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How to Practice Self-Acceptance

March 10, 2019 by

Having self-acceptance is an important part of having proper mental health. It includes loving your body, protecting yourself from negativity, and believing in your abilities. When you are able to be self-compassionate, you can soothe yourself when needed and you don’t pass judgements upon yourself.

Learning self-compassion may eliminate many of the negative impacts that are associated with trying to be a perfectionist. You can increase your self-compassion by using meditation, daily journaling, and talking to yourself the same way you would talk to a close friend.

The truth is, many of us are too critical of ourselves and do negative self-talk, setting us up for mental and physical health problems. However, taking the time to gain self-acceptance and be compassionate toward yourself is an important part of being healthy and happy.

Self-acceptance involves accepting both your positive and negative attributes. It lets your evaluate your efficient and inefficient features and accept your weaknesses as part of your personality. People with high levels of self-acceptance typically also have high self-esteem and personal satisfaction. They also have a lower chance of suffering from depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Self-acceptance may be especially important to your wellbeing if you suffer from a disability or chronic illness. It can facilitate healing and help you cope and engage in healthy habits to increase your quality of life.

Without self-acceptance, you may experience feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, depression, and self-blame, which inhibit feelings of motivation and positive behaviors. For example, a study performed on people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis showed that those who had unconditional self-acceptance were at a lower risk of experiencing anxiety and negative thoughts, which improved their quality of life.

An important thing to remember when practicing self-acceptance is to avoid aiming for perfection. Part of being able to accept yourself involves identifying your strengths and coming to peace with your weaknesses. This doesn’t mean you should try to be perfect, which has been associated with psychological distress and depression. Putting pressure on yourself to achieve perfection has been linked to the personalities of those who are prone to suicidal ideations and attempts.

While striving to achieve high goals isn’t unhealthy, if you add in self-criticism with that striving to achieve and you have a high concern regarding making mistakes or the judgements from other people, problems begin to arise.

However, self-compassion is known to decrease the link between being a perfectionist and suffering from depression, meaning that learning to be kind to yourself could eliminate a lot of the negative impacts that are associated with perfectionism.

Self-compassion is a regulation strategy that allows you to be aware of your distressing feelings without letting them overcome you. It allows you to accept these feelings and realize that everyone experiences them. With self-compassion, you’re willing to learn from your mistakes and move on.

Having self-compassion is different from having high self-esteem. It is true that high self-esteem is also linked to lower levels of depression and anxiety, it can also have some downsides, such as being associated with narcissism. High self-esteem can involve a need to feel superior to other people. In our society, it seems unacceptable to be just average, which gives people a tendency to puff themselves up and put other people down. This then creates a distance between people that undermines human connection.

And while low self-esteem has been linked to health problems, high self-esteem does not alternatively lead to gains in one’s academic or professional performance or decrease any risky behaviors in children like you may expect.

So, how do you practice self-love and acceptance? Meditation techniques, such as loving-kindness meditation and compassion meditation are both helpful methods and can help you improve your positive emotional state.

There are also several self-compassion exercises that you can do, including keeping a daily self-compassion journal, where you write down examples of any time throughout the day where you judged yourself or felt negatively about yourself. Then, connect those negative feelings to other people by reflected on how other people have probably experienced those same feelings.

Finally, write comforting words of understanding to yourself. Write yourself a letter about your imperfections and any feelings of inadequacy. Then, write yourself a letter from the perspective of a good friend who loves you unconditionally, and read it later on.

In order to practice self-compassion, keep yourself healthy. Don’t give into things that will make you feel good in the short term such as drugs, overeating, or oversleeping, because they will put you at a disadvantage in the long run. Take care of your mind and body in order to live your best life.

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