Thought Catalog

Why You Can’t Think Your Way Into Self-Acceptance

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A lot of us have this false belief that we can think our ways into self-acceptance and self-love, like we can scavenge around ourselves for the errant pieces of our past that are causing all our current strife. Sure, we can heal and look back into the memories of who we used to be in order to make sense of who we are now. This is important work — to become self-aware enough to understand the ways our mind plays tricks on our heart.

Yet, changing beliefs about ourselves requires a degree of initial delusion. We have to believe we are something different than what our mind is telling us we are. In order to accept ourselves, we must override the part of our brain (and ego) that’s telling us we are unacceptable. In order to believe in our greatness, we must override the part of us that believes so adamantly in our inadequacy.

However, in order to override, we can’t use rationalizations. We can’t think our way into this swapping of beliefs. If we do, we’ll think our way into deeper and deeper holes. Shame, rejection, hate, these are inherited behaviors from a world that is in pain. We are born into a world full of every reason to be ashamed of ourselves. Too many of our most powerful institutions will sell us shame like it’s in our best interest to think so small of ourselves.

The only way to true self-acceptance and genuine self-love is in this override stage. It’s about swapping out a negative belief for a positive one without any evidence to believe in the positivity. This is why when we find ourselves in the spiral of overthinking, we are simply cycling between the same tired beliefs about ourselves, the ones that got us into the overthinking spiral in the first place. Replacing one shitty belief with a slightly less shitty one isn’t going to help much. It’s in the overhaul. The overriding. The complete reboot. The emptying out of everything we think we know about ourselves, this crap we’ve picked up about who we are and replacing it with something else entirely.

We have the power to do that — all we have to do is do it. TC mark


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