Psychological Writings

What is Self-Acceptance? Details about it.

Self-acceptance implies accepting ourselves unconditionally with all our past wrong doings and undesirable behaviors without offering justification for any of them, as well as acknowledging the worthiness that is inherent in each one of us.

Self-acceptance is defined as affirmation or acceptance of self in spite of weaknesses or deficiencies. Although this term has been often understood in a common sense way, researchers have defined it formally in terms of positive and negative self-concepts. According to Shepard (1979), self-acceptance refers to an individual's satisfaction or happiness with himself, and is thought to be necessary for good mental health. Self-acceptance involves self-understanding, a realistic, albeit subjective, awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses. It results in an individual's feeling about himself that he is of "unique worth".

In clinical psychology and positive psychology, self-acceptance is considered the prerequisite for change to occur. It can be achieved by stopping criticizing and solving the defects of one's self, and then accepting them to be existing within one's self. That is, tolerating one to be imperfect in some parts.

It is only when one is willing to accept him or her unconditionally it opens the door to change and eventual success in life then comes. The things we have done in our life like the prizes we have won, the accomplishments we have made, the various exams we have passed, the things we have done for other people and the things we have done for us, all the possessions we have acquired through our hard work, and our talents and abilities. When any individual will be able to do that, he can easily accept himself. A lack of self acceptance and its natural effect of contributing to low self esteem results in a lower success rate in the achieving of success in life. A person must learn to accept himself up to now because now is the time to really start accepting his worthiness as a human being. I t is essential to accept the fact that we will make mistakes in life just everyone else. We do not want to deliberately make mistakes, so we can’t blame ourselves. We should accept our mistakes as feedback which we can use to guide us to success. Identify oneself with mistakes leads to lower self confidence. This tends only to make oneself feel that it’s a failure. So, we should accept and apologize for our mistakes and learn from them, most importantly refrain from repeating them. As we make fewer mistakes, our level of self-acceptance soars.

The more an individual acts in accordance with his moral values, the higher is his level of self-acceptance. Our level of self-acceptance increases as we practice more of it. When we accept ourselves as a worthy being, it gives a tremendous boost to our self-image which is really essential to being the kind of person we wish to be.

Accepting ourselves unconditionally (despite our deficiencies) would have been almost automatic had our parents conveyed a predominantly positive message about us--and, additionally, we grew up in a generally supportive environment. But if that really wasn't the case, we need on our own to learn how to "certify" ourselves, to validate our essential ok-ness. Independently confirming ourselves has anything to do with becoming complacent--only that we get over our habit of constantly judging ourselves. If deep within us we're ever to experience, as our normal state of being, personal fulfillment and peace of mind, we must first rise to the challenge of complete, unqualified self-acceptance.

Happiness and self-acceptance go hand in hand. In fact, our level of self-acceptance determines our level of happiness. The more self-acceptance we have, the more happiness we'll allow ourselves to accept, receive and enjoy. Perhaps more than anything else, cultivating self-acceptance requires that we develop more self-compassion. Only when we can better understand and pardon ourselves for things that earlier we assumed must be our entire fault and then we can secure the relationship to self that till now has eluded us.
To adopt a more loving stance toward ourselves--the key prerequisite for self-acceptance--we must come to realize that till now we've pretty much felt obliged to demonstrate our worth to others. In a sense, we all bear "conditional-love scars" from the past. We're all among the ranks of the "walking wounded." And this recognition of our common humanity can help inspire in us not only feelings of habitually-withheld kindness and goodwill toward ourselves but toward others as well.

To become more self-accepting, we must start by telling ourselves (repeatedly and-- hopefully--with ever-increasing conviction) that given all of our negatively biased self-referencing beliefs, we've done the best we possibly could. In this light, we need to re-examine residual feelings of guilt, as well as our many self-criticisms and put-downs. We must ask ourselves specifically what it is we don't accept about ourselves and, as agents of our own healing, bring compassion and understanding to each aspect of self-rejection or -denial. By doing so, we can begin to dissolve exaggerated feelings of guilt and shame based on standards that simply didn't mirror what could realistically be expected of us at the time. The good news is that positive self acceptance is not difficult at all when you learn to like yourself.

