What Does Self-Acceptance Actually Mean?

It might surprise you to know that self-acceptance doesn't happen automatically. Self-acceptance refers to recognizing your imperfections and accepting them for what they are.

Rather than condemning yourself, you can stop obsessing about yourself and what people think of you. You can then focus on making changes that will help you feel happier.


It might all seem easy enough. But when you do a self-analysis and consider the question, "Do I accept myself?" it might feel odd. After all, what does accepting yourself even mean? And don't we already accept ourselves as we live every day?


But it might surprise you to know that self-acceptance doesn't happen automatically. Many people struggle to accept themselves for who they are, even when they're delighted with their lives.


Self-acceptance isn't about loving yourself. It doesn't mean that you're saying, "I'm wonderful." It means you accept the way you look and the way you behave. It means you admit that others might not like you because you're different from everyone else.


So, what steps can you take to better accept yourself?

  1. Become more compassionate about yourself. Before embarking on this journey, many people find themselves in a cycle of berating themselves and wishing they were different. That can be stressful and highly detrimental.

  2. Instead of constantly comparing yourself to others, take the time to appreciate the qualities you possess and don't mind that you don't have the others yet. Be gentle with yourself when you go astray.

  3. Avoid beating yourself up. Show yourself compassion and understanding and use your mistakes as motivation to increase your self-awareness and act.

  4. Love yourself more than you do now. Just like showing compassion to yourself, many people struggle to love themselves. They feel loving themselves makes them selfish, shallow, and self-indulgent. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

Self-acceptance isn't something that you can achieve instantly. It’s important to learn to love yourself even if you don't always feel comfortable doing so. It's not a matter of feeling happy with who you are and what you have. It's a matter of accepting your imperfections without feeling bad about them.


When you do that, paradoxically, you become happier because when you accept who you are, it helps set the tone for self-improvement and growth.


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