Learning to Accept Yourself

Diane von Furstenberg once said that we are always with ourselves, so we may as well enjoy the company. Sadly, for many people, being in one’s own company isn’t enjoyable at all. Whether it be due to self-loathing, low self-esteem, fear, or something else, being with ourselves is difficult for some people to handle.

One of the biggest reasons for not wanting to be alone is because of a dislike of ourselves. As a therapist, I have worked with a vast number of people who have not liked themselves, whether it’s an element of themselves or their whole self.

It seems too easy to list the things we don’t like about ourselves, and perhaps there is an element of not wanting to show off by detailing the things we do like about ourselves. However, one thing that is certain is the fact that self-loathing will probably lead to increased self-loathing. It’s a vicious, damaging cycle that results in total self-loathing. It could be because of how other people have treated you, but possibly it’s due to not being able to accept yourself in some way.

This is actually quite a common issue, with what I see through my work as a therapist as a growing number of people presenting with not being able to accept themselves. Some people don’t accept the way they look. Some people don’t accept their personality. Other people don’t accept their sexuality or gender identity. There are all sorts of ways in which people don’t accept themselves, but the good news is that it is possible to reverse those negative thoughts and beliefs. It is possible to accept yourself.

That’s an easy statement for me to make, right? But how do you learn to accept yourself? Read on to find out more.

First of all, think about all your positive aspects. What are your good qualities? Write down all of the positive things about yourself. Maybe you’re a kind person. Perhaps you’re good at helping others. Maybe you’re a fantastic runner or you like that you have a high level of fitness. Or perhaps you like that you’re a calm, rational person. Whatever those good qualities are (and they can be anything that’s positive), write them down, read through the list and stick it up somewhere you’ll see it every day.

Once you’ve done that and had some time to read through your positive qualities and enjoy seeing those positive things written about yourself, it’s time to banish negative thoughts. While it’s ok to be unhappy with yourself in some way, it is damaging and it is possible to feel better about yourself, whether that’s by changing the thing you don’t like or learning to accept it. Negative thinking tends to have a snowball effect, and sooner or later you’ll become overwhelmed with negativity. Learning to let go of negative thoughts can be helped by introducing positive affirmations into your life. To do this you repeat a positive statement about yourself on a daily basis and allow your words to shape your thoughts and feelings. For example, you could say “I am happy with who I am” or “I am comfortable in my skin”. Give it a go and see what difference it makes.

Something else you can do is begin to accept your imperfections. The truth is that nobody is perfect. We all have imperfections, but we can all learn to accept and even love them. Our imperfections are what make us individual, unique and special. It’s part of being a human being and you’ll probably notice that when you begin to accept your imperfections, you’ll feel much happier. Learn to love yourself.

My final point is to let go of what other people think. There may be people who have told you that they don’t like a particular thing about you, or they don’t like certain things that you do. Well, frankly that’s their problem, not yours. Just because people say those things, it doesn’t mean they are true. All you need to do is focus on yourself and your journey thought life. Those who matter will support you and accept you for you who you are and what you do.

Self-acceptance is something for all of us to strive for. Once achieved, it’s a wonderful feeling. That’s not say self-acceptance is the final destination. Just like happiness, it’s a journey. But what a wonderful journey to be on.