Self Acceptance

"Some people find fault like there's a reward for it."
- Zig Ziglar

Self acceptance is being loving and happy with who you are NOW. Some call it self-esteem, others self-love, but whatever you call it, you'll know when your accepting yourself cause it feels great. Its an agreement with yourself to appreciate, validate, accept and support who you are at this very moment, even those parts you'd like to eventually change. This is important...even those parts you'd eventually like to change. Yes, you can accept (be okay with) those parts of yourself you want to change some day.

The Motivation Behind Your Lack of Acceptance

If acceptance feels so good and is so good for us, then why don't we accept ourselves? The answer is motivation. We use our lack of acceptance (punishment - cause it feels bad) as motivation to get us to do, not do, be, and not be what we think we should. Many people believe that if they accepted themselves as they are, they wouldn't change or that they wouldn't work on becoming more of who they want to be.

Typically, we judge ourselves unfavorably with the hope it will motivate us to change. We hope if we feel bad enough about ourselves, that maybe that will motivate us to change. Does this work? Sometimes, but only short term. Most times all it does is cause us to feel bad which saps the energy you might have used to make changes. It can be a vicious cycle. It works exactly counter to what you wanted to do.

"Acceptance allows change. The 'acceptance mode' includes everything, even my judgments. It allows me to be okay now, even before I reach my goals."

"When you begin to accept yourself the way you are right now, you begin a new life with new possibilities that did not exist before because you were so caught up in the struggle against reality that that was all you could do."

- Traveling Free, Mandy Evans

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So if it doesn't work, why do we keep doing it? Because we hope it will work. And if you don't know any other way to change, what options do you have? We've been trained to believe that in order to change, we need to first feel bad about it. That if we're accepting and loving of that particular quality, that we won't do anything to change the situation, which is not true! You don't have to be unhappy with yourself to know and actively change those things you'd like to change about yourself. Acceptance is actually the very first step in the process of change. For more about this, see "an interview about acceptance"

Think of acceptance of yourself like being okay with where you live now. You may want a bigger house one day. You may dream about that new home. But there ARE advantages to living in a smaller home if you only took the time to think about it. It is possible to be happy with the home you're in now, while still dreaming and working to make your new home a reality.

Process Of Acceptance

Acceptance exists at the core of your being. It is your default status. In order to reach this base level of acceptance, you need only remove the items laying on top. To do this, you must first identify all the things you do not accept about yourself. Then, one by one, eliminate them by examinging and questioning your beliefs around that issue.

  • Know yourself and your beliefs
  • Take a good hard look at your honesty level
  • Know you are doing the best you can
  • Relax your value judgments
  • Examine guilt
  • Understand your motivations
  • Ask yourself questions about what you don't accept

next: Society and Acceptance

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 3). Self Acceptance, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: August 6, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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