How to Accept and Approve of Yourself

Let’s face it, when it comes to self-approval and accepting ourselves as we are, we can all give ourselves a pretty hard time. In today’s modern mixed up world, we can find ourselves with so many roles to play and expectations to live up to, that it’s only natural that at times we can fall prey to self-doubt and soon become our own worse critics.

A good pep talk with ourselves once in a while is not a bad thing, and there are plenty of great resources available today informing us how we can improve areas of our lives where we feel there is an imbalance.

The trouble begins when we take it too far.  When this happens we can lose perspective and make ourselves believe we are a bad parent, a poor friend or we are too fat, too thin, too this and too that.

We no longer love ourselves and begin to lose a sense of our own self-worth.

This self-sabotage can soon permeate into all areas of our life, from our work life to our personal relationships, right through to how we perceive what other people think of us, and this can be very damaging.

The trouble is that when we begin to lack value in ourselves we tend to seek our self-worth and approval from others, or in some cases, the acquisition of material objects.

However, the truth is that no matter how much approval we get from outside sources, unless we value ourselves, we will never be happy.

Why we seek approval

Female sitting in front of window

So how does it all work, why do we seek approval in the first place?

Well, approval is actually one of the strongest human needs, something that has been driving us forward since the time we were born.

Think about it, as children we sought the approval and love of our parents, at school we most likely sought the approval and praise of our teachers, and as we mature we seek approval and validation from other sources; our friends, loved ones, or spouses.

There is nothing wrong with this, we all want to feel love, but first we must have approval from ourselves as this is the foundation on which self-acceptance is based.

Without it we can get caught up in a cycle of dependence on others, forever feeling that we are not worthy.

It was Mark Twain who said “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”  And he could not have been more right.

For proof of this in modern times you just need to look at the tragic lives (and deaths) of some famous people. They could not live up to their super human media image, and therefore in some way felt that they had failed or were unworthy.  They never believed they were good enough.

They lost their sense of self-worth.

Are you really so bad?

So what is it that you don’t like about yourself?

Okay, so it could be an element of your physical appearance or a certain behavior or something less tangible which makes you feel bad about yourself.

Now think about someone you really like, a best friend or a partner.  What is it about them that you really love?  Chances are it’s not anything to do with their physical appearance or if they are a great dancer or not.

You love them for who they are warts n all.

You don’t love them because they are perfect, you love their imperfections too.

So now we have got that out of the way, let’s begin the process.

Be true to yourself and don’t worry about what others are thinking

Young caucasian woman sitting on the ladder of old european city

It can sometimes take courage to be who we truly are, to reveal ourselves to the world.  We may be up against social norms or may have family obligations which stop us from being our true selves.

However, in most cases it’s not really the fault of others that we don’t become the best we can be, it is down to us.

It’s our perception of what other people may or may not think which is at fault.

When we do not approve of ourselves we start second guessing what others are thinking, when in actual fact people could be thinking quite the opposite or, or in some cases, not at all.

So don’t be discouraged by what other people think.  You really have little to fear.

We have to accept who we are and live our lives on purpose  otherwise what’s the point?

A lot of us hide our true selves under the outer persona we project.  Some of us may appear to have the perfect body, car, husband, house, children, and job, whatever.

But unless we genuinely have accepted and approved of ourselves, it’s unlikely we are happy.

Why?  Because we are living a lie and someone else’s version of how we should think, look, behave, or feel.

Don’t earn your own disapproval

Unless you approve of yourself you are going to start looking to others for approval and that is going to make you into a people pleaser which has its own set of problems.  Do you really want to be a push over?

No, I didn’t think so.

We have all probably agreed with someone to be polite when in actual fact we didn’t agree with them at all, perhaps we wanted to keep the peace, or the situation just did not call for it. 

But how did we feel afterward?  Pretty uncomfortable I would imagine.

Okay, you don’t have to start a war, but if you don’t agree with something, just say so, or politely extract yourself from the situation or conversation. 

Remember that it costs us emotionally to go against our ethics. 

Have a think about what your core values are, and don’t be persuaded by other people’s opinions or core values and realize we are all different. 

It doesn’t mean that other people are ‘bad’ just because they don’t hold the same values as you; no one has completely identical values and beliefs in all areas. 

When you go against your inner values you earn your own disapproval.

This isn’t a good thing.

Imagine being free

pretty girl enjoys the freshness of spring

Imagine if you no longer had to worry about what other people thought and were just free to believe and feel and do as you please?  You no longer had to fit in with other people’s expectations of who you should be?  Wouldn’t that be liberating?

Well, you can. 

Sure, some people may not like you for it, but your own self approval is extremely important to your wellbeing, and people who love and appreciate you will recognize this. 

There is of course a big difference between being inconsiderate to others and being yourself and I am not advocating that you do as you please at the expense of other people’s feelings. 

But a crazy thing happens once you start approving and accepting yourself, you start being more approving and accepting of other people too. 

It’s a win win situation.

Break the vicious circle

You cannot control other people’s perceptions of you.

If you keep on compromising yourself in this way eventually you will cease to exist.  You will not have an opinion and people will not respect you, the exact opposite of what you wanted to happen.

Instead people will become used to treating you in a certain way and the more they treat you as if your opinion doesn’t count or your feelings don’t matter, the less you will approve of yourself.

It really is a vicious circle that you need to break now.

Start standing up for yourself; remember your opinion and feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s.

Remove the mental road blocks

businesswoman holding cell phone

You need to understand that until you approve of yourself, you cannot move forward in any direction.  You will be blocking your efforts because you are always seeking perfection; in your mind you are not good enough until someone tells you that you are.

You need to approve of yourself exactly as you are, right now.  Not later on down the line at some self-defined point which will never materialize.

You cannot rely on other people or external factors to do this for you; otherwise you will always be emotionally vulnerable.  There will always be a chink in your armor because you are letting things you have no control of, control you.  This is how we become needy.

And needy people are open to abuse.

Don’t get me wrong, external approval gives us extra validation, and it’s great to receive, but don’t depend on it.

Appreciate the process

Self-acceptance is a step by step process, and it comes by firstly admitting to ourselves that we are worthy.   You don’t have to walk around chanting ’I am worthy’, although of course you can.

Instead you just have to acknowledge the amazing qualities you already have and not only that, honor yourself and start treating yourself with care.

Have some respect for yourself.

There is nothing wrong with self-validation; feeling good about yourself is a great thing.

You need to acknowledge and reward yourself for your achievements and who you are, because nobody else is going to do it for you.

If you are truly coming from a place of self-worth, then you need not worry about coming across as arrogant or a hot shot, as these people are actually very insecure and have no self-worth.

Soon self-approval and acceptance will be natural; you won’t even need to think about it.

And by loving yourself, which is by the way what this is, you will be free to truly love others.

Its time you started making your own happiness and not relying on others.  Remember that it all comes from within, so if you want to be respected by others, respect yourself. If you want to be loved by others, love yourself.

Treat yourself as you want others to treat you. Really, it works.

About the author

Eleanor Goold

As well as being an avid reader, Eleanor is also a big time animal lover; especially of dogs. If you have a tail, four legs and you bark…. you’re in! In her spare time she enjoys swimming, and vegetable gardening… but not at the same time (it can get a bit messy).

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