therapy was for the weak. That’s not true and it’s never been true. How can wanting to work on yourself and becoming a better person be a sign of weakness? I’ll say that again. HOW CAN WANTING TO WORK ON YOURSELF AND BECOMING A BETTER PERSON BE A SIGN OF WEAKNESS? In fact, those who choose to seek therapy are brave. Especially if you come from a background or family where seeking help is frowned up on. Your life should not be centered around making choices in order to make others see you a certain way. Your life should be centered around making choices that will help you heal, uplift you, help you grow and improve your wellbeing. And if therapy will help you with that, then be brave and go for it.
Tip #4 MINDSET it’s all in how you see, and what you think about yourself. We all have things we want to change but we have to remember that we are made up of so much more than the things we want to change. Even if the things you want to change is interfering with your wellbeing or health, there are still so many other great qualities that we possess. Focus on those qualities while working on being a better version of you. Our flaws should not overpower all the factors that make us who we are. Adjust your mindset and focus on the good things not just the things that make you feel insecure. Some tools you can use to help with this are mentioned above (therapy and surrounding yourself with positive people) but you can also try using affirmations. Find some that resonates with you and repeat them on a daily basis. You can also try using these:
- I am worthy and good enough
- The world needs me to be me
- I am unique and that is my power
- All I need is within me now
Most of the affirmations above were taken from my Shop Lovet Agency Self-Care Planner. Another option would be write yourself a love letter. I created a template that you can use in this blog post and you can also use this affirmation activity worksheet that I created in this post.
I love the saying play the hell out the cards you’re dealt because when it comes down to it, what other choice do we have? Wasting your time hoping for a life you wish you could have takes away from the mere joy of being you and what you already have. You can literally miss your whole life if you’re not paying attention to what matters the most, YOU! This is not meant to discourage you from wanting better, the point is to encourage you to accept who and what you are now while working towards being a better version of yourself. What tools would you add to being more self-accepting? Let’s Chat!