American Psychological Association defines mental health as ‘a state of mind characterized by emotional well – being, good behavioral adjustment, relative freedom from anxiety and disabling symptoms, and a capacity to establish constructive relationships and cope with the ordinary demands and stresses of life.’
The most important aspect for our mental health is our mental well being.
The key concepts of mental well -being are:
- Personal growth.
- Purpose in life.
- Environmental mastery.
- Positive relations with others.
SELF ACCEPTANCE being the first one under the list is our topic of article today.
WHAT IS SELF ACCEPTANCE?
Self-acceptance is defined as “an individual’s acceptance of all of his/her attributes, positive or negative.” It includes body acceptance, self-protection from negative criticism, and believing in one’s capacities. [https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/greater-self-acceptance-improves-emotional-well-201605169546]
All of us have our own perspectives as to what self acceptance is. But I believe self acceptance is the pursuit that makes us content with life. When you are happy with yourself you are happy with everything around you. Leo Buscaglia quoted “To love others you must love yourself. You can only give others what you have yourself”
Self acceptance is a way through which we acknowledge who we are and accept the existence of our being. There is a paradox that uncertainty leads to certainty! This statement holds true because there are so many times we are uncertain about ourselves but then it’s that uncertainty that makes us certain about our own self. But what is important is the fact that we don’t let that uncertainty become a doubt which will lead to self-rejection. So before things turn you towards self-rejection, start accepting yourself!
WAYS FOR SELF-ACCEPTANCE:
1. BE WHO YOU ARE – In this world full of people where everyone wants you to change according their convenience, being who you are is the boldest thing you can do. When you are who you are and not the mask you then your self-accepting capacity increases because you are constant to yourself and not the ever changing world!
2. ACCEPT YOURSELF FOR WHO YOU TRULY ARE – We find it so hard to accept who we are. We are bias to ourselves. We judge ourselves based on our appearances, our sizes, our tone of skin and what not. But we fail to admire who we really are; because we are beyond the sizes, the shapes and the shades.
3. FORGIVE YOURSELF – Many a times we unknowingly or maybe knowingly commit a mistake. We hold on to the guilt of our mistakes and become harsh towards ourselves. This leads to us criticizing our own self which creates a barrier to the positive thoughts we had about ourselves. So the next time you ever feel you did something wrong then forgive yourself and move on. Let it go. But learn from the mistake and grow.
4. BE FLAWSOME – It’s okay to not be perfect. You are who you think you are. No one gets to define your perfect. You are your definition of your perfect. Don’t let the world tell you otherwise. Your flaws make you awesome and that is the eternal truth of your existence. Perfect doesn’t exist; it is what you make it. So be the version of you that makes you feel perfect. This will make you look at yourself the way you have been looking at someone you think is perfect. And hence help you develop self – acceptance.
5. POSTIVE AFFIRMATIONS DAILY – Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation. So every day morning when you wake up tell yourself positive affirmations that will make you think positive about yourself and help you accept yourself for who you really are.
Some affirmations are:
- I love and approve of myself just the way I am.
- I release all the doubt and insecurities I felt about myself.
- I am worthy of my own love and affection and today is a great time to start.
- I embrace my work, my results, and all of my accomplishments.
- I love the person I am as well as the one I am becoming.
POSTIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF SELF ACCEPTANCE :
Some psychological benefits of self-acceptance include mood regulation, a decrease in depressive symptoms, and an increase in positive emotions. An example of this can be seen in a 2014 study that looked at affective profiles. The results yielded suggest that individuals categorized as self-fulfilling (as compared to the other profiles) tended to score higher on all the factors of Ryff’s eudemonic well-being dimensions (self-acceptance included). In addition to that, self-acceptance (and environmental mastery) specifically and significantly predicted harmony in life across all affective profiles.
Other psychological benefits include:
- A heightened sense of freedom
- A decrease in fear of failure
- An increase in self-worth
- An increase in independence (autonomy)
- An increase in self-esteem
- Less desire to win the approval of others
- Less self-critique and more self-kindness when mistakes occur
- More desire to live life for one’s self (and not others)
- The ability to take more risks without worrying about the consequences.
Self-acceptance is also thought to be necessary for good mental health.
Self acceptance is the most important key for the door of your life. Like how a building starts with a foundation, the same way your foundation for life is your self – acceptance! It’s only when you have self-acceptance will you accept life. So believe in yourself and keep going forward. Don’t doubt your worth even for a tiny second; because you have the choice of wasting that second in doubting or instead you could love yourself and accept it. Robert Holden rightly quotes – “No amount of self improvement can make up for any lack of self – acceptance.” Accepting yourself isn’t just about accepting everything about your-self but also about being there for your-self and never leaving it alone. Because at the end of the day it’s you who’s going to be there for you. So pack up all the self-acceptance you have and get ready for this adventurous and amazing trip of life.