When you think about the words “self-acceptance” and “self-love”, many thoughts and ideas can come to mind. When I was thinking about this topic, I had my own personal definition, as well as what clients have told me in their own words on how it relates to them. I also took to Google to see what others had to say, and I came across this gem*:
…self-acceptance is steady and unconditional. You accept yourself despite your flaws, failures, and limitations. You’re more self-forgiving and let go of self-judgment. It includes self-forgiveness and overcoming guilt.Instead of comparing yourself to others, both positively and negatively, you appreciate your singular individuality.
…self-love is healthy. It’s neither selfish, nor self-indulgent, and neither egotism, nor narcissism. Actually, egotists and narcissists don’t love themselves at all. A “big ego” is compensation for lack of self-love. Most people think too little of themselves, not too much…
This got me thinking of how that relates to survivors of trauma, be it childhood sexual abuse, narcissistic abuse, those who are first responders or in the military, and anyone else who’s experienced some type of traumatic experience(s). As a survivor myself, I can relate to how difficult it can be to embrace the idea of accepting myself for who I am, based on my past. From the very first time I ever talked to the wonderful therapist that helped jump start my healing journey years ago, to the trauma informed coach who helped me push it into high gear, this self-acceptance and self-love concept was a struggle for quite a while. And if we’re being real here, which we always are, it can still be a struggle at times.
Even though it’s difficult to embrace these mindsets, they truly are so important to healing from trauma, and frankly working our way through life in general. Being able to accept who we are, what we’re about, and be open to improvement and change, without shame and judgment, is an incredible feeling to wake up with each day. This is one of the big reasons that I wanted to talk to my guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, Dr. Baker, Ph.D.
A Clinical Psychologist, based in California, Dr. Baker works with individuals, families, youth, veterans, and first responders in areas such as Anxiety and Panic, Family Issues, Self-Criticism, Trauma Recovery, PTSD and more. She is also the creator and host of the Go Friend Your Self Podcast.
Dr. Baker graciously accepted my invitation to join the podcast, and what better topic to discuss, than self-acceptance and self-love, which happens to be one of the areas she specializes in with her private practice. She also does Periscope videos on this topic, as well as ways that we can get a handle on anxiety by understanding it.
During our time together on the podcast, we discuss what it means to fully accept who we are as survivors, and why it can be so difficult when you factor in trauma recovery to self-love. I know that you’ll find her insight relatable and encouraging as she shares how the journey of healing can be a tremendous struggle, yet the rewards are real and very attainable, no matter what you’ve experienced in the past.
We discuss how the mask that we wear in every day life can be directly related to how we view ourselves. By putting on a mask, so to speak, we only allow others to see what we think they want to see, or what we want them to see, all the while our true selves are dealing with self-shame, and the pain that we feel we will be judged by if we reveal our true selves in a vulnerable way. This is an incredible struggle that can keep us stuck in self-defeating mindsets, and inhibit the healing that we desperately seek.
We also discuss what it means to be curious about ourselves, in the sense of allowing our minds to embrace the idea that there just might be a different way to view who we are now and the outlook that we have on our future. By working through the limitations of black and white thinking, a whole new world of self-advocacy opens up right before our eyes.
Dr. Baker also shares her insight and strategies for how we can begin to create a good relationship with who we are every day, and the importance of doing so. By creating a positive, loving, and curious relationship with ourselves, we become more compassionate and understanding in our own life and how we view others. By becoming more compassionate and understanding, we are more able to give ourselves a break along the way, understanding that life and healing is a journey, full of ups and downs, and that’s it’s okay to make mistakes, to not be perfect.
We cover this and much more on the podcast, so grab those headphones or plug us into your car speakers, and join us!
Thank you again Dr. Baker for your friendship, and for all of the amazing work that you do not only with your clients but with all who who benefit from your advocacy and compassion for survivors.
Originally Published on BeyondYourPast.com
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