Tag Archive | Self Care

Acceptance: A Game Changer

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.

The Tryout
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.

The Practice
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.

Game Time
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.

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Part 3 – Healthy Body Image: 6 Places to Start

In Part 2, we looked specifically at just six areas of life experience that are influenced by body image and self-esteem. We closed this examination with the hopeful idea that accepting self as is today is the place to start, even if there are things we want to change.

But how do you accept your self as you are today? Can you find a way to reopen your heart to your present self? Below I offer six suggestions. These activities are immediately fulfilling and longer lasting than the perfect body.

Groom and dress yourself lovingly every day. Simple things like applying lotion after a shower to arms, legs, and torso in a gentle, massaging way can help you reconnect and feel good about yourself. Wear clothes that fit well, in colors and styles that you like and feel good in. Limit or completely eliminate getting on a scale. Tune into how you feel more than what you weigh.

Schedule some time every week, or at least every month, to engage in an activity that you find fun and that reignites your creative juices.

Reach out to people you know and like; create opportunities to get together and share some fun time. Don’t worry about bothering them or how busy they may already be; and if they are not available, do not take it personally. Just keep reaching out to people you know and like and find someone who can join you for an activity as simple as a walk and chat, for example.

While facing yourself in the mirror, declare your appreciation for the things you do well and the qualities that you like in yourself. Start out with one day a week and work up to making it a daily practice. Find at least one positive thing to say to yourself in the mirror each time.

Healthy food choices
Take time to buy, prepare, and eat nourishing and healthful food. Even if you are cooking for just you, act as if you are feeding someone very important and deserving of a great home-cooked meal – because you are.

Feel-good movement
Turn on some fun music that makes you want to move your body. Find ways to move that feel good, for example, swimming or yoga. What physical activities did you enjoy when you were a kid? Find ways to reconnect with that side of yourself.

There are many ways to practice self-acceptance and self-nurturance that will create the foundation from which to support your desired changes. You can have the life you want. Start today by appreciating who you are now. As you do this, you will be able to move toward the life you want for yourself with positive energy and an attitude of joy.

Part 2 – Your Body Image: Healthy or Harmful?

In Part 1, we considered the general impact of body image. Even if it seems that body image doesn’t have an impact on your day-to-day life, take a closer look and you’ll notice that it is an underlying element in virtually every area of your life.

Relationships with friends and family
While you’re focused on whether or not you look good enough, you could be missing out on the opportunity to build relationships and share a good time. For example, have you ever opted out of a dance party or a beach outing because you felt uncomfortable about how you look?

Romantic relationships
If you’re uncomfortable with how you look, you’re likely to create distance between you and your significant other, putting obstacles in the way of intimacy. You may also miss out on opportunities to make a romantic connection because you’re too uncomfortable to connect with new people.

Success at work
Although appearance is not directly connected to job performance, the way you feel about yourself and how you look does impact your self-esteem. Your ability to confidently present yourself and your ideas produces success; whereas, shrinking and hiding in your cubicle, no matter how hard you are plugging away, will not progress your career. You must be able to connect with others confidently.

Physical health and emotional wellbeing
When you are uncomfortable with something, it is a natural inclination to ignore it or move away from it. If you are not feeling good about yourself, you are more likely to neglect your self-care, which ultimately results in declining health and wellbeing. When was the last time you moved your body in a way that feels good to you in exercise or dance or with massage? When was the last time you had a wellness check-up with a doctor?

Spiritual health
When you are feeling good about yourself, you are enlivened with the desire to reach out to others and connect. You’re more ready and able to help others and contribute to the greater good. This includes cultivating whatever spiritual practices nurture your soul.

Home comforts
A poor self-image is often reflected in how you care for your environment. Do you let clutter build up? Are there house repairs or cleaning that is way over due?  

The first step in having self-esteem is to accept your body and your self as you are. You may like to change some things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t accept and love yourself today. Here is your beginning place.

Acknowledge how you feel in your skin right now. Acknowledge this is your body and your self. You are doing the best you can with the knowledge and skills you have. Hold your present self in a heart space and create a desired vision for your future self at the same time. In this way, you can support your own evolution.

Join me for Part 3 to learn specific ways to be comfortable in your own skin today while moving toward your vision of the future you.