When it comes to self-acceptance, it can be frighteningly easy to fall into a spiral of despair or pity.
Perhaps you’ve lost a job, ended a marriage, struggled with substance abuse, or never landed that dream career. We tend to judge ourselves much harder than we’d judge others, so these perceived failures can make self-acceptance hard to come by.
Self acceptance (or a lack thereof) isn’t innate. Luckily, it’s a skill that you can practice and nurture over time.
Keep reading for five inspiring ways to help you better accept yourself – as you are.
1. Celebrate Your Strengths
Humans have a nasty tendency to focus on their shortcomings instead of their strengths. You’re not doing yourself any favors by doing this.
There will be things in life that you just aren’t good at. By no means does it indicate a shortcoming. Instead of sitting and stewing over all things you can’t do, make a list of all the things you can do.
Maybe you wanted to be an athlete, but you never had the physical skills to become truly great. However, perhaps you’re an excellent writer with a deep understanding of a particular sport. Instead of pining over the professional athlete you’ll never become, start a blog about the sport instead.
Find creative ways to narrow down and foster the natural talents that you have as opposed to focusing on what you’re missing.
2. Practice Forgiveness
Forgiving yourself and others for shortcomings or perceived slights can go a long way to helping you find self-acceptance.
Family members or close friends will let you down – it’s part of life. Don’t dwell on minor disappointments or take them personally. Instead, simply forgive and let it go.
Perhaps the harder part of practicing forgiveness is learning to forgive yourself. Just as others let us down, we will let ourselves down. Maybe you feel like you fall short of the person you hoped to be, or you unintentionally hurt a loved one.
Forgive yourself for these shortcomings. Treating yourself with kindness is paramount to self-acceptance.
3. Surround Yourself with Positive People
They say you’re as good as the company you keep. There’s some truth to this adage.
If you spend time with negative, untrustworthy, angry people who tear you down (whether it’s intentional or not), it will impact your self-esteem.
To have the best shot at self-acceptance, give yourself permission to let these people out of your life. And don’t spend time feeling sorry either. Fill your life with people who love you the way you love yourself.
4. Accept What You Can’t Change
There will be things about you and your life – shortcomings, certain traits – that you can’t change or control.
Recognize these for what they are. Instead of dwelling on something that’s completely outside of your control, learn to accept it. It’s not resignation; it’s simply being honest with yourself.
By accepting what you can’t change in life, you free up a lot of energy that can be put to better use.
5. Practice Compassion
Perhaps the single most important thing you can do on your path to self-acceptance is to practice self-compassion.
We tend to be our own harshest critics, and it’s self-defeating.
Here’s a helpful rule of thumb. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend or loved one, don’t say it to yourself. If someone you love lost their job or found their marriage failing, would you call them lazy or tell them they deserved it?
Of course not.
Extend yourself the same compassion and care that you’d extend to a struggling loved one. If you can do this, you’re halfway there.
You Can Achieve Self Acceptance
With the right mindset (and a good amount of work), you can achieve self acceptance. It starts with compassion, forgiveness, and a focus on your talents.
We hope this article provided some ideas as to how you can begin to the lay the foundation of accepting yourself. Check out our other lifehack articles for more content like this!