Social acceptance

Social acceptance could be defined as the fact that most people, in order to fit in with others, attempt to look and acts like them. Or sometimes it is a term that refers to the ability to accept, or to tolerate differences and diversity in other people or groups of people. Social acceptance affects children, teenagers and adults. It also can affect people of all ages with mental disabilities because social acceptance determines many decisions people make in life. Children and teenagers tend to do a lot of things to try to be accepted among friends, also known as peer pressure. Peer pressure determines sometimes how they do their hair and decides what clothes they wear. It also determines what they are willing to do to as far as smoking, drinking, swearing, and sexual activity and much more, to be accepted by those whose friendship they value.

Adults do some of the same things out of the desire for the acceptance and approval of their friends. To be one of the groups, they might do some of the same things like drinking, swearing or taking drugs just to fit in. They base fashion on the latest tips from magazines and fashion experts. When it comes to mental disabilities, social acceptance plays a big role in recovery. Social acceptance is important because many people don't understand mental illness so they don't know how to embrace their friends or other people who have a disease, leaving these people with feelings of not being accepted in groups of friends.

 Five Principles Focusing on Self-Acceptance

 

a. Knowing Who I Am

The journey of self-acceptance starts with the acceptance that we don’t seem to know much about ourselves. Our personality finds it difficult to answer questions like “Who am I?’ and “What do I want?” True self-acceptance is motivated by a genuine knowing that it is possible to know what our true essence is. Self-acceptance is the process of befriending the Unconditioned Self that is more than just our name, our self-image, our history, our story, our failures, or our successes. We are more than just our experiences or how other people see us.

b. Practicing Self-Kindness

Self-acceptance helps us to discern between our personality and our Unconditioned Self. This discernment is essential for our growth and happiness. Early on, every child starts to construct a “persona” to help cope with the demands of being in a family, going to school, and facing the world. On close inspection we find that our persona is made up of judgments about who we are, what are possible, what we deserve, and what we don’t. These judgments build a self-image, which is the lens through which we see ourselves and the world. Judgment is not vision. Judgment is not seeing. That’s why the more we judge ourselves the less we see who we really are. The habit of self-judgment causes self-denigration in which we belittle in ourselves, criticize ourselves, punish ourselves, and treat ourselves without kindness. The most powerful way to undo the effects of self-denigration is forgiveness. Forgiveness restores awareness of our innate goodness. Declaring that “I forgive myself for my judgments” and Affirming “I will not harm myself today” build a trust in our goodness. Relaxing into your wholeness and to treat ourselves with kindness is the main way to build the true self acceptance.

c. Loving Myself as I am

In any given moment, we are either accepting ourselves or rejecting ourselves. To put it another way, if we do not practice self-acceptance we must practice self-rejection. In essence, self-rejection is identifying with our personality more than with our essence. In practice, this means we often say “No” to ourselves. For instance: “No” to our real desires, “No” to having any needs, “No” to stopping and relaxing, “No” to making time for ourselves, “No” to letting ourselves be helped, and “No” to loving ourselves more.For as long as we keep rejecting ourselves; we will live in constant fear of being rejected by others. Out of necessity, we will fashion a persona that tries to be good, not to ask for anything, not to be a burden, to please people, and to ingratiate itself wherever possible. Sadly, this persona will feel “unlovable”, no matter how hard it tries to love others. The self-rejection causes us to be mean to ourselves – no attention, no care, no appreciation, and no self-love. This isn’t how our Unconditioned Self feels about us. Our Unconditioned Self always loves us.

 d. Being True To Myself

When we lack self-acceptance the personality begins to compare itself negatively with six billion other people on the planet. For as long as we refuse to love and accept ourselves we will judge that we are not beautiful enough, rich enough, loved enough, lucky enough, successful enough, or anything-else enough. No amount of makeovers or reinvention or new beauty secrets seems to do the trick. Deep down we still feel like nobody, but that’s only because we are identifying with a self-image instead of with the authentic we. Nothing really changes until one see the real one. Self-acceptance is an invitation to stop trying to change ourselves into who we wish were for long enough to find out who we really are. The miracle of self-acceptance is that it reveals our authentic beauty – a beauty that is not just skin deep.

