Five Tips On Achieving Self-Acceptance
Psychotherapist Julia Adler, from London-based wellbeing clinic Anamaya offers her advice on how to finally accept the person you are
1. Make a list of all the negative judgments you have towards yourself and clear them.
This stuff robs you of true enjoyment of being YOU. Now take each item on your list and resolve to release it and to let it go. You can do this through journalling. You write from a place of self-compassion and self-forgiveness, making a commitment to forgiving yourself and refusing to judge and condemn yourself any longer. For instance: “I release and let go of all the suffering and guilt relating to……. (fill in the blank). I am willing to forgive myself for what happened. I did the best I could. I forgive myself and everyone else involved. I am not going to beat myself up any longer about this.”
2. Learn to validate your emotional reality.
We don’t wait for someone else to give us permission to feel what we’re feeling – we give ourselves permission. We make a commitment to understand what is happening in our emotional world and we take appropriate action to support ourselves. As far as possible, we refrain from dissociating, daydreaming, suppressing or numbing our emotions. This is not about having a dialogue with yourself about who’s right or wrong – it’s not about rehashing a drama, but about acknowledging how you feel and what it’s like being you in the moment. It’s about being there for yourself and affirming that you are valuable and that you matter to yourself.
3. Cultivate a great relationship with failure.
Cultivate the courage to show up and be real. Risk being vulnerable. So many of us get trapped in a spiral of shame where failure feeds into the ‘not good enough’ story we’ve been carrying for so long. Disconnect the experience of failing from feelings of shame and lack of self-worth, and connect it to the wise knowledge that failure is a perfect teacher. Don’t spend your life sitting on the fence – take the risks which will make you feel alive. Don’t hold back from true intimacy with others or from showing your affectionate or playful side.
4. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
We evaluate ourselves on the basis of looks, money, success, possessions – it’s almost impossible not to. We are all incredibly vulnerable to anxiety about how others see us and how they rate us, so stop playing the rating game! Stop asking yourself, ‘how am I doing compared to everyone else?’ Our culture encourages us to compare ourselves to others, to compete in unhealthy ways, to believe that unless we’re special and way above average, we’re failing. For so many of us, there is a constant critical inner voice which reminds us of our inadequacies. Instead, learn to accept that your best is good enough. Comparison with others is a no-win situation.
5. Learn to accept your imperfections
Begin to see that we’re not unworthy because we have imperfections. The more we can accept the parts of ourselves that we don’t like much, the more personal freedom we create. When we can own our neediness, or competitiveness or our insecurity… when we acknowledge these parts, rather than trying to hide our imperfections from the world – guess what? We’re free! We are released from the anxiety about being found out and we no longer need to focus so much energy on trying to cover up our perceived flaws. If I own these parts, then I can choose to do something about them – if I want to. I will not define myself and live in fear that my basic human imperfections are somehow shameful.