Possessing both high self-esteem and self-acceptance can make you unstoppable, give you inner peace and heighten your personal development. Self-esteem refers to confidence in your own worth and abilities and high regard for your personal development. Self-acceptance goes deeper into identifying, understanding and appreciating your own strengths, limitations, and mistakes.
Self-acceptance is fueled by a psychological concept known as self-actualization. Psychologist Abraham Maslow, who pioneered the idea of self –actualization in 1943, stated that our true potential is supported by physiological needs – such as air and food. Self-acceptance and self-actualization are subsequently achieved through the application of “meaning and personal and social fulfillment” to one’s life through “creativity, intellectual growth, and social progress.” (Psychology Today)
People with low self-esteem lack confidence and often question and doubt their capabilities and worth. Low self-esteem can stem from external judgment as well as harsh self-criticism when comparing oneself to others. Unfortunately, people with low self-esteem are seen as unreliable, boring, pessimistic, and, sometimes, depressing. Individuals with low self-esteem are more likely to have thoughts like:
“Why can’t I be more like him?”
“I can’t believe how stupid I am sometimes!”
“I will never be good enough for her.”
“I don’t deserve to be happy.”
People with high or good self-esteem alternatively tend to have a positive outlook on life and are usually more involved in the community or at work. Healthy self-esteem is highly beneficial for parents because they, in turn, pass on the values associated with self-acceptance and good self-esteem to their children. Good self-esteem is absolutely necessary for properly guiding your child’s behavior. People with high or healthy self-esteem are usually:
- Honest and relatable
- Mentally stable
- Good communicators
- Quick thinkers
If you think you have low self-esteem, all is not lost. It’s completely reversible and preventable. To achieve high self-esteem, you must start by accepting yourself. Self-acceptance requires introspection, realization, and appreciation of who and how you truly are. Because self-acceptance is super important for parents in influencing their children’s behavior, practicing these tips can teach you how to accept yourself:
- Celebrate your strengths and accomplishments
Spend more time honing and improving the activities and abilities at which you succeed and gain more confidence from them. The better you are at something, the more confident you appear doing it – making you a more assertive person and improving your personal development. If you’re good at or love a sport or playing an instrument, you can gain confidence by becoming better at it.
- Practice gratitude
Being grateful enables you to focus on the positive things in your life, rather than the negative. Remaining positive is key in appreciating and accepting yourself despite your flaws and mistakes. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made and thank yourself for the teachable lesson.
- Don’t take comments or judgment personally
Try to blow off harsh criticisms and judgment from people around you. Their judgment of you actually exposes their own insecurities and low self-esteem. It may be better to remove those people from your life completely. So, if someone constantly offers negative comments about your appearance, try to distance yourself from that person because he or she is probably insecure about their looks and won’t stop at criticizing just your outfit.
Podcast Ep. 167 – Achieving Self Acceptance – Your Emotional Well-being Is at Stake
- Lower your expectations and try not to judge yourself too harshly
If you set the standards for yourself unreasonably high, you’ll never be able to achieve them or fully accept yourself. Set reasonable and attainable goals that translate into bigger long-term goals in the future. If you aspire to own a business but don’t yet have enough capital, try to save smaller amounts over time rather than a lump sum at once.
- Surround yourself with positive people who contribute to your self-acceptance
Get rid of or spend less time with people who are negative, unsupportive and judgmental. That kind of energy can deplete your confidence, affect how you accept yourself and hinder your personal development. Seek out positive spaces with likeminded people who also accept you for who you are.
- Help other people as often as you can
It’s been scientifically proven that we experience a feel-good chemical reaction in our bodies when we help other people. When you feel good about yourself more often, you become happier, more confident and less critical of yourself. Throughout your day, make a bigger effort to open the door for someone, help someone with their bags or across the street or pay for their groceries.
Self-esteem and self-acceptance go hand-in-hand, you can’t have one without the other. Practicing good self-esteem and self-acceptance will catalyze your personal development, improve your confidence and charisma, and make you more selfless, empathetic, patient and trustworthy. It’s important to value yourself and accept yourself for who you are, including your weaknesses. You can even convert some of your weaknesses into strengths, which counts as points towards high self-esteem!