Self acceptance is your ability to accept yourself as you are. It is being able to look in the mirror and be pleased and happy with what you see and with what you know yourself to be.
Consider if you may need to reteach yourself self acceptance. If you were allowed to explore and be yourself as a child, learning through self-directed discovery and given encouragement for the interests you developed and pursued, then likely you grew up practising self acceptance.
We "learn" the opposite of self-acceptance. We learn how to be critical, discouraging, and judgmental through the reoccurring messages that we receive in childhood and in observing the behaviours from those who have much influence in our formative years. If a mentor or caregiver was critical and self-effacing, and if you were frequently exposed to criticism, negativity, and words spoken harshly, this can become a 'normative' way for you to think about your self.
Self-acceptance begins with small steps which build on your ability to like and eventually love who you are. Since we are raised learning much of the same as what our caregivers were taught to believe, it is quite likely that we have some work to do on reclaiming the parts of our self that were exposed to criticism and judgment. Self-acceptance also includes relinquishing the need to compare ourselves to others and the stereotypes and expectations that we have learned about how we should be.
Self-acceptance is the path to (self) healing and to the experience of feeling whole and complete. It is also a direct path to BEING LOVE. Unknowingly we do far too much damage with our critical words and the way in which we think about our self. When we learn to practice acceptance and kindness directed within, we repair and heal any hurtful words and actions that may have been caused by what others said or told us that was untrue.
Our awareness of what we were taught to believe helps us reclaim the (fragmented) parts of our self. These are the parts that we dislike, loathe and reject. Our experience of healing comes from awakening to the realization that we were taught what is untrue and that we have the ability to reteach our self how to uphold self-esteem, self worth and self love.
Use visualization to hold an image of yourself as you currently are. See all of what you appreciate and like. Consider what words of kindness, encouragement, and care you would say to a young child if you were seeking to build and nurture their self esteem and self worth. Think of beautiful words to approve and accept yourself. Say them now. Speak them aloud so you can hear them and feel the acceptance directed within. Use the sentence stem, "I am...." before each of these words.
Next, imagine a younger version of yourself standing in front of you. See your younger self as you were. What words do you need to say to this earlier version of yourself that will remind you of all that is good, special and beautiful about who you are? Say these words now as you speak directly with your younger self.
Acknowledge the positive aspects of your younger self that you remember well. Each time you do this 'memory visualization' it is likely that you will remember more personality characteristics and traits that remind you of who you once were - and likely still are - including your many abilities and talents. Maybe you will also remember that there were features, personality traits, or ways of being that you may have been teased or criticized for and therefore perhaps you learned to dislike or disavow. See these aspects of yourself now with loving eyes. See and remember these wonderful attributes as they really were; as perfect, beautiful, creative and passionate. Remember that any impressions and beliefs that you hold about yourself now, originate from what you were taught to believe. Anything that you believe that was not encouraged nor spoken with love is not something that you need to hold onto any longer.
See all of the perfection in who you were and allow yourself to appreciate it now. You were already exactly as you needed to be; loving, playful, intelligent, creative, kind, funny, helpful, and so much more. Allow yourself to acknowledge all aspects of your younger self because in your innocence - you were wonderful and perfect. Choose what adjectives describe all of the goodness of what you were. Tell your younger self - your inner child - these words of appreciation, acceptance, and love - now.
As you continue to reinforce all of the goodness that you were (and still are) focus now on how your younger self feels as you hear what is truth being spoken by you - your adult self. This beautiful sacred healing visualization allows you to reclaim all of your goodness; it allows for you to heal from all of the hurts that you have carried from whatever your were told or taught that was wrong or untrue. Remember that whatever words were spoken to you that caused you sadness, hurt, or suffering were words that your caregiver(s) had learned in their childhood and had likely carried with them throughout their lives. We teach our children what we know and what we believe and not necessarily what is true.
Allow all of the loving words and kindness to be received by your younger self. Feel the effects of your caring and loving nature and of your desire to nurture self-acceptance. Whenever you do this sacred healing and you allow your younger self to receive and reclaim their true nature, you are simultaneously allowing your adult self to receive this wonderful healing. Each time that you continue to do this sacred healing of self-acceptance, you will feel more positive and accepting of your adult self and you will find it easier to appreciate all that you are.
*You may also imagine that you are standing in front of a mirror and speaking to your current self saying the same loving and healing words that allow you to feel your beautiful nature.
Realize that your ideal self is who you already are, without any of the self-criticism, self-loathing, and self-rejection. Feel wholeness that comes with liking and loving all that you are. You can learn to like parts of your self that you are working to change. You begin to like and appreciate who you are because you no longer are unkind and self-deprecating in your inner dialogue.
