5 things people who find self-acceptance do

As the term suggests, self-acceptance is the state of complete acceptance of oneself. True self-acceptance is embracing who you are without any qualifications, conditions, or exceptions. It is the ability to accept one’s qualities or attributes, be they positive or negative. By achieving self-acceptance, we are making a positive contribution to our mental health and wellbeing. Put bluntly, self-acceptance makes life easier, and in this blog, we look at five things that people who accept themselves do.

1. Talk positively to themselves

Self-talk, the ‘act or practise of talking to oneself’, is one way we use our imaginations to conduct our personal and professional lives. Self-talk is how we shape and construct our reality. It enables us to get things done, problem-solve and monitor whether we are on track in life. Imagine, therefore, the effect on this crucial aspect of our functioning of the following examples of self-talk:

  • The self-talk of people who accept themselves: positive, fair, constructive and kind
  • The self-talk of people who struggle with self-acceptance: negative, unfair, punitive and mean

A failure to accept ourselves is the equivalent of putting stones in shoes. Yes, we can still make progress in life, but it will be painful and slow. People who accept themselves celebrate their achievements, express gratitude for what they have, and console themselves when life is hard.

2. Balance positives with negatives

If you were to ask someone who accepts themselves to summarise their lives, they would offer you a balanced view of what was going well alongside areas for improvement. Their motto might be ‘There’s nothing wrong with you that what’s right with you can’t fix.’ Self-acceptance amplifies the positive and cushions the negative. To the ‘self-accepter’, setbacks, difficulties and hardship are part of the picture, never the whole of it.

3. Assert themselves

Assertiveness, or the ability to express thoughts, feelings and beliefs in direct, honest and appropriate ways, comes naturally to people who accept themselves. Self-acceptance goes hand-in-hand with positive self-esteem, the foundation for assertiveness. While they value what others can bring to their lives, people who accept themselves are not dependent on them doing so. In contrast, people unable to accept who they are, depend on others for their esteem and worth. Self-acceptance produces relationships with solid boundaries and clear, explicit contracts that establish what is and is not acceptable. Self-acceptance also creates a strong, core self or identity that rejects attempts to undermine it, meaning people who accept themselves walk away from relationships that fail to do so.

4. Make good use of their nervous system

Self-acceptance, because it is life-affirming, protects and supports our mental health and wellbeing. As a result, self-acceptance switches on our body’s ‘Relaxation Response’ and switches off our ‘Fight, flight or freeze’ response. The Relaxation Response counteracts the physiological effects of stress, whereas the fight, flight or freeze response amplifies it. Research “…has shown that regular use of the Relaxation Response can help any health problem that is caused or exacerbated by chronic stress such as fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal ailments, insomnia, hypertension, anxiety disorders, and others.” As such, self-acceptance does more than make life easier; it plays a role in extending it.

5. Challenge themselves

Being alive is a challenge and to do it well, we need to both thrive and survive. Fairly or unfairly, evolution has determined that achieving the optimum state of thriving and surviving requires continual investment. This means accepting challenge as a given, not a choice, and people who accept themselves, accept this principle. People who don’t, resent it. As a consequence, self-accepters live in harmony with how life is, not in conflict with it, and progress through life with fewer setbacks and disappointments. And they are more likely to embrace the benefits of challenge, such as feel stretched in ways that give them a sense of meaning and purpose. 

Getting support for self-acceptance

If you would like to accept yourself so you can be more and do more in life, I’d love to work with you. At Conversations With Impact, I have supported many clients to find self-acceptance through my IMPACT Model and IMPACT Transformation Programmes.

To book an initial consultation, visit my Make a Booking page. You will have the opportunity to tell me about what you are going through and find out how I can support you. Even if you choose not to work with me, I promise your consultation will give you more ideas, knowledge and insight than you had before. To find out what my clients say about me, visit my Testimonials page.