Throughout various social media platforms, you’ll see the hashtags such as, #bodypositive, #selflove, and the popular #effyourbeautystandards (popular tag for the Body Positive ‘BoPo’ community, created by Plus-Size Model Tess Holliday). You may be familiar with these or not but, to many individuals they hold a significant place in their everyday lives. In my opinion, these fall under the notion of self-acceptance.
What is self-acceptance? Self-acceptance to me is practicing compassion, patience, and unconditional love to my body – inside and out. Why would someone want to work towards self-acceptance? I say, “work towards” instead of, “achieve” because self-acceptance is a constant fight that challenges the negative voice inside your head that tells you, “You are not enough”. Self-acceptance is being able to look at yourself in the mirror and see who you really are, with acceptance and love. To me, this practice tests how you see your physical body and also, how you observe your personality and interactions with people. I find that my inner critic really thrives during social situations, barking at me that the things I am saying are childish, redundant, and that I don’t, “fit in”. However, self acceptance allows me to recognize these negative thoughts, sit with them, but then allow them to wash away and be replaced with positive affirmations such as, “I am enough”, “I have valuable knowledge”, and “People enjoy my company”.
Self-acceptance has helped me in situations where I never thought it could such as an interview, trying on clothing, or even writing an email. Self-doubt can manifest in numerous ways; oftentimes we may not even notice that inner critic coming to drag us and our self-confidence down. By being aware and mindful, we can observe these negative thoughts and address them in a more gentle and compassionate way.
Here are three ways to start your self-acceptance journey:
- Practice mindfulness: Being mindful to me means being more present rather than somewhere in your mind where the inner critic tends to dwell. When you live more in your mind than the present moment, the mind tends to start talking and not always positive. By living a more present life, whether it is enjoying your morning coffee in silence or reading a book in a park, we can appreciate the more mundane moments and move away from the anxious and doubtful thoughts that can creep in. To begin your mindfulness journey I recommend the tiny book, The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 Minutes a Day to Less Stress, More Peace by Patrizia Collard. This little guy helped me slowly develop a more mindful way of living.
- Find a hobby: I know I know, you are probably rolling your eyes at this typical word of advice but, it is true! Finding a hobby can ease stress and bring purpose. Being creative and inventing new ideas can truly spark your inner power and confidence. When I started my journey with watercolor painting, I felt this surge of inner pride, knowing that I created something beautiful. If you are looking for a new hobby, I highly recommend Skillshare which is an online platform that hosts thousands of classes that range from business to writing, and everything in between.
- Journal: You are probably also rolling your eyes at this one and it is understandable. Journaling is a popular tool that is mentioned for any kind of mindshift change and for good reason! Journaling allows us to tap into our inner guidance and gain clarity on certain feelings and emotions – both negative and positive. If you are having a particularly bad day and can’t get that inner critic to shut it’s pie hole, journaling those thoughts and feelings out can really allow you to acknowledge them, release them, and move forward onto something more positive and upbringing. If you are new to journaling I recommend, Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel. This small-scale journal is the perfect companion for someone new to journaling. It has beautiful and insightful artwork and writing prompts, especially if you feel as though you wouldn’t know where to begin.
Self-acceptance is a difficult and beautiful journey. It will put you in front of the inner demons that linger on both your conscious and subconscious levels. Traumas and difficult experiences can create negative feelings that you may not even realize and through self-acceptance and corresponding practices, you’ll be able to smooth out each layer. It won’t happen overnight but, the benefits of this journey are limitless. Through self-acceptance I have been able to realize the true abundance in my life and my own self worth while also, being able to see the beauty in others. Self-acceptance penetrates each and every fiber of your being and allows your inner fire to flourish and radiate not only on the outside but, the inside as well.
Start your journey to a life filled with light, love, and peace.
With light and love,