Liking and accepting your self as you are means that you can work towards change whilst still appreciating and valuing all that you already are. It will help you manifest any change that you seek by envisioning what you want as the outcome.
You may choose to experience this sacred healing of self-acceptance often - to build and reinforce your feelings of self worth and to experience unconditional love and praise. Daily exposure to loving words spoken deliberately is what allows you to nurture positive feelings and your expression of self-acceptance.
Remember that self-acceptance does not require you to be perfect - rather it requires that you see the aspects of who you are that you already like and appreciate and to allow yourself to feel good (and proud) about these. From these positive feelings, you begin to feel encouraged and inspired to seek out more of what you want for your life. Then, you can continue to build self-esteem and self-worth even as you are practising being happy with who you currently are and as you continue to make self-improvements in order to feel even better. Knowing that you have goals for yourself is important. Accomplishing goals that allow us to become a better version of our self, are important life steps that we must all participate in as a facet of our personal growth.
*If there remains any parts of you that you are struggling to accept, please imagine wrapping it in a cocoon of light pink - healing energy. This will help you to feel self-compassion and to feel the energy of self love. If we struggle with accepting a part of our self, this can keep us from doing important healing work. If you can focus on simply sending love to this part of you, and to practice feeling acceptance of it (without judging whether you like this part of you or not), you will feel a greater ease to how you think about yourself including this particular aspect. You may also be more inclined to make positive changes should you desire to about this part of you.
Acknowledge the parts of you that you approve of. Identify for yourself what you appreciate and like about who you are. It's important you find and dwell on what you are accepting of and to do this often. What are other ways that you can accept yourself as you are, as well as the parts of you that perhaps you once rejected? Practice accepting a part of you that you are less than pleased with through compassionate words. Self acceptance is the ability to say to yourself (and aloud): "I accept this part of me (all of me) as it is (as I am) - in this moment. I accept and love myself as I am right now."
Use these words to help offer relief from self criticism and to approve of all that you are even while you may be actively seeking positive changes. By using these specific words you draw new attention to yourself in a loving way; you begin the process of retraining your mind to look for and see all of the beauty and wisdom of what you are; and to approve of yourself. Practice receiving the compassion and love of the words that you have spoken.
What you continually say to yourself becomes what you believe and live by. Even if it is difficult at first to begin speaking kindly and with compassion and love to yourself, being love is about practising loving words and actions directed within. This enables you to feel the experience of self acceptance. What you learn through self acceptance is how to receive kindness and love from yourself.
Many of us have heard the phrase, "You can't truly love others until you love your self." What is really meant by this statement is that we need to be able to hold love for our self as the main source of feeling loved. If you don't feel love for your self by receiving and accepting the positive, loving words that you speak - how can you truly be unconditional in your love of others? If we are unable to believe our own words of love directed within, then are we able to be unconditional in our giving of love to others? Or, do we love others because of the way that we feel as they show us love? We can become caught up in a cycle of doing all that we can in the hopes that others will love us because this is the way we believe that we can feel love. Practising self-acceptance teaches us that we are good enough and worthy of love - and we can love who we are as the most important means of feeling loved.
If you love yourself then you will find it easy to shower yourself with loving words. When you give love to yourself, you feel satisfied; full; and complete. You feel nourished and as though you have enough love - more than enough in fact - to feel positive about yourself. You don't require anyone to build you up, nor to convince you that you are good enough. This is because you are able to feel good about who you are - as you are.
When we are capable of being loving towards who we are then it is a much easier and effortless step to love others unconditionally. We can love unconditionally because we are not basing our love of another on receiving anything in return. We can love them simply for who they are even when we may see that they too are not perfect. BEING LOVE means that our ability to love other beings is not dependent on how others make us feel, nor on how we might expect or want others to treat us.
This is how we become truly free. When we can love others and be loving towards them, we are free to feel our incredible capacity for being love. We may still desire to have relationships with others and to feel a closeness and connection with them, but we are now not dependant on others to (make us) feel a certain way - and particularly - we no longer require others to love us in a certain way because we are loving ourselves in the way that we need it.
Self love is nurtured by our self-acceptance and our ability to love and appreciate who we are as we are - even if we are also working to improve aspects of our self. What we become is a work-in-progress. We can accomplish much positive change and yet remain open to what aspects of our self we might continue to seek improvement on. Accept and approve of your self even if you are knowingly seeking to become more. This allows you to be happy with yourself now and not dependant on being something different in order to feel good enough, deserving, or worthy.
MP3 Music Credits: 1) Walked Along the Deserted Seashore (original mix) Sad Radio On Cassini 2) Clutch by Good Weather For An Airstrike 3) Eclipse Illumina by Der Waldlaufer 4) Autumn light Pt 2 by Ishq