e. I Trust Myself

Self-acceptance is solid ground. It is our home. It is where we return to, to find ourselves again. When self-acceptance is low, our personality experiences a ceaseless anxiety that causes us to doubt ourselves, to be indecisive, to wobble, to question everything, and to play safe. Feeling shaky and off-center, our personality searches outside of us for validation, approval and authority. This outer referencing starts early as young children learn mostly by imitation and mirroring. Self-acceptance helps us to experience a “basic trust” in ourselves and in life overall. The more we accept ourselves, the more we trust our inborn goodness, wise heart, and natural intuition. Deep within ourselves, we discover our inner guidance, and a direct line to the Divine. Self-trust invokes the highest in us. Also, the more we accept ourselves, the more we trust that, life doesn’t just happen to us; it happens for us. In other words, life loves us. This is what self-acceptance is trying to show us.


 How to Increase Self-Acceptance

Our level of self-acceptance, or how much we like ourselves and consider ourselves to be a valuable and worthwhile person is one of the most important measures of who we are and indicators of everything that happens to us. Our level of self-acceptance determines our self-confidence, courage, and willingness to try new things. It determines the quality of our relationships with others, our family, friends, and coworkers. When we feel that other people think highly of us, our level of self-acceptance and self-esteem goes up. However, if we feel for any reason, rightly or wrongly, that other people think poorly of us, our level of self-acceptance goes down. But before we begin enjoying the wonderful effects of high self-acceptance in our life, we have to learn to accept ourselves unconditionally. One of the best places to start is to do an inventory on ourselves. When we do this inventory it is important that we accentuate the positive and minimize the negative.

We should think back through our life and review our accomplishments. It is necessary to think about all the things that we have achieved over the course of our lifetime. Then we should make a written list of them. After making list of all of our accomplishments, we should make a list of all our unique talents and abilities. Once making list of our unique talents and abilities we should start to think of the skills that we have developed and the results that we can achieve by applying ourselves to the challenges of our world today.  After that it is necessary to think of our earning ability and our ability to get results. (Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Self-Acceptance---7-Ways-to-Improve&id=1791798)

Once we have completed the list of all the things we can do and accomplish with our unique skills and talents, then we should list all the future possibilities for ourselves. We can start by setting short, medium, and long range goals and make plans to move step-by-step, progressively toward their realization. There are a variety of things we can do, every single day, to improve our level of self-acceptance such as picking a role model, someone we admire and look up to and want to be like. Many business people and entrepreneurs have risen to the top of their field by selecting role models who had already achieved the level of success they themselves wanted to achieve. Everything we do that we feel is consistent with what someone we admire would do increases our level of self-acceptance.

Developing good work habits will raise our level of self-acceptance. We need to always work efficiently and effectively toward the accomplishment of high-value results. Our image has an important impact on our level of self-acceptance. We should always be aware of the way we appear to other people. Everything we do or say to another person rebounds and causes the same effect on us. Whenever we are warm, friendly, and courteous to another person, we can improve our own level of self-respect and self-acceptance. Whenever we do something nice for another person, we tend to feel better about ourselves. One of the greatest riches of life is having a high level of self-acceptance that leads to maximum performance in everything we do. By doing something every day to raise our level of self-acceptance, we should confidently move forward toward the realization of your full potential. (Source: http://ginigrey.com/LoveBug/increasing-self-acceptance

 Determinants of Self-Acceptance / What Determines Our Self-Acceptance

In general similar to self-esteem, as children we're able to accept ourselves only to the degree we feel accepted by our parents. Research has demonstrated that before the age of eight, we lack the ability to formulate a clear, separate sense of self--that is, other than that which has been transmitted to us by our caretakers. So if our parents were unable, or unwilling, to communicate the message that we were totally okay and acceptable--independent, that is, of our hard-to-control, sometimes errant behaviors--we were primed to view ourselves ambivalently. The positive regard we received from our parents may have depended almost totally on how we acted, and unfortunately we learned that many of our behaviors weren't acceptable to them. So, identifying ourselves with these objectionable behaviors, we inevitably came to see ourselves as in many ways inadequate.

