As you continue your journey towards gaining and sustaining a healthy body image, healthy self-esteem, and practicing nurturing self-care, it’s worthwhile considering the powerful practice of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is a conscious action motivated by a desire to feel a deeper sense of peace with your self and in your life experience.
It’s not about pretending to be perfect or denying that there are things about yourself that you might like to change. It’s the opposite of rejecting aspects of yourself that you don’t like, claiming only those that you do. In fact, it’s being genuinely face-forward about who you are right now – all the splendid and not-so-splendid parts – and accepting your true self just as you are. It’s the only place from which you can make any real change.
Look in a full-length mirror and say to your reflection, “I am here. This is me as I am right now.” Feel your full presence there. Press your feet into the floor right there in front of the mirror.
How did that feel? Were you curious and interested? Were you resistant and unwilling? Were you able to look directly into your own eyes and confidently make those statements? Did you feel hesitant, afraid, or in some other way uncomfortable? Did you smile or frown during the exercise? Do you think you could do the exercise in the nude?
Your answers to those questions tell you where you are with accepting your self. These answers illustrate your level of self-acceptance right now. Having taken the measure of your self-acceptance, you can decide if you will consciously take more action to self-accept.
A good old fashion and effective way to exercise your self-acceptance muscle is by using an affirmation. For example, say to yourself, “I accept myself as I am right now.” Try this affirmation out loud in front of a mirror for three weeks. Work towards looking yourself directly in the eyes while you say it. When you can do that, next add a loving smile to your face during the declaration.
When you can feel the statement of acceptance as truth in your heart, you’ll be ready to get into the game. Now you can look at exactly what it is that you’d like to improve or change about yourself.
Adjust your affirmation to acknowledge your desire to change while continuing to support yourself with full acceptance. For example, “This is the way I am right now, and I am willing to change.” Add a factual, non-judgmental statement of exactly what it is you want to change. For example, “I speak curtly to my husband right now, and I want to change so that I speak to him lovingly. I want to create a loving connection with my husband.”
This powerful combination of accepting what is now plus acknowledging your desire to change forges a path that takes you from here to where you want to be. By supporting yourself with acceptance, you can see a clear way towards the new you. By seeing that clear way, you can take one step each day persistently and consistently to take you to your desired goal.