How to Accept Yourself

How to accept yourself.

Notice how I didn’t say, “How to accept yourself the way you are.” Because how else can you accept yourself if not the way you are?

Now, before we discuss how can you accept yourself, let’s talk a little about the why. Why do you want to accept yourself, anyway?

Why not live your life hating and despising and loathing yourself? What’s wrong with that?

You know what is wrong with that approach. You have been living like it for many years, and you know how it feels. When you live in a state of rejection, when you live by others’ standards, you can never be at ease. You always feel torn apart within yourself, don’t you? You feel as if life is a burden as if the flow and juice of happiness, lightheartedness, and joy are blocked by an invisible wall.

But it’s not like you can’t manage.

You have been doing it, you have been managing it for many years now. It’s not that hard. You can still function. Millions do.

You can stay alive. Do well in your studies. You can excel at your workplace and get ahead in your career. You can get married and make love and produce children.

There’s no need to accept yourself unless you want to experience joy. Because joy is possible only when you’re relaxed and at ease. Joy has its roots in self-acceptance.

Non-acceptance gives birth to a competitive mentality because when you don’t accept yourself, you’re bound to compare yourself with others. Comparison breeds competition and competition leads to jealousy. And jealousy, oh boy, it’s hellfire. It burns everything inside you. How can you be at ease when you’re insecure and jealous? If you are not easy about who you are, you’re bound to compare yourself to others to see how they are faring, how good they are at a particular skill, or how well they get things done.

Even when you perform better than the rest in your field, you don’t feel satisfied. On surface, you look successful, even happy to other people. But let’s face it: you are not happy.

Now, no need to be hard on yourself. Relax. You’re not alone in feeling this way. It’s not just about you. Most of us suffer from this epidemic.

The reason?

You have been condemned and told again and again by the system, by society, and by parents that you need to become somebody, that you must “achieve” something. And if you fail to do so, your life will remain a waste. A barren wasteland where nothing grows. And this negative conditioning has gone so deep in our psyche that only a handful of people live with self-acceptance. The rest of us are doomed to constant suffering, self-torture, and a feeling of being inferior to others.

And nobody likes to feel inferior. Nobody likes to hear that they’re not good enough.

So, when you feel the push to become successful like others, and you believe that you don’t have what it takes, what do you do? You try to “copy” the “successful” people. But the irony is, when you imitate someone you admire, you may gain on the outside but you lose yourself. You lose your individuality. Because rejecting yourself and trying to become someone else can never bring you peace.

That’s why living with self-acceptance is the path to experiencing joy.

And the greatest joy in the world is creativity. When your energy flows towards creating something, that creates joy automatically. Notice how people throw dishes, toss papers, or yell while angry? That’s because their life energy wants to “destroy” something, and destruction is the exact opposite of creativity. So, how can you invite creativity into your life? Well, every time you feel at ease with yourself, you’re already in creative mode.

Ease invites creativity, which in turn brings you joy.

Why Do You Want to Feel Joyful?

But why would you need joy, anyway? What if you’re not joyful? Does it make any difference?

It does, actually.

You see, I am not talking about pleasure. Joy and pleasure and two different things, and oftentimes, diametrically opposite. Anybody can have pleasure, In fact, almost everybody has their own fair share of pleasures every day. The pleasure of eating good food. Making love. Driving a car or motorbike. Or partying till late at night.

Pleasure depends upon something outside, while joy originates within you. Or you can say that pleasure is bound to your body while joy has its center in your heart. Self-acceptance brings energy to the heart and when your heart starts functioning, everything changes. Heart-to-heart connection is what people crave. And that’s the reason when you talk to somebody from your heart, it connects on a deeper level. I am sure you must have felt it sometimes or the other in your conversations.

Say, for example, look at my old articles. Most of those articles are grammatically OK but I feel that somehow, my heart is missing from those articles. When I read them, they look good to me from a writing perspective but they fail to connect on a deeper level. It seems I was not in creative mode when I wrote them. 🙁

And by creativity, I don’t mean that only artists, painters, dancers, voice actors, and singers are creative people. Creativity has nothing to do with the outer expression. It’s a quality of doing an act with love and relaxation. So, you may be making tea, washing your car, or watering plants in your home garden, anything can be creative if you do it from your heart. When there’s no goal, the act in itself is important.  The moment a goal enters your mind, the flow of creativity gets disturbed. It’s no longer creativity but rather manipulation.

So get clear if you really want to accept yourself, or are you just curious? Is it like, let’s do this and see what happens? Unless you are clear about why you want to accept yourself, there can be no progress. Do you want to accept yourself because you know that living a joyful life is possible only when you accept yourself? Or do you want to do so because it’s the new self-help trend doing rounds on social media?

Once you made up your mind, then be playful about it. Don’t “try” to accept yourself. Because the moment you “try,” it goes wrong. Trying to make things happen is similar to rape. It never works. And that’s the reason why affirmations fail.

Do Affirmations Really Work?

Affirmations are a simple and yet very effective self-help tool. If used wisely, you can get outstanding results within days.

Just affirm,  “I accept myself the way I am” a couple of times daily, and soon you’ll be on your way to self-acceptance.

But here’s a catch: Affirmations work when you’re already feeling positive and uplifted. If you use an affirmation while in a state of doubt or when you’re feeling negative, it’ll backfire because your focus will be on the negative core belief that you want to counter. And the law of attraction says that which you give your attention to, expands.

So, yes, affirmations do work when used in an uplifted mood, not when you’re feeling grumpy.

What to Do Before You Use Affirmations?

Acknowledge your feelings.

Find a quiet room where you can spend 15 minutes alone. Close your eyes and ask yourself, “How do I feel about myself?”

Asking yourself how you feel and acknowledging that feeling is crucial. Most of the time, we don’t even know how we feel, and we don’t want to know. Because we fear that we might not like what we find within ourselves. That’s why accepting and embracing how we feel is a very hard thing to do. But unless you face your demons, you cannot get free of them. So, look within and see how you feel about yourself, and no matter how you feel, acknowledge that this is how you feel.

You might encounter feelings of being ashamed of yourself. Or guilty. Or incompetent. And how about feeling inferior? Whatever the feeling, be one with it. Let’s say you feel ashamed of yourself. Fine. Then be totally ashamed. Let the feeling of being ashamed wash over you. Don’t run away from it. Let it overwhelm you and take you into its grip.

You see, our problem, (most of the time) is that we feel one way and we pretend to feel some other way. Neither do we acknowledge our happiness nor do we embrace our sadness. Most of the time we remain in “denial mode.” We don’t want to face our reality because it can be painful to experience. But that’s the essence: The way you feel is a fact, and unless you embrace the facts, nothing can change. Facing your real feelings is the only way to see for yourself what’s going on inside you.

Just take note of how you feel. And don’t try to run away from it or change it. The idea is not to change anything. If you feel inferior, then feel inferior. Become one with it. Don’t want to accept that you’re feeling inferior? Fine. Be one with that feeling too that you’re feeling inferior and you don’t want to accept that you’re feeling inferior. And then see what happens.

15 minutes. That’s all you need. Keep doing it every day until you feel complete. 🙂

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