When It’s Hard To Accept Yourself
I still remember the uncertainty of being in middle school and high school, walking in the hallways worried about what others thought of me, hoping to make a friend. Maybe your child was feeling the same way when they started kindergarten or middle school. They might be wondering in their heads: What will other students think of me? Will I make a friend? Am I dressed cool enough? Can I talk right and do the right things? Will my teachers like me?
Self-acceptance is a popular idea nowadays. Plenty of books and online articles sport titles like How to Accept Yourself. It is taught at schools, seminars and workplaces. Being widespread that it is, what is acceptance really? We can philosophize until we’re blue in the face, but what does it look like for someone to genuinely accept herself in action?
In this article, we’ll look at how to accept yourself in three dimensions.
- Desire intimacy above approval. The other day my daughter told me the girls in one of her classes were suspicious of their parents for wanting to get close to them. They talked as if their parents were the bad guys. My girl didn’t join in. She accepted herself enough to not need approval from them. Instead, she felt close enough to me to tell me this story. I’m happy and proud of her for wanting an intimate relationship with me above approval from popular girls at school. Living out how to accept yourself promotes intimacy.
- Let go of expectations. Both what you expect of yourself and what you think others expect of you. It’s time to stop taking on someone else’s expectations for you. Try to pinpoint the anger or resentment that you may be carrying around when it comes to that person’s past and present actions. They might have thought something was best for you, but they had inaccurate lens and saw things fuzzy when it came to you. Try to let go of the debt you feel they owe you. Forgive them and forgive yourself for buying into their expectations in the past. Getting caught up worrying about measuring up to expectations causes us to bounce from place to place, person to person, with no guarantee of having peace or feeling loved. Understanding how to accept yourself creates stability.
- Celebrate yourself for doing your best. The next time you feel as though you can’t accept yourself or you’re not being a good mom, remember that nobody can do everything well. Every little thing you do in your child’s interest matters. Recall a time when you said or did something special for your kid and they were deeply moved. That kind of action sets you apart. In their mind, you’re not just another parent who just goes do their job to pay the bills and buy them toys at Christmas and birthdays. You actually try to squeeze in time for your kids. These moments will not be forgotten, so celebrate them. Practicing how to accept yourself creates dynamic opportunities out of “mistakes.”
Know that you and I will make messes, what people might call mistakes. Let’s call them opportunities to learn, grow and change, shall we? Adopt the attitude that everything we do can be improved. Nothing’s set in stone, nothing’s perfect, and let’s not try to make it so.
Remember, no one can do everything well. Pick your areas, pick your battles, and leave the rest to God. Learning to let go is essential in practicing how to accept yourself, knowing you are good enough the way you are as you grow into a better version of yourself.
Accepting yourself is a lot like getting in shape. You get to make it happen. Did you know you can train yourself to turn emotional heavy weight into positive energy you can use? I work with small groups of moms dedicated to improving their home ambiance through physical and emotional fitness. Click here for details on the next 7-Day Heart-Body Happiness Bootcamp.