Accepting Yourself

by Mark Ivar Myhre on June 3, 2007

Are you happy with yourself just the way you are? Do you
accept yourself with all your shortcomings?

Most people don’t. For several reasons.

For instance, society holds certain standards that by their
very nature are almost impossible to live up to. You’re
supposed to strive for the perfect job. The perfect home.
The perfect family. The perfect relationship. The perfect

When we compare ourselves to this mythical ‘ideal person’ –
it’s no wonder we lack self-acceptance!

We live in a society that demands comparison and contrast
and competition. But we’ll never measure up to the ideal
standards of perfection by the unspoken rules of society.

Thus we can never accept ourselves.

It’s a no-win situation:

1. Here’s the perfect/ideal person

2. You must compare yourself to this image

3. Perfection, by definition, is impossible

4. Therefore, you lose!

What makes it even worse is that we rarely – if ever –
question this situation. We’ve bought into the lie. We
accept that we’re unacceptable without ever really stopping
to evaluate why.

Which is one of the main reasons we stay stuck in our
present condition. Because if you don’t accept yourself,
what will be your motivation for change?
Anger? Ridicule?
Derision? Self-loathing?

Is that really the fuel you want to use to better yourself?

Here’s another reason so few people have self-acceptance:

We forget we’re ALWAYS a work-in-progress. Because we’re
stuck in time. We tend to see ourselves as standing on a
pinnacle, or a plateau, or sadly maybe even a trough. No
matter the image, it still seems to be somewhat of a
‘concluding statement’ about ourselves.

“I am the sum total of all I’ve been.”

True. But that’s also going to be true next week, next
year, next decade. Because while we can look around us in
the present, and we can remember the past; the future seems
so unknown… so elusive… so unreal. We tend to believe
the future doesn’t exist – and it may never exist – all we
know is the present and the past.

“I may never change” because “This is where I’ve ended up
in life.”

Guess what? You never end up anywhere in this life. Life
is a process. Not a destination. It’s not about your
‘place’ in life – because your place is always changing.
Or it should be. It better be. Life is like a river.
A never-ending river.

Remember when the sixth-graders looked so big? Then you
get to the sixth grade. Then it’s the high school kids
who looked so big, so cool, so mature. We compare ourselves
to others who are more than we are. Without realizing
we’re on our own path to becoming more.

Self-acceptance makes it much easer to grow and change.
Why? Because it gives us something positive to push off
from. It gives us something solid to stand on as we reach
for more.

The problem is, we often confuse contentment with
complacency. We confuse satisfaction with settling. If
I’m content and satisfied with who I am and where I am
right now (which means I’m accepting myself) then I’m in
a stronger position to achieve more.

If I’m complacent; if I’ve settled – then I’m not likely
to do much of anything to change. And this state can be
confused with self-acceptance, rather than what it really
is – self-resignation.

Admitting who and what you are, admitting your
accomplishments, and taking responsibility for them –
strengthens you.

“Yes, I want more. Much more. But I’m willing to pause and
reflect and be responsible for all I’ve done up till now.”

Do that, and you’ll be one step closer to accepting
yourself. Plus, by looking for the good, you’ll find and
create more of it.

Self-acceptance does not come easy. You’re up against a
lot of negative programming. But reflecting on your
accomplishments can be a starting point. Even if you
used to be on a peak, and now you’re in a trough, there
has to be some sort of silver lining. At the very least,
you have a greater awareness of life.

Maybe you’re ready to accept yourself on a deeper, more
profound level. Maybe it’s time to love yourself a little
more and judge yourself a little less harshly. Maybe today
is the day you begin to embrace self-acceptance.

Nobody else can stop you from accepting yourself.

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