Confrontation with self-acceptance is something that nearly everyone struggles with at some point. or even all of their lives. Lack of self-acceptance creates so much turmoil. The bad thing about it is often covert in nature. We may go years not realizing that lack of self-acceptance is at the root of our problems.
We may tell ourselves that we accept ourselves, and superficially feel great about ourselves. We may laugh easily and even be out-going. Self-acceptance, however, is not on the surface. It is the very foundation that we build our life on. If poked the wrong way our structure may begin to collapse.
Children, especially small children, naturally have self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is inherent and natural. Unfortunately the vast majority of adults lose their self-acceptance somewhere along the way.
Why is it that so many people have a lack of self-acceptance?
1. From a young age we were conditioned to seek approval from parents. They are the main authority figures in our lives as children and affect our brain development the most. Since they are the providers of all the basic necessities in life, we associate this approval with the contingency of survival.
2. We have been conditioned throughout our formative years (6hrs + a day) to seek approval from teachers and when we are older, from bosses. Even business owners struggle with approval from customers. This conditioning is built in to the structure of civilized society.
3. We have failed before and it has dis-heartened us. Everyone has so much they can give to any pursuit. If they fail too many times, doubt can enter the picture. This can cause us to doubt our abilities. We may even develop a pattern. In this case lack of resiliency is the issue.
4. We have experienced a trauma, or a serious accident. The result may be that we refuse to confront underlying issues. We may have defense mechanisms that are preventing us to accept certain facts.
5. We have failed to be honest with ourselves. We have failed to confront our underlying fears. If we have insecurities the root is often linked to lack of admitting the truth about ourselves.
We may be experiencing some or all of these reasons for our lack of self-acceptance.
Here are some symptoms of lack of self-acceptance:
1. Lack of purpose in life. Bouncing from one line of work to another, but never really settling. Those with lack of self-acceptance lack sustained belief in any one direction. When things get tough, they leave.
2. Trying to impress people. Saying things in conversation for the intended result of impressing them, adding things that do not belong.
3. Speaking too much, or too little. Dominating conversations is a mask that we wear that re-enforces acceptance in our own eyes. It is an attempt to fill an unfillable void. Speaking too little can mean we have a lack of confidence in the value we bring.
4. Criticizing others. If we are constantly criticizing others then the underlying issue is most likely lack of acceptance in our own selves.
5. Feeling apathetic. We may lose faith in ourselves. After all, nothing is ever “good enough”.
6. Failure to able to accept constructive criticism. Some of us are so fragile inside that when someone is trying to help us, we take it as a threat.
7. Being rough with others or "having a hard shell". Those who are unable to pinpoint that the source of their unhappiness is lack of self-acceptance may take on a strategy of becoming harsh with others. This is an outward reflection what’s going on inside.
8. Being too nice. Those who agree with people too much lack belief in themselves. They may agree with people just to gain their acceptance which is rooted in their own lack of self-acceptance. It is possible to have contrary opinions, express them genuinely and still be kind to others.
Benefits of Self-Acceptance:
How to resolve lack of self-acceptance:
1. Pin point what the source is. Be honest with yourself. Use negative emotions such as anxiety, anger and fear to uncover what is causing it. If it is parents, which often is the case, then admit it to yourself. There may be many sources.
2. Be humble about your lack of self-acceptance. Nearly everyone has issues with self-acceptance. Being honest about this brings it out into the open so one can resolve it.
3. Make a commitment to re-gain self-acceptance. Resolving self-acceptance is a process. Be patient with yourself. It may take months or even years. Or, you may have small things you can resolve right away.
4. Practice Forgiving Others. Each day one or two people in your life and send them thoughts of acceptance. Send them thoughts of love. Realize that they did they best they could with what they were working with at the time.
5. Admit Your Mistakes. If lack of authenticity is at the heart of your lack of acceptance then be radically honest with yourself. Admit your short-comings. Admit your failures. Cry if you must. Write down what you did as you know it to be true.
6. Ask for Forgiveness from the Higher Power. God is the ultimate healer and arbitrator. When we surrender to God we relax, release and trust. We are also giving up the ego which means we are no longer holding onto the false self.
7. Forgive Yourself. This is the final stage of deep-seated issues, the patching up process. Forgiving oneself allows a person to move on. This works best after first doing #1 and #2. Otherwise one may be glossing over issues or failed to encompass their full capacity.
8. Learn Communication Skills. Many of us fail to confront the blocks in our lives because of lack of communication with others. We may reside to blaming others or ourselves not realizing that if we actually talked to people, we could resolve the issue. Here is an video I made that may help you in this area.
9. Practice Mirror Gazing. Look into your own eyes and discuss what is bothering you. See how you react. Note changes in your countenance. Your reflection can reveal a lot about yourself. Then practice positive affirmations for resolution. You may download my free book for guidance.