The Road to Self-Acceptance
How’s your self-esteem doing? If you’re like me, you tend to see the best in others—and the absolute worst in yourself. Self-acceptance can be a difficult concept to wrap your head around when you’re constantly beating yourself up for every little mistake. There’s good news, though; you aren’t alone by a long shot. By considering your lapses in self-acceptance, you might start to find that the people around you are in the exact same predicament.
Maybe you’re hung up over your poor marks in Spanish, or you think you look “fat” today. Maybe you couldn’t run the ten-minute mile, or your shirt doesn’t match your shoes. Well, odds are – and it’s kind of funny if you think about it – the people around you probably won’t even notice. It’s not that people don’t care. But did you ever stop to wonder that you aren’t the only one who’s preoccupied with your own flaws? Just as you can’t stop thinking about what you’ve done wrong, the people around you are too busy wrapped up in their own shortcomings to really identify yours. Here’s what ends up happening: each individual person sees themselves as the odd one out, when in actuality, everyone is in the same boat.
You’ve probably heard the (albeit cliché) phrase, “Nobody’s perfect.” Everyone has flaws, weaknesses, spots for improvement—but there’s no need to focus on those. The next time you find yourself hung up over your lesser traits, try redirecting your thoughts to something you actually like about yourself. “Maybe I’m not great at sports, but I have straight A’s in math.” “Maybe I’m a little shy, but I’m excellent at reading people.” It is important to acknowledge your shortcomings, but it is much more important to remember all the great things you have to offer. And when you’re trying out this little mental compromise, your good traits should always win out.
You must realize, by this point, how damaging it is to sell yourself short. Time passes, things change, life goes on—basically, you are the only constant force in your life. Why not respect yourself for who you are? It’s normal to feel conflicted at times, but you should never feel like you don’t matter, and by obsessing over every little flaw, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice. The next time something goes wrong, instead of attacking yourself, focus on what you’re doing right. If you start to wean yourself off self-criticism, slowly but surely, those negative feelings will start to go away.
As for myself? Well, I’m a work-in-progress too. But I know that I deserve more than to be constantly criticized and mistreated – even if it’s coming from my own head. The road to self-acceptance is a rewarding process, and in order to become stronger people we all have to overcome our insecurities. The self-hate stops now.