Additionally, adverse parental evaluation can, and frequently does, go far beyond disapproving specific behaviors. For example, parents may transmit to us the overall message that we're selfish--or not attractive enough, smart enough, good or "nice" enough . . . and so on. As a result of what most mental health professionals would agree reflects a subtle form of emotional abuse, almost all of us come to regard ourselves as only conditionally acceptable. In consequence, we learn to regard many aspects of our self negatively, painfully internalizing feelings of rejection we too often experienced at the hands of overly critical parents. And this tendency toward self-criticism is at the heart of most of the problems that, as adults, we unwittingly create for ourselves.

In other words, given how the human psyche operates, it's almost impossible not to parent ourselves similarly to how we were parented originally. If our caretakers dealt with us in a hurtful manner, as adults we'll find all kinds of ways to perpetuate that unresolved pain onto ourselves. If we were frequently ignored, berated, blamed, chastised, or physically punished, we'll somehow contrive to continue this self-indignity. So when (figuratively, at least) we "beat ourselves up," we're typically just following our parents' lead. Having to depend so much on them when we were young--and thus experiencing little authority to actually question their mixed verdict on us--we felt pretty much obliged to accept their negative appraisals as valid. This is hardly to say that they constantly put us down. But, historically, it's well-known that parents are far more likely to let us know when we do something that bothers them than to acknowledge us for our more positive, pro-social behaviors.

In fully comprehending our current reservations about ourselves, we also need to add the disapproval and criticism we may have been received from siblings, other relatives, teachers--and, especially, our peers, who (struggling with their own self-doubts) could hardly resist making fun of our frailties whenever we innocently "exposed" them. At any rate, it's safe to assume that almost all of us enter adulthood afflicted with a certain negative bias. We share a common tendency to blame ourselves, or to see ourselves as in some way defective. It's as though we all, to whatever degree, suffer from the same chronic "virus" of self-doubt.
How Do We Become More Self-Accepting

Accepting ourselves unconditionally (despite our deficiencies) would have been almost automatic had our parents conveyed a predominantly positive message about us--and, additionally, we grew up in a generally supportive environment. But if that really wasn't the case, we need on our own to learn how to "certify" ourselves, to validate our essential ok-ness. And I'm hardly suggesting that independently confirming ourselves has anything to do with becoming complacent--only that we get over our habit of constantly judging ourselves. If deep within us we're ever to experience, as our normal state of being, personal fulfillment and peace of mind, we must first rise to the challenge of complete, unqualified self-acceptance.

As Robert Holden puts it in his book Happiness Now!"Happiness and self-acceptance go hand in hand. In fact, your level of self-acceptance determines your level of happiness. The more self-acceptance you have, the more happiness you'll allow yourself to accept, receive and enjoy. In other words, you enjoy as much happiness as you believe you're worthy of [emphasis added]."

Perhaps more than anything else, cultivating self-acceptance requires that we develop more self-compassion. Only when we can better understand and pardon ourselves for things that earlier we assumed must be all our fault can we secure the relationship to self that till now has eluded us.

To adopt a more loving stance toward ourselves--the key prerequisite for self-acceptance--we must come to realize that till now we've pretty much felt obliged to demonstrate our worth to others, just as initially we concluded that we had to submit to the judgmental authority of our caretakers. Our approval-seeking behaviors since then (misguided or not) have simply reflected the legacy of our parents' conditional love.
Undertaking such a heartfelt exploration of what I'd call our well-nigh "universal plight" almost inevitably generates increased self-compassion. And it's through this compassion that we can learn to like ourselves more, and to view ourselves as deserving of love and respect by very "virtue" of our willingness to confront (and struggle against) what previously we've found so difficult to accept about ourselves.

