Accepting Yourself

Self-acceptance entails accepting yourself, warts and all.  Imagine yourself as your own good friend.  Be as open and patient with your own shortcomings and challenges you encounter on a daily basis, as you would to a close friend of yours.  Also open yourself to the great things about yourself. You may take for granted how much patience you have for your children or  forget to acknowledge how  hard you work. 

Another way to look at this is to think about self-compassion.  Self-compassion can allow you to more freely accept setbacks you may experience and decrease your negative self-talk.  Self-compassion is about bringing love and understanding to yourself.  It is starting to allow yourself to be imperfect and still love yourself.  It is understanding that you are good enough while still pushing yourself to change and grow.

Let’s Get Physical

Here is a ten-minute practice that helps with both self-acceptance and self-awareness.  It’s important to keep these two skills honed.  You can’t accept what you aren’t aware of. 

  • Find a good time and place to sit.  You can choose the ground or a chair.   Ensure your spine is supported and if you’re on a chair, your feet are flat on the ground.
  • Make sure your seat is comfortable, and that it won’t cut off circulation after a while or make you excessively uncomfortable in any way. 
  • Your spine should be straight, with your shoulders sitting softly back. You should be relatively comfortable.  This posture mimics the confidence and calmness and acceptance you are attempting to achieve.  It also helps decrease drowsiness and allows your breath to flow freely.
  • Begin the practice by focusing on your breathing, how it enters your body and escapes. 
  • Accept your breathing.  Do not change it, do not deepen it, do not make it quicker.  Accept your breath entirely.  This may be more challenging than it sounds. 
  • After a few minutes, you may feel you want to move your legs, to shift your weight, and to get more comfortable.  Maybe your hair has fallen around your face and your cheek itches.  Instead of succumbing to the desire to move, accept your discomfort.
  • After several minutes, you may feel you want to stand and leave this practice.  Accept your desire to leave but remain seated.
  • Likewise, try to accept all thoughts that may fill your head.  Notice them but don’t give them too much of your attention.  Gently bring your attention back to noticing your breath.

This practice will train your mind and yourself to be more stable and less reactive to impulsive thinking or actions, such as negative self-talk or perceived discrimination or judgments placed upon you by others.  This is a practice of self-acceptance. In this course, you will learn about cultivating honesty and acceptance both of yourself and others, establishing a firm foundation to healthy self-esteem.

Exercise

Complete the above practice at least three times in the next few days.  After each time write down your experience.

Practice being objective with others and with yourself, focusing on the facts of the situation and keeping alternative perspectives in mind.  Remember to practice compassion for yourself and others, as well as empathy for yourself and others.

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