Self acceptance is vital to loving ourselves in completeness. Unconditional self acceptance is understanding and acknowledging we all make mistakes, but most importantly, not letting our mistakes define us.
Here are some tips on how to work with our imperfections:
Write down a list of what bothers you about yourself. See if somewhere in your life this trait has served a good purpose or created a positive outcome for you or others that is not harmful.
Explore 2 or 3 traits and try and understand their origins. When did you first notice this trait became an issue? Can you find a source for this trait. Did you have a heartbreaking relationship that made you become less trustful of others? Did you feel unworthy as a child? We then realise many of our traits were built over a lifetime and are possible to shed.
Work on forgiving yourself for seemingly not so good behaviours that have been infringing on others and your own life. Take some time to be self compassionate. The same advice you would give a friend, work on sharing this with yourself.
Learn to seperate yourself from your behaviours.
Find ways to detract from ruminating thoughts that are not healthy. When we begin to fester on something that happens, we will continue to build negative self perceptions about ourselves, sometimes giving a response disproportional to the event. What we consider terrible and awful, may not necessarily be so, but because of our own self doubts and fears about who we are, we have catastrophize it. Ask a trusted friend for the perspective about your thoughts and feelings.
Observe and notice the language you use when describing or talking about yourself. Is it reaffirming and positive, or is it self deprecating?
Surround yourself with people who believe in you and distance yourself from those who reaffirm negative self talk.
Honouring and Serving,
Simran K. Rattan MD