Cultivating Self-Acceptance…


Cultivating Self-Acceptance

Self acceptance is so important, especially in today's society.

We’re multi-faceted beings, and as such, we have multiple parts of ourselves that we either show or hide. This is true of our personalities and of our bodies. When it comes to our bodies, we flaunt our best assets while downplaying our not-so-flauntable parts. But, at which point do we begin to genuinely and lovingly accept ourselves for who we are and what we look like?

Specifically for women, and specifically when it comes to our bodies, we have SUCH a hard time accepting how we look. I know I do and I know I’m not alone.

Usually, our insecurities can be traced back to an incident when we were younger and someone called us out. Sometimes, it’s out of genuine curiosity (like when my fellow 4th grader asked why my calves were more jiggly than hers) and sometimes it’s people just being malicious (like the times my “friend” would squeeze my “husky” arms, as he called them, for a couple of laughs). Good times.

Regardless of how it happened, those incidents forced us to look at ourselves from a less-than-loving perspective. We begin to question whether their comments are valid. We internalize feelings of doubt and shame from these incidents and pack them into a box. This box forever makes us insecure.

As functioning adults, who want to be emotionally and mentally healthy, it’s time for us to open this box and unpack the insecurities. Trust me, it’s not as painful as it sounds, it’s actually liberating. Most importantly, the outcome of facing our insecurities is self-love and self-acceptance. We can all pretty much agree that we’re in desperate need for more of it.

Unpacking our insecurities takes some quiet introspection and MUCH gentleness on our end. We need to be really kind to ourselves when we do this. Why? Because inside that box is a hurt little version of yourself. It’s a broken little boy/girl who was told that he/she wasn’t enough and is not acceptable. It’s hard enough to hear that as an adult! But as a kid, how are you supposed to process that?.

This is where the gentleness comes in. This is where you step up as the adult and you tell the little version of yourself that he/she is absolutely enough and 1000% acceptable. This is where you reassure that little-you that though those words hurt, you’re strong enough now to let go of the power and hold of those careless words. This is also where you have to constantly reassure yourself of your enough-ness. You have to do this so much that it’s internalized beyond all those insecurities that you’re working through.

Here are some ways that can help you work towards self-acceptance. 

SEE ALSO: 20 Signs Of A Supernatural Connection

List 5 things your amazing body has done for you

Self acceptance of the body is so important for our happiness and health.

Our bodies were not created to be looked at and judged by ourselves or by other people. They’re made to function. Remind yourself of that every day. Remind yourself of the AMAZING things your body has done for you, like carrying you from point A to point B, or running a marathon, or, I don’t know, birthing a HUMAN BEING? These things are way more exceptional than how your arms or legs look. These things bring about your true essence as a living being.

This clicked for me the last time I was with my grandfather before he passed away. Grandpa passed away from cancer and towards the end, he was bedridden. One afternoon, I overheard my mom and aunt discussing how to lift and prop him up to eat. As petite women, they weren’t able to fully support grandpa’s body weight, even though at this point, he couldn’t have been more than 100 pounds). Nonetheless, their bodies just couldn’t maneuver it.

So, I came to help, all 5’7 of me. Husky arms, jiggly calves and all. I lifted grandpa with ease and it was in that moment that it hit me: the body that I often criticized and wished were different is the exact body that physically supported my grandpa when nobody else could. My arms and calves were made to do a job that allowed me one more intimate hug with grandpa.

Start recognizing the way your body serves you each day, in the complex AND simple things. When we reduce our bodies to its aesthetics, we overlook its true purpose. Think of all the things your arms or stomach or thighs have done for you, being in the current state that they’re in. How amazing is THAT?

Self-acceptance affirmations

This one is awkward, I’m not going to lie, but, I swear, it does wonders. How many times a day do you look in the mirror and go straight into attack mode? Do you suck in your stomach to see what it would look like smaller? Do you try out different angles to see which captures the “skinny” side? We are SO ready to look at ourselves differently that we completely miss seeing the beauty that exists in this present moment.

This is my challenge for you: I want you to look at yourself the next time you’re hopping in or out of the shower when you have no obstructions to the view of your body. Take a look and notice when your brain starts up with the same ol’ criticizing chatter. When it does, stop it in its tracks, look into your eyes and repeat “I love you. You are beautiful and perfect exactly how you are right now”.

It feels weird. You’re going to laugh and think this exercise is ridiculous. But, if you are able to do THIS, then you’ve just accomplished the hardest thing on earth. Because isn’t loving ourselves one of the hardest things to do in life? (Also, if you do this multiple times on multiple days then, gold star for you!)

Do your best to take care of your body

A big part of self acceptance is learning healthy habits.

I had gotten to a point where I felt like “well, this is as good as it’s going to get” in terms of my body shape. Deep down, I knew I could clean up my diet a little better and so there was a disconnect. Since there was more that I could do, I couldn’t truly say that this is really “as good as it’s going to get”. So, I made small tweaks and they made a difference.

Be honest with yourself and take baby steps. Honesty gets you in the right direction and baby steps reassure your body that you’re doing your best to take care of it. If you truly are, then there’s no room BUT to accept your body as you take it through healthy changes. When we see and FEEL this, we can then truly revel in how amazing our bodies are, and that’s the root of self-acceptance.

It’s my firm belief that when we stop fighting things and work WITH them, everything falls into place. The same goes with our mentality and ourselves. When we stop fighting our bodies, nourish it, and accept it for how it looks, we begin to see all the amazing things it does. We see just how beautiful and perfect it is.

It’s a beautiful cycle of a change in perspective and things actually changing to feed that positive perspective. But first, we need to see and accept things as they are, and it starts here.

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