Learning to love and accept ourselves can be challenging to accomplish, especially if we’ve had trauma in our past. Unfortunately, we all record the voices of others who have made negative comments to us and replay them repeatedly. The ego internalizes the negativity and believes the words are valid. This process is the cause of our self-loathing and self-doubt.
We need to examine the places and things about ourselves we don’t like to unearth our authentic being. Self-acceptance and self-love are about recognizing all parts of ourselves, the positive and negative attributes. Then, understanding that we can choose to alter those that no longer serve us once we acknowledge our characteristics. We can also learn to integrate negative attributes in ways that are beneficial rather than harmful.
For example, I’m a recovering control freak and have a place for everything. My family finds this annoying. But by accepting this part of me, I can use it positively. Because in the business world, it’s seen as I’m well organized. All of our strengths and weaknesses need to be accepted as part of our being. And through this self-love, our authenticity blooms.
There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you. ~ Steve Maraboli
We Are Worthy Just As We Are
A few years ago, I took an online course by Brené Brown based on her book The Gifts of Imperfection. In this program, the goal is to help bolster self-esteem and personal development. For example, one exercise is to write “I am good enough” on our hands in the morning. Then throughout the day, look at it to remind ourselves of our inherent worthiness.
Because of peer pressure and our need to feel accepted by others, we’ve conformed to what others think we should be. But in reality, we are eternal beings, and our potential is limitless. Our true self is pure love and light. Therefore, our life isn’t about searching for anything outside of ourselves. Instead, it’s about discovering the love already within us and expressing it in all of our relationships. This journey takes us back to Spirit and allows our authentic being to emerge.
The realization we are pure love is evidence we are enough. Our creation by a Divine source is tangible proof we are worthy, and we are good enough just the way we are. The hard part is for us to believe this timeless truth. The egoic mind replays the tapes of other’s comments, and we choose to trust that outside source instead of our inner soulful voice.
Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world. Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. ~ Brené Brown
What Is Self-Acceptance?
Self-esteem is the confidence we have in our abilities, which can change depending on our circumstances. Self-acceptance is embracing our authentic being without conditions. It’s being conscious of the attributes we like and things we want to change about ourselves. But even if we don’t improve those areas we aren’t proud of, we still love and accept all facets of our being.
We need to stop criticizing ourselves when we make a misstep or conditions aren’t as perfect as we desire. Non-judgment is part of accepting our authentic selves because we can’t judge and love simultaneously. We need to make peace with those parts of us which we deny.
My egoic mind spent years self-sabotaging due to fear of success, fear of standing out, or fear of comparison. So I had to learn to transcend the fear by examining where it came from and if it was something I needed to unlearn. Or did the thought process come from generational patterns I needed to break? This examination process is what we use to help us alter those parts of us we want to change for the better.
Remember, our shadow self came into being as a defense mechanism to help us deal with life circumstances we couldn’t understand. Our ego’s job is to protect us, and when we can’t make sense of our situation, it does what it needs to do to keep us safe. Only when we accept this part of us with compassion can we change.
We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity. ~ Barbara De Angelis
How To Genuinely Love Ourselves
The first step to loving ourselves is to remember who we really are and to explore what is true for us. Next, we need to remove the masks, labels, and armor we’ve put on and allow our authenticity to appear. Then we need to get quiet so we can hear the whispers of our soul.
We have to spend time with ourselves to study more about who we are. Becoming mindful and aware of how we react or respond to circumstances will help us learn about our egoic minds. As we get quiet, we discover how to stop the inner critic’s chatter and feel our instincts and intuition more.
Through this time alone, we recognize our inner voice and are gentle with our self-talk. We no longer play the negative tapes and replace them with positive affirmations to help bolster our self-image. Judgment, blame, and excuses are put aside as we are conscious that the things happening in our lives are to help us grow and expand our souls. We now look for the lessons we are to learn and are grateful for our experiences.
When we understand we did the best we could at the time, we are compassionate towards ourselves.
There is less comparing ourselves with others because we understand we are all on separate paths. We know comparison is a tool of the ego to keep us stuck. Our worthiness isn’t dependent on what others think or approve. Remember, we are worthy as we are.
Self-acceptance is an invitation to stop trying to change yourself into the person you wish to be, long enough to find out who you really are. ~ Robert Holden
Self-Acceptance Isn’t Personal Development
By learning about our authentic selves, we will discover those parts we may not like or areas we feel we could improve. However, accepting ourselves doesn’t mean we need to fix anything about our personality or behaviors. Instead, self-love is acceptance of our weaknesses and bad behaviors because they are a part of us.
Personal development is something I believe we all need to do. I advocate having a growth mindset and think we all need to expand our horizons. But we can’t allow our self-improvement to become a condition for our self-love.
Again, our worthiness is based on who we are right now, not improving our future selves. Therefore, we are all acceptable as we are, despite our differences or our similarities.
We need to understand our past behaviors so that we can compassionately accept ourselves as we are today. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be inspired to alter our behaviors for better ones in the future, so our lives are more enriched but not a prerequisite for self-love.
To be nobody but myself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make me somebody else; means to fight the hardest battle any human can fight and never stop fighting. ~ E. E. Cummings
Authentic Power Come Through Self-Acceptance
After my childhood trauma, I thought I was alone despite having many loving people around me. That’s what the egoic mind does when we are self-loathing. It isolates us and has us believe that making authentic connections will be harmful. But what we need is acceptance and self-love to reach out to others, so we don’t feel alone.
There are so many ways we reject ourselves and hide our authenticity because we’re afraid. But most of our limiting beliefs come from our childhood, and they are no longer applicable. Yet, we never updated our thought patterns, so we are still reacting from our childhood perspective.
As we become more aware of our soulful selves, we need acceptance and compassion. By clearing our unconscious thoughts and beliefs, we allow our authentic power to rise from within ourselves. Conversely, when we disapprove of who we are, it’s a block to happiness and inner peace.
Yet when we accept ourselves and embrace all facets of our being, unconditionally, true freedom occurs. Acknowledging our strengths and our limitations without attachments means we respond with love in all situations.
Through self-acceptance, we increase our contentment, because when we believe we are worthy of happiness, we have more of it.
Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts you. ~Lao Tzu
Moving Forward With Self-Acceptance
Our life expresses our inner self. When we react from a fearful place because our egoic mind is in control, the life we want isn’t attainable. But when we accept ourselves as we are and allow our authentic being to emerge, our life changes.
Learning about why we react the way we do, or examining our limiting beliefs, allows us to understand who we are. Then, when we are compassionate with ourselves and appreciate that we did the best we could with what we knew, we can forgive ourselves. And let go of these judgments and viewpoints.
Choose to accept all the facets of your being. You aren’t here to fit in. The world needs your uniqueness. When you see the truth of who you are, the freedom you seek appears. The more authentic version of yourself you are, the clearer life becomes because you are living a soulful life.
The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. ~ Carl Jung
Do you need support to help you accept yourself? Do you want a strategy to help you overcome the ego’s limiting beliefs and live a successful life? If so, please reach out to me at TerriKozlowski.com, and we can put together an action plan for you to create the life you desire.