As a woman, it can often feel like your self-image is competing with the image of the “perfect woman” that mainstream media perpetuates.
A few decades ago, that image was mostly domestic, feminine, and submissive.
Today, that image has evolved into the “woman who can do it all.” She can raise her three children, run a successful business as a CEO and be a loving and supportive wife — all while looking like a Victoria Secret model.
Needless to say, this has created unrealistic expectations. And if you continuously measure yourself against these high standards, you might start…
- Criticizing your appearance
- Questioning your worth
- Feeling guilty about taking time for yourself
- Fearing other people’s opinions
- Feeling hopeless about yourself
These self-sabotaging thoughts slowly manifest in your reality. You may avoid experiences and meeting new people because you feel insecure. You might not communicate your needs to your partner because you feel undeserving. You don’t take time for yourself because you feel your well-being is secondary to other people’s needs.
So, you may replace your goals with wishes that you were somebody else… Somebody prettier or smarter or “more worthy”. Yet, the truth is that you are you.
Instead of wishing for a different life, what if you could accept yourself as you are? What if I told you that who you are at this moment is wonderful because you have amazing gifts that make you unique?
Imagine waking up each morning and looking at your reflection.
Instead of seeing what you lack or what you wish you could be, you see your true self. More than that, you accept and love the incredible woman looking back at you. This is self-acceptance. While it may sound like a simple solution to what you’re feeling, it’s not always the easiest.
If you’re feeling unhappy with yourself, this article is for you. We’ll explore why you may feel this way and actions you can take to accept yourself unconditionally.
What Is Self-Acceptance?
Accepting yourself unconditionally is exactly what it sounds like — embracing all aspects of who you are. This includes your best characteristics and some traits that might not be your favorite.
Learning self-acceptance is one of the most essential things you can do for yourself. It’s a message to yourself that you are always worthy of love, support, and kindness — on your best days and in your darkest moments.
Each morning you send yourself these messages, your life slowly shifts in a positive direction:
- You feel comfortable in your skin
- You feel deserving of unconditional love and acceptance
- Pessimism diminishes and optimism flourishes
- Your purpose feels clearer and more accessible
- You attract deep and high-quality relationships
Eventually, you create a deep well of abundance, love, and joy within you. The benefits of self-acceptance are so profound, yet so many women struggle with loving and accepting themselves.
Why is this?
Why You Might Be Unhappy With Yourself
Learning how to accept yourself unconditionally can be challenging. You work so hard caring for others and providing for your family. And you might tend to set impossibly high standards that leave you feeling lacking. In addition to this, some of the following may feel familiar to you:
- Excessive negative self-talk: Your thought streams are dominated by self-directed criticism and negativity. Continuous reminders of your flaws make them more prominent than they might actually be, making them difficult to accept.
- Living in the past and future: Past events may make you feel unworthy of self-acceptance and love. Or you may not feel like you can accept yourself until you achieve a future goal.
- Not practicing physical self-care: There is a powerful connection between your internal and external world. When you don’t take care of your physical body, it may create the unintended belief that you’re unworthy of kindness and acceptance.
- Surrounding yourself in negativity: Continuous exposure to negative sources, like pessimistic people or the news, can cultivate unwanted pessimism and irritability. This can leave you in an undesirable mindset where it may be difficult to accept yourself unconditionally.
- Using media to measure your worth: While female empowerment is praiseworthy, unrealistic expectations can sabotage your well-being. Yes, women can achieve amazing things, but that shouldn’t suggest women can do it all. This can be a hard truth to accept, especially if mainstream media tells you that you can and you should.
These are just a few sources of unhappiness that might be blocking you from embracing who you are. Once you recognize them in your life, try these tips to help you accept yourself fully.
How to Accept Yourself Unconditionally: 5 Ways to Help You Fully Embrace Who You Are in This Moment
#1 Forgive Yourself
Sometimes, the greatest obstacle to accepting yourself unconditionally is something you’re holding onto in the past.
Perhaps you disappointed yourself and feel you’re unworthy of love and acceptance. Or maybe you let somebody else down, and this made you question your value.
Whatever mistake you feel you’ve made, it’s time to let go.
“Mistakes are not a final destination but a stop that prepares us for the journey,” said Gustavo Razzetti in Psychology Today, “We must learn from them and continue moving forward.”
If a memory is holding you back, take a moment to reflect.
What happened? How do you feel about it? Why do you think you feel that way?
Now, find the lesson.
Even a painful memory bears the gift of wisdom, if you’re willing to hear it.
Then, close your eyes and tell yourself, That time has passed. I have learned from it, and it has strengthened me. I move on and embrace who I am in the present moment.
Release yourself from the shame and guilt and forgive yourself.
#2 Recognize Your Inner Critic
You’re often your greatest critic, and there are times when your negative self-dialogue can sound convincing.
To help you overcome your inner critic, try seeing her as a person separate from you.
Separating your inner critic from your identity will help you realize that you don’t actually think these negative things about yourself — it’s your inner critic talking!
This can help you take your self-directed criticism with a grain of salt. Also, it can help you balance that criticism with reminders of your strengths and gifts.
Accepting yourself unconditionally doesn’t mean ignoring all your perceived “flaws.” It means seeing the woman you are — strengths, weaknesses, and all — and loving her all the same.
#3 Overcome the Shame and Guilt of Self-Kindness
Self-acceptance can be challenging when we attach negative stigmas.
In today’s fast-moving culture, you might think that accepting yourself as you are right now is a sign of laziness or lack of ambition. You might even think it’s an act of self-kindness that is indulgent and shameful.
It’s time to shift that perspective.
Unconditional self-acceptance is a gateway to thriving and putting more positivity in your world.
When you accept yourself fully, you cultivate a healthier relationship with yourself. You’re more motivated. Happier. And purpose-driven.
Self-acceptance isn’t indulgent or shameful at all — it enables you to manifest your gifts, care for, and love yourself, and then create a well of abundance you can share with others.
#4 Embrace Where You Are in this Moment
Society might make it feel like you must meet certain milestones with arbitrary deadlines.
By 21, you’re finished with school. By 25, you’ve built a successful career. By 30, you’re settling down with a partner and children. And if you “fall behind schedule”, it feels like you’re failing.
As an ambitious woman, you might find it easy to fall prey to this type of thinking.
However, happiness and self-acceptance aren’t measured in external milestones. They are something you can experience at every stage of your journey — not just the destination.
You don’t have to wait to accept yourself until after you buy the big house or get the promotion. Nor do you have to compare your progress to the journey of the woman next to you.
You can feel happiness and self-acceptance right now, in this very moment.
#5 Tell Yourself You Are Deserving of Love and Joy
I’m serious. Say it out loud.
I deserve love and joy.
When you’re caught up in your negative self-dialogue, you might forget this. Over time, your negative inner chatter may harm your self-perception.
Yet, when you tell yourself that you deserve love and joy, you also tell yourself that you are capable of change.
You are capable of growth.
Even if you might struggle with loving yourself consistently, you can take steps each day toward accepting yourself unconditionally.
And if you need support in that journey towards self-love and self-acceptance, I’m here to walk alongside you. After all, a little guidance can make all the difference in achieving the life you desire. When you’re ready, claim a Complimentary 60-minute “Accepting Yourself Breakthrough” Discovery session with me.
In this 60-minute consultation, you’ll:
- Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you’re no longer beating yourself up and, instead, are holding yourself with compassion
- Get simple and practical tips for how to accept yourself unconditionally
- Tap into greater love, ease, and joy
- Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.