All of us have dreams and we do a lot of wishful thinking but the next step differentiates successful people and others. The next and the most crucial step is to critically look at reality and be aware of our own limitations and strengths. Often, we try to magnify our weaknesses and downplay our strengths and sometimes magnify strengths and downplay weaknesses but what holds us back is not being able to see reality as it is. Sometimes we have unrealistic demands of ourselves, we criticize and are hard on ourselves. Self-acceptance means having patience, understanding and acceptance towards one’s own suffering and hardships. To cultivate self-acceptance involves helping ourselves to contemplate and reflect on the inevitability of certain forms of disappointment and suffering
There is another challenge we often face, if in the past we have had a limitation, we often do not accept it and let it ponder over our present and future even. The basis of Self -Acceptance is to first and foremost have a realistic view of yourself and to get rid of the expectations of others and life. Society feeds us unrealistic notions through films, television, media.
Self-Acceptance involves kindness to oneself but it is also a form of great inner strength, resilience, courage and fortitude. Just like a shield protects a warrior from future attacks and also helps the warrior to march forward with confidence, assessing the risks involved. In the same way self-acceptance helps us to have a realistic image of ourselves, we do not accept too much from ourselves and beat ourselves up for it neither do we hold ourselves back because of our limitations. This self-acceptance will automatically give rise to courage within us. We will be willing to let go of the past and create a stronger, better version of ourselves.
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Self-Acceptance vs. Self-Improvement
It should be apparent at this point that self-acceptance has nothing to do with self-improvement as such. For it really isn't about "fixing" anything in ourselves. With self-acceptance we're just--non-judgmentally--affirming who we are, with whatever strengths--and weaknesses--we possess in the moment.
The problem with any focus on self-improvement is that such an orientation inevitably makes self-acceptance conditional. After all, we can't ever feel totally secure or good enough so long as our self-regard depends on constantly bettering ourselves. Self-acceptance is here-and-now oriented--not future oriented, as in: "I'll be okay when . . ." or "As soon as I accomplish . . . I'll be okay." Self-acceptance is about already being okay, with no qualifications--period. It's not that we ignore or deny our faults or frailties, just that we view them as irrelevant to our basic acceptability.
Finally, it's we--and we alone--that set the standards for our self-acceptance. And once we decide to stop grading ourselves, or "keeping score with" ourselves, we can adopt an attitude of non-evaluative forgiveness. In fact, once we refrain from our lifelong habit of assessing, and reassessing, ourselves--striving rather to compassionately understand our past behaviors--we'll find that there's really nothing to forgive (remember, "Tout comprendre . . .”). Certainly, we can vow to do better in the future, but we can nonetheless accept ourselves precisely as we are today, regardless of our shortcomings.
By Leon F. Seltzer (clinical psychologist)
Take time to think about who you are – your personality, your background, what makes you tick
Understand that there are both positive and negative aspects of who you are and you should accept these as part of who you are
Are there things about yourself which you don’t like? Ok, maybe you can improve but first acknowledge them and accept them
Are you trying to be something you’re not? Why? Wouldn’t it be better to be you?
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