How to Accept Yourself for Who You Are?

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Many of us are our own worst critics. We cling to unreasonable expectations of ourselves, self-sabotaging thoughts, and a lack of belief in ourselves.

Would you have such high expectations of a friend, partner or family member? No, because you know they are not perfect but love them regardless, accepting their flaws alongside their strengths. So why doesn’t the same apply to you?

We all need to learn to accept ourselves for who we are. Here we explore what exactly self-acceptance means, how to achieve it, and why you need to prioritize this now.

What does it mean to accept yourself?

Accepting yourself means acknowledging, accepting and even embracing all the things that make you an individual. As well as your strengths, qualities and talents, you must accept that you are not perfect and that you never will be. You are a human.

Note that acceptance is not the same as resignation. You do not need to resign yourself to your flaws being permanent; you can still work on them. Instead, you are acknowledging that they are there, you are not perfect nor ever will be, and that is totally fine.

Also Read: 22 Books To Help You Love And Accept Yourself.

Why do you need to accept yourself?

Learning to accept yourself has some significant benefits that are going to make a huge difference in your happiness and overall quality of life. What are they?

Life is less stressful and tiring when you don’t waste energy on trying to be someone you are not. Lose this stress for good.

Comparison is the thief of joy,” said Theodore Roosevelt. When you accept you are different, happiness can follow. When you find inner peace from accepting yourself, you can be less reliant on outside factors, things and other people for happiness.

You can accept that your past is part of you and that will help you stop feeling regretful and unforgiving.

Self acceptance is also the pathway to self love.

How to accept yourself?

Learning to accept yourself is not something that’s going to happen overnight. It’s going to need time, patience and dedication. But, it’s well worth pursuing these steps to acceptance.

1. Make a list of your strengths

When you’ve been focused on self-criticism or even self-loathing for so long, this can feel like a daunting task. However, it’s crucial to do because you have been brushing aside all your strengths and qualities for too long in favor of focusing on the negatives.

Take some time to list your personal strengths and abilities. These may be your “soft” skills, such as kindness and empathy, organizational skills, or being approachable, for example. Or they may be areas where you are particularly knowledgeable or skilled.

Note: These are the qualities that the people around you see and focus on.

2. Make a further list of your accomplishments

By all means, list accomplishments in your education and career, such as college degrees, learning a language or success on your career path. However, if you are someone who feels like you missed some opportunities in these areas, you can often feel like you have accomplished little.

This is not the case. You have been busy accomplishing things in other areas of your life. Make sure to list the lives you cared for and touched for the better, hardships you overcame, and fears you conquered. These are just as important.

These two lists are now part of your toolkit for quieting your inner critic.

3. Identify and replace triggers for negative thoughts

The next step is to identify your personal triggers for thoughts that lead to feelings of low self-worth. For many people, these begin with “should” thoughts that make you feel guilty or like a failure.

For example, you might say “I should eat a healthier diet” but then feel enormous guilt when you succumb to a cookie mid-afternoon. Or, “I should be able to talk to strangers at parties because it seems everyone else can.

Remember, you are human. Your sense of self-acceptance should not hinge on these tiny elements of your personality. Instead, reframe these thoughts with affirmations that start with “I will try my best to…” or “I accept that this is difficult for me right now so I will do that instead.

4. Accept the past

An important part of accepting yourself is accepting your past.

Regret is a very punishing emotion, but is something we all feel. There is not a human on earth who hasn’t felt regret often, from making the tiniest faux pas or error of judgment, through to missing what they feel was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

However, regret must only be temporary. No matter how hard we wish, we cannot change the past. We can only apologize for our mistakes when they have affected others, forgive ourselves and move on, learning from our mistakes as necessary.

5. Build a good support system

Surround yourself with people who like or love you for who you are, and are fully accepting of your flaws. They might be a partner or spouse, family, friends or colleagues.

Can you identify people who you feel are often critical of you or find it difficult to forgive your mistakes? These are people you should make an effort to distance yourself from.

6. Implement some self-care routines

Taking some time to do something just for you is really important in keeping a positive mindset. We all have different ideas of what helps us feel rested and refreshed. For some, it may be to take a hot, candle-lit bath; for others it may be to take a long hike. Just do what feels like time out for you.

And don’t be hard on yourself when you’re not in the mood for even these things; they use up energy we don’t always have. We are all allowed off-days and unproductive weeks.

7. Consider neuro-feedback therapy

Ever wondered if science can help you learn how to train your brain to be happy? It can!

Neurofeedback brain training is becoming increasingly popular among those looking for help with conditions such as ADHD and depression, but is also suited to those who wish to improve their mental and emotional health.

It works by providing your brain with real time feedback through audio and video outputs.. This lets your brain know where it’s going wrong and what needs to be corrected. This teaches your brain to self-regulate its functions, and remain happy, calm and positive..

The procedure is non-invasive and good results can be experienced within a few sessions.

When you’ve taken these seven steps, you’ll be on the road to accepting yourself and a far happier, more fulfilling future.

About the Author
Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training, an award-winning neurofeedback-centered institute that focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain’s true potential. Earning a doctorate in Neuroscience from the revered Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Gala has spent over a decade trying to unravel the way neurochemical and neurophysiological changes in the brain affect the way we interact with the world. Her goal is to share her knowledge, encourage others to tap into and expand their brain’s capabilities, and dispel any myths surrounding our most complex organ.

About the Author
Guest post by Dr. Upasana Gala.
About (ReflectEvolve)
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