While we often equate acceptance with resignation, it can be revolutionary – giving us the power to achieve more, be more, and embrace more life experiences.
At the start of 2021, Meagan Markle announced that she would do away with her usual New Year Resolutions, focusing instead on approaching life playfully and aiming to “Laugh and enjoy, to keep my standards high but my level of self-acceptance higher.”
Acceptance is a choice but not always an easy one, and accepting ourselves can be every bit as challenging as accepting others. Accepting change in our lives and societies can be equally taxing, but choosing to accept is often as rewarding as uplifting.
Acceptance Is Not About Resignation – It’s About Revolution
“It’s common to associate the word acceptance with the word resignation.” We often see acceptance as a form of submission, backing down, and putting up when, in fact, it can be the springboard for positive change.
Accepting our negative emotions “has been linked with greater psychological health” because it “helps keep individuals from reacting to—and thus exacerbating—their negative mental experiences.”
Similarly, accepting others “can broaden your horizons and bring you new friends,” whereas “carrying around the burden of prejudices and trying to bend people to your will… can be exhausting and frustrating.”
If we can’t accept ourselves, chances are, we’ll struggle to put aside our prejudices sufficiently to accept others. So, where do we begin?
Ways To Practice Acceptance:
Silence Your Inner Critic
The first step towards self-acceptance is to soften our self-judgment and show ourselves a little patience and kindness. In that forgiving space, it becomes easier to recognize and accept our flaws.
Think positive and “surround yourself with goodness,” allowing small things like an inspirational quote or weed growing in the cracks of a paving stone to uplift your mood.
Find Beauty In Imperfections
Let go of your image of perfection and accept that life is messy but that beauty is in its chaos. Similarly, please stop trying to force others to comply with your notion of perfection and accept them because of their flaws rather than despite them.
Accept That It’s Not Personal
Please take a deep breath rather than taking offense and use that moment to consider why something has offended you and whether it isn’t an internalized wound causing the pain rather than an external provocation.
To Err Is Human, To Forgive, Divine
Forgiveness is essential for our personal growth and the development of our relationships, be they personal or professional. “Forgive others for things they didn’t mean to do…. Forgive yourself for mistakes you think you’ve made. And forgive yourself if things don’t change quickly enough”.
It can be tempting to start the new year harshly judging ourselves and bullying ourselves into becoming the perfect being we uphold as the ideal version. In doing that, however, all we are doing is setting ourselves up for failure.
A more positive approach is to abandon that notion of perfection and accept what is – in terms of ourselves, others, and the situations we find ourselves in.
Remember that no amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance.