Let’s dive right into the chewy bits of the topic. What is self acceptance? For the sake of this post, let’s assume that it’s the act of being comfortable in yourself and the way you are. I believe being accepting of yourself means that you do not want to change anything about yourself in order to please others.
There’s that famous quote (that has been attributed to lots of celebrities so I’m not going to quote anyone) that talks about the trap that capitalism sets out for us. It goes along the lines of “we buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” If you’ve ever stumbled across the whole thing, it does hit hard.
Why am I mentioning it? You see, a lot of us are told to buy things instead of accepting ourselves. If we only have enough money to buy an iPhone then our Instagram photos will be better and we will get more likes and followers. If we only get the newest luxury make up brand palette then we will impress people at that one party we get invited to, and then we’ll become part of their friendship group. Sounds familiar?
It’s only normal- we are nothing but human after all- but I firmly believe that we mustn’t depend on others to feel valued. I mean, we want acceptance because we want to be valued members of our society and need to feel like we belong in order to feel useful. It’s tribal mentality (although cavemen did actually care for the disabled and infirm, but that’s for another post). But it shouldn’t be something that drives us mad and controls us in an unhealthy way.
This is something I’ve been experiencing myself since coming back to social media. I’ve had a great fear of missing out and seemed to always be behind whatever trends everyone else was following. It made me start feeling like my friends weren’t really my friends- I was overthinking every single move I made online. Thankfully I snapped out of it pretty quickly, but I could see it leading me down a self-destructive path.
You see, and this is the personal part, I have great problems with self-acceptance and it shows. So when I give you some tips below, trust me they are some of the things I have personally used and thought about and not just off the top of my head, or worse -plagiarised.
I don’t want to write this for attention, but like I said in other posts- it’s cathartic. I feel like the problem I have with self acceptance is that I have been outcasted many times on several different occasions as a child. I had along childhood in which I never really had a best friend or someone who understood me (this is where my enneagram type 4 really comes out I guess). I was abandoned by mother, and then by what seemed to every friendship I made. Of course, child friendships aren’t stable, but the ones I did happen to have wouldn’t be strong at all. It wasn’t until I was in my later teens that I learnt to love myself more and developed better relationships as a result.
You see, the biggest problem I had was bullying. I think my lack of self confidence really showed. All the things that went on at home and in my head were visible as crouched shoulders, unkempt hair and a croaky voice that I’d be afraid to raise.
Less of the blabbing now, I think I got out what I wanted to get out. Below are a few ways you can help yourself FEEL at home in yourself, and accept yourself the way you are.
- When it comes to looks, accept the fact that you can’t change yours but you can do an awful lot with your fashion, makeup and hair that can completely change how you look.
- Ok I know number one is a bit basic, but a lot of us forget that we are allowed to completely re-invent ourselves. This leads me on to the next point. You can change. There was a time not so long ago when everyone would use the phrase “you’ve changed” as an insult. Well, that’s extremely toxic for one, but it also highlights that you are and you should change. You are not going to be the same person you were two years or even two weeks ago. Feel free to come out and be more honest about who you truly are and how your opinions have changed.
- Remember that all media is fake. Magazines, TV, social media.. it’s all manufactured perfection. No one has perfectly arranged outfits for everyday, and a stylish minimalist flat- no matter how hard their YT channel is trying to persuade you of that. The media is a play with illusions. Never, ever let it make you feel worse about yourself. It’s done on purpose to sell you something.
- Just because everyone is raving about something, it doesn’t make it right or good for you. Social media is a perfect example of that, but also a lot of beauty and fashion trends like the ridiculous “thicc thin” physique or detox teas.
- Say no. A lot of people talk about being able to say no, but it can be further explained. Say no when you meant it, or even, say what you mean when you mean it. Don’t censor yourself when you feel uncomfortable in a situation. It’s ok to cut people out and it’s ok to stand up for yourself.
- Realise that the only person you will spend your whole life with is you- so make it the you that you’d enjoy spending time with.
That’s all folks! Feel free to comment. How did you increase your self-acceptance and confidence?