Self-Acceptance: Learning to Love Yourself
Updated: Apr 7, 2021
According to Psychology Today, “Though related, self-acceptance is not the same as self-esteem. Whereas self-esteem refers specifically to how valuable, or worthwhile, we see ourselves, self-acceptance alludes to a far more global affirmation of self.” Many of us struggle with fully accepting ourselves – every aspect of ourselves.
At Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries, our counseling services start with Temperament Therapy. An A.P.S. (Arno Profile System) report reveals an individual’s "spiritual genetics" and it guides us in helping them discover who God made them to be in order to fulfill his calling and purpose for their life.
Self-acceptance is more than embracing our good or positive attributes; it’s about recognizing and embracing the less desirable aspects of ourselves, as well. Only once we accept these traits can we take steps toward self-improvement. The start of a new year is perfect for a fresh start; discovering things about ourselves we didn’t know (or overlook) and finding ways to grow and improve throughout the year.
Understand How Self-Acceptance Impacts Your Relationships
Our traits and behaviors impact our relationships with ourselves and others. Everyone has flaws. Your partner, children, family, and friends don’t love you because you’re perfect, they love you for all the things that make you, you. But, sometimes, our traits can hurt those we care about.
For example, jealously is a natural emotion. It’s normal to find yourself feeling jealous of someone else’s vacation or new car. But, when we struggle with self-acceptance, this emotion can become overly negative and push others away. We’ll criticize others or belittle their accomplishments; “They only got a new car because ___________.” Even if your criticisms aren’t directed at someone you care about, this behavior can make people wary about spending time with you.
When we accept ourselves, we don’t feel threatened by other men or women, because we are happy and confident in our own skin.
Have Patience with Yourself
Self-acceptance doesn’t happen overnight and every person has the ability to grow and improve. As you travel the road of self-acceptance and self-improvement, it’s important to always have patience with yourself. Accepting ourselves fully is easier said than done.
“Self-acceptance can look different for each of us, depending on what we have struggled with and which pieces of ourselves we’d rather not think about (PositivePsychology.com).”
A simple way to stay positive and keep yourself on track is to find and repeat an affirmation.
My uniqueness is my blessing.
I am beautiful.
I am not my circumstances.
I am open.
Fear of failure does not control me.
His Love Doesn’t Need to Be Earned
God made you exactly how you were meant to be – the good, bad, and everything in between. When you feel low or unworthy of His love, always remember that He accepts you. You can always turn to Him with your doubts and questions and trust in His love and guidance. Realizing this is the first, and most crucial, step toward accepting ourselves.
Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries offers Christian counseling services that work to help individuals and couples discover who they are, so they can work toward growth. Visit our blog for more articles.