Self-acceptance is challenging for the young and hungry especially when they have yet to discover their identity.
It takes years to learn that faking and hiding doesn’t work, not to mention how exhausting it can be.
For me, my lack of career success has always hung over my head. Seeing high school friends surpass me feels like a stab in the heart. This competitive anxiety pushes me forward but also cripples my self-esteem.
But lately, I’ve been more at peace with myself. I’m starting to realize that who I am today is just as good as any other version of myself, including my ideal self. If you disagree with that sentiment, it’s not my job to convince you.
Here are a couple of things I learned about embracing myself.
Radical acceptance can help you move on
Radical acceptance is when you stop fighting reality, stop responding with impulsive or destructive behaviors when things aren’t going the way you want them to, and let go of bitterness that may be keeping you trapped in a cycle of suffering.
In short, it means to accept things out of your control so you won’t beat yourself over them.
It’s about non-resistance and non-denial. Letting go of your cheating spouse as opposed to wishing they hadn’t betrayed you will prevent additional pain. Once you’re able to release your anger, you can finally move forward and embark on a better journey in search of a better soulmate.
. . .
Self-acceptance and self-improvement can go hand in hand
Self-rejection occurs when you’re too caught up with who you’re trying to become. You look down on your current self, and critique imperfections harshly.
Try letting go of your future self. It may sound like giving up, but it’s the opposite. There’s a significant difference between being pushed by the fear of lack, and being inspired by abundant self-belief.
If you’re driven by ego, then all you’re doing is filling the ‘I’m not enough’ void.
If you’re driven by self-love, you’d already feel enough as it is. And because you’re a worthy human being, you seek growth. Self-acceptance produces self-esteem. Self-esteem leads to a high standard. And a high standard creates drive. You won’t be afraid to fail because win or lose, your self-worth remains the same.
The distinction between the two lies in the motive: are you motivated by fear or a high self-regard?
Contentment and ambition don’t have to be at odds. You’re perfectly flawed and forever working progress.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
My ex never had the courage to step on a scale. Knowing that whatever number she sees is going to destroy her self-esteem. That’s what most people do to avoid feeling fat, short, dumb, or anything that makes them inferior.
But by not confront inner demons, they give their insecurities more power than they deserve.
“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
— Crissi Jami
I find it incredibly empowering to see a shy, meek person who shows no intention of changing, despite what others think. Many people wear a tough mask out in the world, afraid to let their guard down. But the truly strong are comfortable with vulnerability.
A big part of acceptance is the willingness to embrace vulnerability. And know that although you aren’t as attractive as someone else, or have as much as another person, you’ll be just fine.
Fighting against your nature can be counterintuitive
I used to go out of my way to meet people and make them laugh, showing the world how social I was. But it killed the little charisma that I had because I wasn’t true to who I was. And the friends that I did end up making weren’t the right ones.
If you’re lazy, forcing yourself to become Gary Vaynerchuk makes you miserable, because you don’t naturally enjoy hard work the same way he does. Maybe a good work-fun balance makes you more productive.
If you could just accept the fact that you are not what you’d like to be. You’ll find your own stride and thrive.
The more life experience you accumulate, the more comfortable you become with yourself
If I could tell my 15-year-old self to not be self-conscious of my speaking accent, I would have understood the advice but not be able to apply it.
Acceptance is like a relationship, it takes time to develop. You don’t fall in love after the first 5 minutes of meeting someone. The bond grows through conversations and interactions, ups and downs. Self-love is no different.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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