Wellness | The importance of Self-Acceptance
Something that sets humans apart from most other animals is our sense of belonging. We have lived side by side since the beginning of time, which has led us to be remarkably social creatures. Belonging to a group provides comfort and stability by increasing longevity, and therefore improving our chance of survival. We are on a perpetual quest to find our tribe, but more often than not, our desires get the best of us. The idea of “fitting in” undermines self-worth and we end up adapting to what appears to be normal or right. This causes us to lose sight of who we are, straying us away from acceptance, and down the road to insecurity.
Self-acceptance goes beyond tolerating the way you view yourself. It is accepting your behaviour, attitude and lifestyle, acknowledging them and working towards making a desired change. It includes accepting your body, protecting yourself against harsh criticism and believing in your capabilities. Practicing self-acceptance helps you to realise your qualities, both bad and good, and eases feelings of guilt and unhappiness. When we begin to accept who we are, we set ourselves up for improvement.
While practicing self-acceptance, you will uncover hidden gifts and talents that you didn’t know about yourself. Sometimes negativity can cloud our judgment and willingness to try new things, limiting time for self-exploration. By accepting what makes you individual, you’re creating a space for discovery to explore interests that, otherwise, you may have not given time to. Becoming comfortable with oneself will induce supportive self-talk and bring passion to your self-care practices. When you begin caring for yourself, by eating well and tending to your body, you’ll find that you have more energy. Self-acceptance means being in control of your life, which will leave you feeling empowered and confident.
Self-acceptance allows you to understand and acknowledge your character traits and habits, which will lead you away from comparing yourself to others. Rather than focusing on what you don’t have, you will begin to acknowledge what you were given and embrace it. By directing your attention and energy away from others and towards yourself, you’ll open the doors to blazing your own trail. You’ll find confidence in manifesting intentions because you will no longer be held back by the feeling of unworthiness.
As women, everyday we face challenging obstacles. We are constantly competing with other women to live up to an impossible image of perfection, causing us to struggle with self worth and confidence. We are hard working, driven and tend to over excel in life, leaving us with little time for ourselves. We are independent, and therefore seldom like asking for help, even in times where we especially need it. And, above all, we are nurturers, meaning we put others before ourselves.
Without self-acceptance, our psychological wellbeing can suffer. Being highly critical of oneself can lead to depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other health related issues. The inability to accept oneself can generate interpersonal stress, hinder one's ability to engage in social situations and prevent one from seeking help. When this happens, mindfulness practices are unauthentic and serve to be less effective. Resisting acceptance of yourself can cause you to feel anxious about your body, increasing stress signals in your brain. This can lead to a downward spiral in overall health and mental wellbeing.
Avoiding self-acceptance can have a rippling effect in one’s life. We think that through enough punishment, we will be able to change, but this only makes us more stressed and anxious. We are often defined by others, and with enough time, we stop questioning that definition and begin accepting it. There is a level of deservedness that we feel is lacking, which makes us feel unworthy. And, a huge thing that holds us back is the fear of losing control. This can be especially threatening to some, but when we break it down, we can see that it is strength we are gaining. By letting go and going with the flow, we open ourselves up to what the universe has to offer.
Practicing self-acceptance means embracing all flaws and accepting who you are today, not the idea of who you will be after you reach your goal. One must practice self-compassion by forgiving mistakes made by yourself and those around you. This means, being compassionate towards others and understanding that everyone’s life has challenges and struggles, including your own. There is an importance in practicing self-regulation by suppressing negative emotions and focusing on the positive. If we dwell on the bad stuff, it will begin running our life and we’ll find ourselves spiraling into patterns of hesitation and distrust.
Conditioning your brain promotes awareness and increases functionality. You can transform your habits by exercising your mind. Brain conditioning increases resilience, meaning the challenges we face in life and our ability to overcome them. By practicing mindfulness and empathy we can rewire our brains to be more resilient and even change past behavioral patterns.
We must condition our minds to be a translator of emotions, by training our brains to see positive patterns. Avoid initially judging emotions, rather, approach them each individually as they arise. Through different mindfulness practices, we can condition our brain to adapt these behaviors. By practicing self-acceptance, we can identify what we are grateful for and what brings us joy. Our self-confidence increases and we are able to focus on what we truly want. Self-acceptance is the building block to creating an overall positive sense of wellbeing, and allows you to identify what you want and follow your heart.
At Consciously Connected Travel we strive to travel with purpose. We find meaning in all the connections we make around the world and value the knowledge that we can take away from each of the relationships we form. Our women only retreats promote ethical travel and conscious tourism by providing a space for our guests to learn and immerse into a new culture. Check out our upcoming retreats.