Self Love Series: Keys to Unconditional Self-Acceptance
Posted May 24 2011 7:39am
A low capacity for self-acceptance hinders personal progress. So if you are already aware of this, then why are you rejecting yourself? It would seem that many of us are not able to stop ourselves from becoming our own worst enemies.
(Picture of Contented Cat drawn by Min, my daughter)
Non self-acceptance puts you in rejection. You reject yourself because you perceive that you are imperfect or have failed to meet a certain standard or expectation.
When you are in rejection, your subconscious is holding on to the imprints of “not good enough” and “unacceptable”. For a start, you may want to examine into root causes of non self-acceptance. When you examine root causes, you create awareness. You understand why you have been facing tremendous difficulties from the inside-out. You learn the keys to unconditional self-acceptance.
Could it be the case that since young, you were given many negative reinforcements? You were told that you were no good, “so ugly” that the hospital could have made a mistake by giving you to the wrong parents when you were born, of the “wrong” sex, “a failure” and so on. You were punished severely if you did something “wrong”. It didn’t matter if you had perfect exam scores or had beautiful behavior the rest of the time.
Additionally, could it be that there were also little physical demonstrations of love, forgiveness and acceptance? So even if there was no physical abuse, there could be psychological scars that had left you wounded, insecure and abandoned. While you have coped all these years, healing from past issues would have been left incomplete.
Body Image Issues
Investigate if you have got body image issues too. Body image issues have often been influenced by societal messages. According to the “objectification theory”, females are widely portrayed as objects of the male gaze. Which results in the development of self-objectification in females. Thus, females would evaluate their bodies according to narrow (and often sexual) standards of attractiveness.
Learn to spot the signs. You have got body image issues when the following thoughts debilitate you…
- I am too fat.
- I am too thin.
- My boobs are too big.
- My boobs are too small.
- I have a horrible looking nose.
- I am too short.
You feel less about the self because of some body part that is perceived to be imperfect. The “imperfection” may not necessarily be true. What counts is your perception. Your perception determines what you say to the self. You are not able to look at your own reflection in the mirror without some criticisms about your appearance.
In extreme cases, an eating disorder, based on an unrealistic stereotype of what constitutes beauty, can develop. It has been estimated that 8 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder today.
Having perfectionistic streaks, you strive to be the top, error-free and produce work that is impeccable. You would invariably find that the standards you have set are unattainable. Yet, anything less than perfection would create inner discord, embarrassment and shame.
Discontentment leads to suffering. The suffering is endless because you are never ever fully satisfied with who you are, your work or your achievements. You are in the perpetual state of feeling incomplete and unfulfilled. Happiness becomes elusive.
Rejection Fuels Personal Growth?
Now, many people use unhappiness with the self as motivation for personal growth. So deeming yourself a potential failure spurs you into working harder towards success. Not wanting to lose out to anyone, you run at breakneck speed.
Sure, this can work. It often does. However, this can mean that you operate from fear rather than love-based consciousness. You develop low self-esteem. The acceptance of self becomes conditional upon “arriving” at a destination.
In certain cases, taking the path of rejection for motivational reasons can backfire. You may find yourself in such severe self-loathing that you lack the capacity to shift into acceptance. It becomes difficult to love, nourish and embrace the self.
Practice Unconditional Self Acceptance
Self acceptance is to be unconditional. It does not matter if you have an unsightly blemish, wart or mole. You also accept that making mistakes, feeling embarrassment and experiencing pain is part of being human. Instead of inflicting punishment, you embrace yourself.
Self-acceptance is foundational. It grounds. When you accept yourself, you are at peace with everything about you – your appearance, actions, beliefs, values and desires. You experience comfort in the space of your inner home.
And from this very space, you develop the capacity to love the self – wholeheartedly. In so doing, you pave the way to becoming your highest potential. You savor the fruits of abundance.
“The fruit of self-understanding is self acceptance. The fruit of self acceptance is self-love. The fruit of self-love is love for the world. The fruit of love for the world is service to the world. The fruit of service to the world is peace” – Russell Rowe .
Share Your Thoughts
How do you practice unconditional self-acceptance? Do share your tips in the feedback below.