How To Learn To Accept Yourself

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Genessa Panainte / Unsplash

There a few favorite thoughts I live by.

If the whole world were blind, how many people would you impress?

Could you imagine if you were half as kind to yourself as you are to others?

Why is it so damn difficult to give ourselves a compliment? To focus on our positives instead of our negatives? Why can’t we see ourselves as others see us? At least I can’t. I try every day and though it’s getting better I still struggle with self-acceptance. Let me rephrase that. I struggle with the self-acceptance of my appearance. As a person, I think I’m pretty freaking fabulous. I’m a good friend, dedicated wife, hands-on mother, and thoughtful person. When asked to judge my heart, I see all of the wonderful things I say and do for others each day. Asked to judge my exterior and things don’t go as well.

I have fat arms and rolls on my back. My chins too big. I don’t have a flat stomach and my thighs rub together when I walk. That’s what I see. What I don’t see is my beautiful, warm smile. My thick, full hair. My strong legs and bright eyes. Is my mirror broken? How can I possibly overlook those things when I stare at my reflection?

Self-acceptance is something that, for some of us, takes work. Not everyone is born with self-confidence. But that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it.

Talk to Yourself While Standing in the Mirror…Naked

I know, this is probably the scariest damn thing anyone has ever told you. At least if you’re someone suffering from low self-esteem. I avoid mirrors when it comes time to get undressed. Now you want me to stand in front of one? Naked? That’s right. In order to accept yourself for who you are, you need to see yourself for what you are. Stand naked and vulnerable in front of the mirror and start talking. Out loud.

“Yeah thighs, I see you!”

“Stomach, stop staring at me!”

Face your challenges. Identify them and call them out. Then, tell them why you love them.

“Arms, you allowed me to rock my beautiful baby to sleep each night”.

“Nose, you are what allows me to breathe in fresh air each and every day.”

Give purpose and meaning to all parts of your body. After calling out what you once perceived as negative areas of your body, compliment yourself. “Your chest is gorgeous.” “Your smile is bright and alive.”

Accept all parts of your body for what they are. Do you have scars or stretch marks? Look at them, really see them, and accept them. Some things about your appearance can’t be changed. Others that are within your control, can. At that point, it’s a matter of how important are those changes to you? And what will change about your life if you lose those 20 pounds or if you had fuller breasts? Identifying the reason behind your desire to look a certain way will likely unlock the true emotion behind the thought. And it may have nothing to do with your physical appearance.

Control Your Thoughts

You are in control of your thoughts. I’m not saying it’s always easy to push out those negatives ideas and comments that keep creeping in but it’s possible. And the more you do it, the easier it will become. If you find yourself practicing negative-talk in your mind, replace those less than positive comments with uplifting ones. Another method is to acknowledge those feelings, address them, and then release them. If the thought of “my nose is too big” creeps into your mind, acknowledge it and then address it by saying, “But it fits my face and I would never consider surgery”. Well, there you go. Changing your nose isn’t an option for you so what’s the purpose of pointing out its size every time you look in the mirror? None. It’s important to let go of negative thoughts and ideas that don’t serve you. The more you repeat these positive thoughts to yourself and expel the negative, the more natural and effortless it will become.

Treat Yourself How You Would Treat Others

Would you ever call your best friend fat? Would you tell your mother that her teeth are gross and her hair is too thin? Probably not. So why the heck would you say these awful things to yourself? Did your mother ever tell you to treat others how you’d like to be treated? Well, that doesn’t exclude yourself. You need to treat yourself with the same kindness, grace, forgiveness, and love as you treat all others in your life. The next time you prepare to berate or bully yourself, stop. Stop in that moment and think, “Would I say this to my mother? My sister? My spouse?” If the answer is no (and it will probably be no), stop yourself.

Another method is to imagine what you would say to your friend or loved one if they were bullying themselves in the same way you do. If your sister were saying, “I am so ugly, I hate the way I look”, what would you say to her? You’d likely correct her immediately and vehemently. “Are you crazy?! You’re beautiful!” Well, that’s exactly what you need to do to yourself. Tell those negative thoughts to take a hike. Tell them they’re crazy and replace them with positivity. You need to love yourself more than you love anyone else. So when it comes time to treating yourself with kindness, take the love you feel for your parents, spouse, or child and times that by 100. That’s the level of love and admiration you need to show yourself.

Building your confidence and finding self-acceptance isn’t easy. But by practicing kindness and self-love each day, you’re making steps in the right direction. Remember, you need to love yourself before you can love anyone else fully. Why not start today? TC mark

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