The science of affirmations

The Path to Self-Acceptance

Everyone dreams of a happy life. We tend to think that we only need a special something or someone in our lives to be happy. But we often forget that loving and accepting yourself is the only possible path to happiness. Let’s look at some of the steps you can follow to discover your true, wonderful self and embrace self-acceptance and self-love completely.

February 5, 2024
6 min

What is self-acceptance?

Before diving into today's topic, let's take a moment to explore what self-acceptance truly means.

The definition of self-acceptance is quite simple: it’s the ability to accept your strengths and weaknesses without judgment, conditions, or exceptions. 

It's about loving and respecting yourself just as you are. 

True self-acceptance empowers you, so you no longer need external validation and are more resilient to criticism. The moment you embrace self-acceptance and self-love, you´ll be free to discover and develop your full potential.

Self-acceptance is about recognizing how amazing you are, just the way you are.

It's about recognizing that every human being – and every living being – is amazing and unique. It doesn't mean they’re perfect. It means they are exactly who they’re meant to be.

But why is it so hard for many people to accept and love themselves with their shortcomings and peculiarities? Let's find out.

What are the characteristics of Self-Acceptance?

First, let's have a look at some characteristics of self-acceptance.

  • Knowing your strengths and weaknesses without judgment.
  • Loving and respecting yourself.
  • Accepting your beliefs, preferences, emotions, and past.
  • Celebrating your achievements, no matter how big or small they are.
  • Seeing yourself as a complex personality who can´t be defined by one thing.

When you truly accept yourself, you tend to worry less about what other people think about you or your achievements. This can have a positive impact on how you see and behave in different situations. 

It also means you are less likely to feel hurt by harsh criticism from others. 

Accepting yourself can bring more clarity and peace into your life. It helps you to build healthy relationships full of mutual respect and love. 

And most importantly, embracing self-acceptance makes you feel happier.

What are the consequences of self-rejection?

It is not surprising that the lack of self-acceptance can be harmful to your physical and psychological health. 

Back in 2014, a study showed that having low self-esteem and a negative self-image can affect certain parts of your brain and lead to lower levels of gray matter. 

One of the most interesting findings from this study is that low self-esteem, which stems from a lack of self-acceptance and self-love, especially affects the parts of the brain that regulate emotions and manage stress. 

This connection means that rejecting yourself has a high price. It goes beyond feeling bad. It increases your risk of emotional disorders and health issues related to stress.

Here are some of the possible consequences of a lack of self-acceptance:

  • Negative self-talk and self-hatred
  • Mental health conditions (e.g., anxiety, depression, or (PTSD)
  • Problems in relationships due to a lack of firm boundaries
  • Tendency to avoid triggering situations or people, which might close many promising doors
  • Low self-confidence and a fear of failure

Put simply, devaluing yourself has an impact on all areas of your life, including your health, family, friends, and work.

But don´t worry. It takes time and effort, yes, but it is possible to change your mindset if you put your mind to it.

How to embrace self-acceptance and self-love

We'd like to suggest some strategies that might be helpful for you to embrace self-acceptance and self-love.

1. Know your values

Take time to understand what you believe in and stick to it. It might be scary at first, but it will help you to become your most authentic self. 

Respect yourself and everything you believe in. It's an amazing feeling!

2. Set boundaries

There is no right way to live a life. There is no universal right or wrong.

So, it’s up to you to decide what is okay and not okay… for you.

Respect your needs and wishes, and don't let people push your boundaries. Not even close friends or loved ones.

3. Let go of the past 

Making mistakes is the most human thing ever. 

Forgive yourself for everything that didn't work out. Forgive yourself for everything you gave up on.

You did everything you could. Learn from it and move on.

4. Don't take responsibility for everything

The world around you is enormous and complex. You can only control a tiny part of it, and mostly it's your inner world.

Instead of worrying about things outside of your control, take responsibility only for your role. 

And remember: you did your best. You always do your best. All of us do.

5. Stop comparing yourself to others

The world is a beautiful and amazing place, not because it's perfect, but because everything in it is unique. 

Every living being, every flower, every stone, every river, every cloud is wonderful in its own way, but none of them is better than the other. 

This includes you. 

Be unique. Be wonderful. Be proud.  

And let others do the same.

6. Stay positive

Staying positive doesn't mean always being in a good mood and seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. It means maintaining hope and being able to see the good sides of life even in the most difficult of times. 

The world is full of miracles. Focus your mind on them and keep going.

7. Keep a diary

Writing down your thoughts and feelings is an incredibly powerful tool. 

Everything gets clearer. It helps you to see your strengths and weaknesses more clearly. 

It might make you realize that your alleged weaknesses are not weaknesses at all, but your very special and unique brand label. 

Be proud of them!

8. Practice positive affirmations 

Positive affirmations are powerful statements that can help rewire your brain. Affirmations help you to change your thought patterns, reject the negative thoughts and emotions that no longer serve you, and build a much happier life based on self-love and self-acceptance.

In the I am app, you’ll find positive affirmations designed to help you love yourself, understand yourself, and treat yourself with the kindness and acceptance you deserve.

9. Seek professional help

There are only a few things in this world that are more persistent than established thought patterns (on which most of us have been subconsciously working for decades; what an irony!). 

Changing your mindset is hard work. So, don´t get discouraged if you see you are not advancing. It's a good idea to seek help and have someone who provides you with support and guidance.

Final thoughts

Finding self-acceptance and self-love isn’t always easy, especially at first. But they are part of your journey, anyone’s journey, to self-development, growth, and, ultimately, happiness.

For uplifting affirmations that will help you on your path of self-acceptance, download the I am app. Find categories that resonate with you, and set up a widget that’ll remind you to love and accept yourself, just as you are, every single time you look at your phone.

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