In today’s fast-paced and judgemental society, it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeking validation from external sources. We often find ourselves constantly comparing our lives, achievements and appearances to those around us. However, there is an invaluable and transformative practice that can liberate us from this cycle of self-doubt and insecurity: self-acceptance.
WHAT IS SELF-ACCEPTANCE?
Self-acceptance is the act of embracing and fully acknowledging yourself – your strengths, weaknesses, flaws and all the unique aspects that make you who you are. It involves showing compassion, kindness and love towards yourself, regardless of external expectations or societal pressures. It is an inner journey that requires honesty, vulnerability and the willingness to let go of self-judgement. Self-acceptance is tremendously important to our well-being and personal development in life and business. However, self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive for growth and improvement. In fact, self-acceptance can actually empower you to make positive changes in your life because you’re not burdened by negative self-talk or feelings of inadequacy.
Self-acceptance means acknowledging your imperfections and recognising that there is always room for growth and development. It allows you to approach change from a place of self-compassion and self-love, rather than self-criticism and self-hatred. So, while self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you don’t need to change anything, it does mean that you can approach change in a healthier and more positive way.
Taking that first step towards self-acceptance can also be extremely difficult for several reasons.
Social Conditioning and the Illusion of Perfection:
From an early age, society bombards us with messages of what we should be, how we should look, and what we should achieve in order to be accepted and valued. We become conditioned to believe that perfection is the ultimate goal. This illusion of perfection leads us to constantly compare ourselves to others, which only breeds discontentment and self-criticism and can create unrealistic expectations that make it hard for us to accept ourselves as we are.
Negative Self-Talk and the Struggle of Self-Judgement:
Self-judgement is a relentless adversary on the path to self-acceptance. We often criticise ourselves for our mistakes, failures and perceived inadequacies. This negative self-talk diminishes our self-worth and hinders our personal growth. It’s important to recognise that we are all imperfect beings on a unique journey, and our flaws and challenges are part of what makes us human.
Fear of Rejection:
We may fear that if we accept ourselves as we are, others may reject us or judge us harshly. This fear can be difficult to overcome and can hold us back from embracing who we truly are.
Perfectionism can make it hard for us to accept ourselves because we may set impossibly high standards for ourselves and then feel like failures if we don’t meet them.
Past experiences of trauma, abuse or neglect can make it difficult to accept ourselves because we may have internalised negative messages about ourselves that were communicated to us by others.
These factors and others, can make self-acceptance a challenging process, but it is possible with patience, self-compassion and the willingness to confront and overcome the barriers that stand in our way.
Opening the door of self-acceptance can be a challenging but ultimately rewarding process.
THE BENEFITS OF SELF-ACCEPTANCE
Authenticity: When we embrace self-acceptance, we allow ourselves to show up authentically in all areas of life. We no longer feel the need to hide behind a mask or pretend to be someone we’re not. Instead, we can fully express ourselves, which fosters genuine connections and nurtures our relationships.
Inner Peace: Self-acceptance liberates us from the constant battle with our inner critic. By accepting our flaws and imperfections, we create a sense of inner peace and contentment. We learn to treat ourselves with kindness and compassion, fostering a positive and nurturing relationship with ourselves.
Emotional Well-being: When we accept ourselves, we embrace our emotions without judgement. We allow ourselves to experience the full range of human emotions, acknowledging that they are a natural part of life. This emotional intelligence enables us to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and grace.
Self-Growth: Paradoxically, self-acceptance is a catalyst for personal growth. By accepting our current circumstances and acknowledging our areas for improvement, we can embark on a journey of self-improvement from a place of self-love. When we accept ourselves as we are, we create a solid foundation for growth and transformation.
PRACTICES FOR CULTIVATING SELF-ACCEPTANCE
Acknowledge Your Feelings: Recognise and acknowledge your thoughts and emotions, even if they are negative. This can help you understand yourself better and identify areas that need improvement.
Self-Reflection: Take time for self-reflection and explore your beliefs, values and desires. Engage in activities that bring you joy and allow you to connect with your authentic self.
Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Practice speaking to yourself as you would to a dear friend, offering support and understanding in times of difficulty.
Letting Go of Comparisons: Remind yourself that everyone’s journey is unique. Avoid comparing yourself to others and focus on your own progress and growth.
Let Go of Self-Judgement: Stop criticising and judging yourself. Instead, focus on your strengths and what makes you unique.
Set Realistic Expectations: Don’t expect perfection from yourself. Set realistic goals and work towards them at your own pace.
Embrace Your Imperfections: Accept that imperfections are a natural part of being human. Learn to love and appreciate yourself for who you are, flaws and all. Embrace your flaws and mistakes as valuable lessons and recognise that they are a part of your growth and development.
Surround Yourself With Positivity: Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you and who value you for who you are.
When you are able to practise self-acceptance you will typically experience some significant transformative changes in your life. By accepting ourselves as we are, we can improve our mental, physical and emotional health and increase our ability to thrive and Flourish. Remember that self-acceptance is a process, and it may take time and effort to achieve. Be patient and kind to yourself as you work towards opening the door of self-acceptance.
Remember, you are unique and valuable just the way you are. Embrace your individuality and allow yourself to be proud of who you are and how far you’ve come.
Allow yourself to FLOURISH!
About the Author
Kendal is originally from the UK but has lived most of her adult life overseas. She has been living and thriving in Bali since early 2020, following 25 years in Hong Kong where she was the co-owner of a respected Financial Services Executive Search firm with offices in Hong Kong, London, and Lagos. During a highly successful and long career as an executive recruiter she provided career coaching to many, and in addition, became a Certified Executive and Life Coach to enhance her ability to help people both in their business and personal life.
In 2020, Kendal made the decision to exit the corporate world to follow her passions, to step fully into a new paradigm of coaching, incorporating her skills and experience as a Certified Sound Healer and Breathwork Coach. Her mission is to empower people to flourish, thrive and reach their highest potential across all aspects of their life. To join the Flourishing Tribe and become a Certified Flourishing Coach was a logical next step as the principles of Certified Flourishing Coaching completely resonated with her own principles and values.
Kendal is passionate about helping people find harmony and balance, creating a safe space for growth, enabling a deeper connection to the body and inner essence that allows clients to step into their zone of genius. In addition to Sound Healing and Breathwork, she has also gained certifications and studied in various other healing modalities including Yoga and Pranayama Meditation Teacher, Conscious Kinesiology, Psychology of Anxiety and Depression, Shamanic Healing, Energy Healing and Reiki.
As a Certified Flourishing Coach and Facilitator, Kendal is excited to train the next generation of flourishing coaches and empower people, relationships, leaders, and entrepreneurs to FLOURISH. Kendal will be responsible for facilitating the Coaching Program in Indonesia.