In a sense, we all bear "conditional-love scars" from the past. We're all among the ranks of the "walking wounded." And this recognition of our common humanity can help inspire in us not only feelings of habitually-withheld kindness and goodwill toward ourselves but toward others as well.

To become more self-accepting, we must start by telling ourselves (repeatedly and-- hopefully--with ever-increasing conviction) that given all of our negatively biased self-referencing beliefs, we've done the best we possibly could. In this light, we need to re-examine residual feelings of guilt, as well as our many self-criticisms and put-downs. We must ask ourselves specifically what it is we don't accept about ourselves and, as agents of our own healing, bring compassion and understanding to each aspect of self-rejection or -denial. By doing so, we can begin to dissolve exaggerated feelings of guilt and shame based on standards that simply didn't mirror what could realistically be expected of us at the time.

The famous French expression, "Tout comprendre, c'est tout excuser" (literally, "to understand all is to pardon all") is a dictum that we ought to apply at least as much to ourselves as to others. For the more we can grasp just why in the past we were compelled to act in a particular way, the more likely we'll be able both to excuse ourselves for this behavior and avoid repeating it in the future.

Becoming more self-accepting necessitates that we begin to appreciate that, ultimately, we're not really to blame for anything--whether it's our looks, intelligence, or any of our more questionable behaviors. Our actions have all been compelled by some combination of background and biology. Going forward, we certainly can--and in most cases, should--take responsibility for ways we've hurt or mistreated others. But if we're to productively work on becoming more self-accepting, we must do so with compassion and forgiveness in our hearts. We need to realize that, given our internal programming up to that point, we could hardly have behaved differently.

To take ourselves off the hook and gradually evolve to a state of unconditional self-acceptance, it's crucial that we adopt an attitude of "self-pardon" for our transgressions (whether actual or perceived). In the end, we may even come to realize that there's nothing to forgive. For regardless of what we may have concluded earlier, we were, in a sense, always innocent--doing the best we could, given (1) what was innate (or hard-wired) in us, (2) how compelling our needs (and feelings) were at the time, and (3) what, back then, we believed about ourselves.

 Self-Esteem vs. Self-Acceptance

Though related, self-acceptance is not the same as self-esteem. Whereas self-esteem refers specifically to how valuable, or worthwhile, we see ourselves; self-acceptance alludes to a far more global affirmation of self. When we're self-accepting, we're able to embrace all facets of ourselves--not just the positive, more "esteem-able" parts. As such, self-acceptance is unconditional, free of any qualification. We can recognize our weaknesses, limitations, and foibles, but this awareness in no way interferes with our ability to fully accept ourselves.

In therapy, if they genuinely want to improve their self-esteem, they need to explore what parts of themselves they're not yet able to accept. For, ultimately, liking ourselves more (or getting on better terms with ourselves) has mostly to do with self-acceptance. And it's only when we stop judging ourselves that we can secure a more positive sense of who we are. Which is why I believe self-esteem rises naturally as soon as we cease being so hard on ourselves. And it's precisely because self-acceptance involves far more than self-esteem that I see it as crucial to our happiness and state of well-being.
 Self-acceptance and self-concept

Self-concept is the total picture of how an individual perceives or understands him or herself, his or her attributes, and how an individual perceives others’ perceptions of him or her (Meggert, 2004; Rice and Dolgin, 2005; Schunk, 2000). Self-acceptance refers to an individual's satisfaction or happiness with himself, and is thought to be necessary for good mental health. Shepard (1979) On the other hand, There are three component of self-concept as such as ) Cognitive Component; (2) Affective or Evaluative Component & (3) Behavioral Component. Self-acceptance is the evaluative component of the self-concept construct. (L. A. Shepard, 1983),   Cognitive Component indicates that the child develops his self concept through identification, internalization. The child learns to evaluate all things of the environment as right or wrong and good or bad through the affective component and behavioral component is built through the proper adjustment of the child with his environment. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-concept
In fine it can be said that Self-acceptance refers to affirmation or acceptance of self in spite of weaknesses or deficiencies. Actually, it involves self-understanding, a realistic, albeit subjective, awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses. It results in an individual's feeling about himself that he is of "unique worth".