Did you know that the act of self-acceptance is the single most important ingredient when it comes to building your self-esteem? Matter of a fact, it’s impossible to build self-esteem without it.
If you’re like me, you may view self-acceptance as a weakness (after all you’re accepting the worst parts of you, aren’t you?). I quickly came to realize this misconception in my thinking, when I stumbled into a ground shaking psychological book called, “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem,” written by Nathaniel Branden. He quickly came to clarify self-acceptance by re-defining it’s meaning in a new definition while providing insights on what self-acceptance does to the human mind. I hope to discuss this evidence in this blog by sharing with you a new interpretation of the 3 levels of self-acceptance that is prescribed to human nature. Additionally, I’ll come to help you apply this into your own life. Ready? Let’s get started.
So, what is self-acceptance? Self-acceptance is the agreement to be in a compassionate and friendly relationship to self. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It can be hard to do, however, if you were taught from early childhood not to trust your instincts, your opinions, or your emotions. Not to mention, our natural gravitation to negativity.
Viewing the hierarchy of self-acceptance, we can quickly come to identify where we as individuals stand on the relationship with self. The first level is the thought of ‘being on my own side.’ This is the most primitive innate thought of each individual. It’s a natural egotism that is a birthright to every human being. This is the time when you may have gone through a rather toxic abusive relationship where abuse and humiliation were present and you finally decided to stand up for yourself through the last outcry of, “NO!” This is ultimately the voice of our life-force.
The second level is known as ‘the willingness to experience.’ This is the state of mind where we accept what we think we think, what we feel we feel, desire what we desire, have done what we have done, and are who we are. We allow ourselves to be, think, and feel openly; accepting ourselves entirely as we are; whether we like certain features or not. If one refuses to accept their own body, emotions, thoughts, actions or dreams, one denies their own existence and describes oneself as an alien, “not me”, ultimately diffusing personal responsibility. As a result of this, this person is now incapable to overcome a fear in which they possess since they deny their own reality. You and I, cannot deal with a problem if we will not admit that it exists; for you cannot change traits in which you do not possess. You cannot forgive yourself for an action you do not acknowledge. See the pattern?
The third level of self-acceptance is carrying ‘compassion to self’- being your own ultimate friend. With this type of relationship to self, one displays respect and compassion to oneself; where your higher self works collaboratively with you to grow to excellence. This is the golden state to be in; where forces of productivity, love, and respect are present.
The question lies to, what level are you sitting at? And if it’s anything below three, how can you apply the act of self-acceptance into your own life?
First off, you don’t have to like your current situation, you merely need to accept it. I got goosebumps when I first heard this; you mean I don’t have to like my anxiety, my past self, my behaviours, my thoughts, these destabilizing emotions? I simply need to accept them? Yes, since if you can’t accept yourself in your worst state, you’ll never be able to accept yourself in the best state.
Secondly, emotions and thoughts are nor good or bad, they just are. Society, especially religious groups, like to shame individuals for feeling in certain ways or thinking differently. The truth is that if we do not acknowledge a certain thought or feeling and fail to validate it, we are prone to become passive aggressive, or live in denial (a state of frozenness); when all of this could have been avoided if self validation occurred where one could have acted accordingly. After all, actions matter most.
Great! I think the time has come for you to give self-acceptance a shot; it’s time to place it into action. Try it today, by accepting something you’ve been resisting for a while now. You know what that something it is… You’ll be amazed at what it will do for you within a month’s time.