Starting the Journey of Self Acceptance and Self Love

How many of us truly accept and love ourselves?

I don’t know about you but I spent many years not really knowing who I was or what I wanted out of life? I was unsettled and I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be but I followed a path that I thought I “should” take. I looked for love and acceptance from others rather than learning to accept my self and love myself first and foremost. It’s a dangerous path to follow and a huge responsibility to place on others. It was only in my early 40’s that the penny started to drop. I started to understand that in order to truly be happy we need to first and foremost accept ourselves, it’s still a work in progress, something I have to continually remind myself, but that’s ok, I’m learning more about myself each year and beginning to finally love and accept what I see.

Self Acceptance and Love go hand in hand.

I think self acceptance and self love go hand in hand. It means letting go of the “should’s” and the feeling that we need to be something else rather than who we actually are. It means to stop doing things or being someone in order to please others and do what truly makes you happy. It means to stop being swayed by outside influences whether that be family, friends or society and be guided by your own inner voice and consciousness. It’s learning to hear that voice, to acknowledge when it speaks and to act on it.

The first step in self acceptance is self knowledge. Getting to know ourselves and what truly makes us happy. How many of us take the time to really work on what our core values are, what makes us tick? How many of us have adopted our parents core values believing innocently that they are also ours?

To start the journey of self acceptance and self love, I invite you to start to play with the idea of what you are good at. Write a list of everything you are good at and I mean everything, however small or crazy you may think it is. Enjoy the process of drawing up your pro-list, indulge in it.

I find it alarming that so many of us struggle with writing a pro-list not to mention actually putting ourselves in the vulnerable position of asking someone else’s opinion of what we are good at. We have been programmed not to “blow our own trumpet” but in doing so we have lost the art of believing in ourselves. The words selfish, narcissistic and egocentric are thrown around so flippantly. I believe a degree of selfishness is good. It prevents resentments from building up and ensures we act in our own interest and not purely for others.

I digress, back to the pro-list. Allow this to be a work in progress, add to it on a daily or weekly basis until you feel it is truly complete. Hang it up somewhere visible to remind yourself on a daily basis of all you are good at. Or even better make it your home screen on your phone. Do this unashamedly and proudly. Start blowing that trumpet.

I’d like to end by sharing the story of a close friend of mine Jenni Antoni, traveling on her path of self acceptance and self love.

Her favourite past time for years has been sitting and working with her oil paints. She considered this “a hobby” that she enjoyed. She never believed that she had the ability to make this into more than a hobby. She was following the ‘shoulds’ of life. She was a great mum, a committed wife, she had an office job. It took a hurtful and somewhat surprising divorce to make her stop and for the first time in her life ask herself the questions
“Who am I?” and
“What makes me happy?”
This week she celebrates, advertising her art on social media for the first time, selling her first work and I’m very proud to announce that she now goes by the rightful title of “An Artist”. She has found what made her happy and in doing so accepting and loving who she really is.

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