It’s only recently that I learned what it means to accept myself, and then be able to offer the same level of acceptance to others. Trust me, I’m still learning how to do this day-to-day. On some days, I’m better at it than others. And that’s okay – I can accept that (see?).
Let’s talk about what it means to accept yourself…
1. You accept all of your attributes, the positive and the not-so-positive. You accept all of it in this very moment. Say goodbye to the constantly nagging voice in your head that says, “If only….” Chances are that your positives outweigh the rest, but it takes clarity to realize that.
2. You accept this very moment the way it is. Let go of what was, should have been, could have been, and would have been. Forget the “What ifs…” Leave the past behind you. Yes, it has made you who you are, but focus on where you are rather than on how you got there. This moment…just is. Accept it the way it is.
3. You accept what you have rather than what you wish you had. Don’t compare yourself to your siblings, your friends, or your colleagues. Don’t compare or judge yourself at all. Don’t let your fear-driven brain tell you that you’re not good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough. Stop wishing you were 10 lbs lighter, had a higher salary, or lived in another country. This one is tough. Can you do it?
4. You accept that the future has yet to come. Let go what may (or may not) come, how it will present itself, and how you will feel then. There is happiness in this very moment. You don’t have to wait 6 months, 5 years, or a lifetime to be happy. Just focus on the present moment.
5. You accept that there is room for growth. Pick the one or two things you would like to improve/change about yourself. Work out a plan as to how you will accomplish your goals in the next three months and how you will evaluate yourself. Each day’s challenges and opportunities are unique. Thus, the progress you make from day-to-day varies and accumulates. Don’t give up if you can’t work out for two days in a row or if you cheated on your diet three times this week. Keep the end goal in mind and get back on track as soon as you can.
And lastly, the best-kept secret for self-acceptance: meditation.