Self-Acceptance: What is it and How to Practice

Medically reviewed by Dr. Jen Taylor
Medically reviewed by Dr. Jen Taylor on August 5, 2020
Naturopathic Doctor
Updated on August 6th, 2020
self acceptance

Self-acceptance is an important aspect of our health, personal growth, and success. Self-acceptance closely resembles self-esteem, but the two concepts differ in one key area.

Self-acceptance is a person’s acceptance of both their positive and negative characteristics, whereas self-esteem is how someone feels about their self.

Through the process of self-acceptance, a person can accurately evaluate their personal strengths and weaknesses, while accepting and growing from their negative attributes.

By developing and having a strong sense of self, one tends to show improved self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and self-control.

Additionally, a person with a strong sense of self-acceptance will show resilience in the face of adversity and have faith in their capabilities when their talents are called upon.  

Self-acceptance is an important aspect of your psychological health. As a close concept to self-esteem, self-acceptance is a tenet for laying the foundation of how someone thinks, believes, and acts in the world. 

Our sense of self affects our day-to-day performance in our careers, our ability to confront challenges and pursue our goals.

If we can accurately perceive our attributes and be accepting of our strengths and weakness, we can act authentically and have trust in ourselves and what we can accomplish.  

Studies have shown that individuals with lower self-acceptance suffer from increased levels of anxiety and depression. It has also been found that how one view and accepts their self can also impact how well therapies and practices work for them.

Studies have also shown that a low sense of self-acceptance can lessen the effect of interventions such as psychotherapy, meditation, and mindfulness when compared against a person with a higher sense of self-acceptance.  

The goal of practicing self-acceptance is to embrace who you are, both positive and negative qualities. These qualities can be physical, mental and emotional, or interpersonal.

By acknowledging and accepting that we have negative qualities, we can improve and adapt to those traits instead of denying and ignoring our character.  

[Also Read: Remaining Resilience & Grateful During COVID-19]

Common Approaches to Improve Self-Acceptance

  1. Mindfulness: the technique of being aware of the present moment and accepting that for what it is. One easy way to practice mindfulness is to focus on breathing for five minutes and feel the sensations of inhalation and exhalation.
  2. Creative Visualization: It is the technique of using your imagination to create what you desire in life or what you would like to improve upon. Sit or lay down in a constable position and relax. Use your mind to create a visual or feeling of what you would like or what you would want to change. Creative visualization can also be used in a more passive way, where you allow your mind to be open to receiving feelings or impressions of what you want.
  3. Goal Setting: tracking progress and growth through measurable outcomes.
  4. Affirmations: these are positive sayings or mantras repeated regularly to create a shift in outlook about ourselves and the way we see the world around us. An example in self-acceptance would be the following: I am learning to love and accept myself from who I am.
  5. Prayer: seeking guidance/acceptance/forgiveness from a higher power or spiritual force. An example would be the serenity prayer, which is used in many support groups. The prayer reads: God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  

These techniques are only a few ways of improving self-acceptance, but the best practice is to find what works best for you and be consistent with your effort. Change takes time, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Likewise, what works at one time for someone may not work in a different scenario. Remember to have fun and be kind to yourself. 

About The Author:

Jen TaylorDr. Jen Taylor is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor from Rochester, New York. Her interest in health and wellness stemmed from her experiences as a youth and college athlete.

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