Do you accept yourself?
What does that even mean?
Self-acceptance is not an automatic given. To accept yourself means to acknowledge both your flaws and your strengths. It means embracing who you are without conditions or qualifications.
It might be easy to accept the good and positive parts of yourself, but you might struggle to accept the uglier parts of your personality and mind.
If you’re struggling with depression or mental illness, you may also have the opposite problem – you readily accept what is ‘bad’ about yourself, but struggle to see anything good.
True self-acceptance comes from acknowledging that you have undesirable traits. You may be able to change and improve over time, but only if you first accept who you are right now.
Self-acceptance and self-esteem
Self-acceptance is similar to self-esteem. The key difference is that self-esteem is how you feel about yourself, and self-acceptance is a simple acknowledgement of yourself.
Psychologists believe the two go hand-and-hand, and one is important for the other. Seltzer (2008) says, “Whereas self-esteem refers specifically to how valuable, or worthwhile, we see ourselves, self-acceptance alludes to a far more global affirmation of self. When we’re self-accepting, we’re able to embrace all facets of ourselves—not just the positive, more ‘esteem-able’ parts.”
Studies from Vasile (2013) show that a lack of self-acceptance is related to lower levels of general well-being, and may be a symptom of mental illness. Self-acceptance is also valuable for addiction recovery.
How to build self-acceptance
There are many ways to improve your self-acceptance. Common suggestions include:
Thoughts to increase self-acceptance
Positive Psychology recommends practicing these thoughts every day to improve your self-acceptance:
Are you practicing self-acceptance? How can you improve?