I remember hearing the word ‘acceptance’ and mistakenly (and funnily) thought that I knew what it was all about. But in reality, I didn’t have a clue. In fact, I was far from practicing and embodying acceptance. I was a people-pleaser, constantly in comparison mode, sought external validation, a perfectionist, and if that weren’t enough, I had a mean inner-critic to boot. Don’t get me wrong. I still do (and am) many of these things, but not on the same scale that I was before.
I have learned how to soften toward myself and have a much better understanding of what acceptance actually means, looks like, and feels like in my life. I’m no longer craving for things to be different like I have before. I’m no longer beating myself up and placing unrealistic expectations on myself. Life feels easier now. There’s more contentment, more peace, more gratitude and more joy. Of course, it’s not perfect. I still struggle, but there tends to be less of it.
I’ve discovered numerous benefits since practicing acceptance and I’d like to share my favorite ones with you:
1. More self-worth: We live in a world that is constantly telling us we don’t have enough, aren’t thin enough, curvy enough, young enough, rich enough, doing enough, and on and on it goes. Essentially, we are bombarded with messages over and over again that we aren’t enough. The more I accept myself, what I have, what I do, how far I’ve come, and who I am, the more I value myself and see my worth. Unplugging from social media certainly helps with this.
2. More gratitude and joy: Accepting aspects of life that you can’t change and looking for the gifts of that season isn’t easy by all means, but with practice this skill can be strengthened and honed. When we look for the little joys during the mundane moments of our day this naturally increases how grateful we feel in our day to day lives. We can accept that life isn’t perfect and it never will be, but we can still experience gratitude in all of it’s messiness and joy.
3. More peace and contentment: I have found the more I accept myself and my life, the more peace and contentment I experience. I’m no longer striving like I once was. I feel more at peace with who I am, the way I am designed and wired, and don’t have this constant need to change myself or fix my life. With each layer I accept and the more I sink into my humanness, the more peace and contentment I discover.
4. More self-compassion: When we begin to accept our strengths, weaknesses, mistakes, and shortcomings, we realize and accept that we are imperfect humans, just like everybody else. Imperfect human beings that mess up sometimes (hmmm often), who make mistakes, who say things they don’t mean, but who also deserve love, kindness, and compassion.
5. Less external validation: As a recovering people-pleaser and caring so much what others think of me, I was seeking external validation more than I realized. With what I’ve done and accomplished, the number of countries I’ve lived in and traveled to, social media followers and likes, and the list continues. It’s okay to care what others think, but we must keep that list small. Otherwise we allow the opinions of others to keep us from living the life we actually want to live. The more I accept myself, the less I care what others think and shift the focus more to what do I think of me, my life, and my choices.
6. Less expectations: Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you lower the bar of expectations you’ve placed on yourself. It takes the pressure off and stops us from constantly (and often obsessively) “working on ourselves” because we learn how to accept our humanness and all the messy bits that come with that.
7. Less comparison: The more I accept myself and my life, the less I compare myself to others. I feel more content with what I’ve been blessed with in this season of my life, and I remind myself constantly to stay in my own lane, leverage my own gifts and strengths, work with my limitations and weaknesses, and know that everyone has their own battle to fight no matter how glamorous their newsfeed may look.
Since I’ve struggled so much with acceptance and have discovered some helpful tools along the way to accept myself and life more, I’ve made a workbook to support you in doing the same. Check it out here if you’d like!
I’m curious, how have you struggled with acceptance in your life? xo