Many things in my life began to change when I began to like myself. Shocking, I know. There came a point a couple of years ago when I decided I was going to stop the negative self-talk. I wanted to teach myself how to be happy by accepting myself unconditionally. I started wearing very little makeup. I began to schedule dates for myself. I cared a little less about the way people did (or didn’t) look at me. I was content and at ease with myself, especially knowing I had been working through hard battles of anxiety.
One of the best things about self-acceptance? It gives you a sense of peace you didn’t know you could exude.
When you begin to accept yourself as less than perfect, loving yourself with your own unique marks of beauty, you can live authentically and without anxiety on either shoulder. This is also the first step in overcoming social anxiety and being able to form meaningful relationships.
This isn’t about self-esteem, which can bounce up and down alongside life events. This is self-acceptance: accepting yourself flaws and all. Understandably, sometimes it’s not so easy, as it requires embracing yourself even when your self-esteem may have taken a hit.
Pay attention to yourself.
Self-acceptance requires awareness of what’s going on in your mind. Do you have a harsh inner critic who likes to be front and center? Are there certain things about yourself that you really dislike?
One of the key facets of mindfulness is acceptance without judgment. Love yourself like you would love another. Pay attention to the thoughts running around in your mind and answer back them with truth and gentleness.
Change your perspective.
One of the most trying years of my life was 2012, when I had a miscarriage. It was incredibly difficult, but through all the nights of tears, I remember saying to myself, “I cannot wait to meet the woman I’m going to be after I get through this.” At first, I was really good at feeling sorry for myself, but re-framing how I felt about tackling that year made a drastic difference. Growth is always uncomfortable. Emotions will always come and go, but keep an eye out for extreme self-blame. Be kind to yourself!
Remember what matters most.
At the end of the day, your own opinion of yourself is what matters most, and frankly—no one can love you more than you love yourself. Every single person on this planet struggles with self-esteem at times, whether or not doubt is shown: we’re human. When you step into acceptance and let yourself be vulnerable, you’ll invite others to step into their own.
If you're feeling down on yourself, take some time to reflect on all of the things you've accomplished so far. Even if you're not where you want to be, you have learned useful lessons that can help you get started now.