Self- Acceptance: The First Step Towards Growth

When you wake up in the morning and get ready for the day ahead, what do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you like what you see? Or do you see someone who falls short of the person you have hoped to become?  

Self-acceptance is knowing who you are to the core, and appreciating what you see, both the good and the bad. It’s affirming and supporting  who you see, including the aspects you’d like to change and improve upon.

 Why do you find it so hard to accept yourself?

Growing up, you’ve developed an ideal persona. You’ve painted a picture in your head of the person you should be at a certain point in your life. But you refuse to accept the reflection staring back at you when it doesn’t measure up. You believe that accepting this version of yourself is conceding that you can no longer make that ideal a reality. 

You talk to your reflection with disapproval and disappointment, hoping that you can shame it into changing for the better. Does this actually help, or is it counterproductive? Can  you begin improving when you don’t accept and understand your current self? 

Instead of seeing this version of yourself as an enemy, treat it with compassion and understanding.  Change can only begin when you grasp a clear picture of where you are now, so you can map out how to get to where you want to be. 

Starting the process of Self-Acceptance

Moving towards self-acceptance requires a willingness to dig deep. Before you start lining up your goals, the crucial first step is establishing where you are and who you are now. Strip away the ideals, frustrations and should-bes to gain a clear grasp of your current situation. With an open mind and an honest heart, evaluate each of the things you do not accept about yourself.  

During this process, be mindful of the following:

  • In the face of  difficulties, do you respond by exploring solutions or by making excuses?
  • What beliefs do you adhere to that may be holding you back?
  • What are your motivations? 
  • Are there value judgments in play that cause you to think or act a certain way in difficult situations?
  • Are there unresolved issues from the past that weigh on you at present? 

Moving towards self-acceptance requires a willingness to dig deep. Before you start lining up your goals, the crucial first step is establishing where you are and who you are now. Strip away the ideals, frustrations and should-bes to gain a clear grasp of your current situation. With an open mind and an honest heart, evaluate each of the things you do not accept about yourself.  

During this process, be mindful of the following:

  • In the face of  difficulties, do you respond by exploring solutions or by making excuses?
  • What beliefs do you adhere to that may be holding you back?
  • What are your motivations? 
  • Are there value judgments in play that cause you to think or act a certain way in difficult situations?
  • Are there unresolved issues from the past that weigh on you at present? 

Now that you have a better understanding about your current self, envision the version of you that you’d want to be. Return to the ideal. Without self-acceptance, this next part would be tricky. Seeing the distance between your current situation and your ideal self could cause discouragement, frustration and fear.

Resist falling into this negative cycle. Identifying the gap is a good thing. This creates the opportunity to work towards growth, to close the gap between you and your goals. The journey may be challenging, but completing it is definitely possible. You can start taking charge of your life today by taking the first step: Self-Acceptance.