Nurturing Self-Acceptance Moment by Moment
Not accepting ourselves can keep us from attaining our goals and developing intimate relationships.
The way we think of ourselves continuously affects our decisions, emotions and mood. Non-acceptance can eliminate the experience of happiness and joy by canceling out those feelings before they have the opportunity to arise.
Does the practice of mindfulness, of focusing non-judgmentally on the present moment, help us to accept ourselves? Mindfulness does not make decisions for us, and self-acceptance is a choice. However, being fully present in each moment does make the option of self-acceptance easier to grasp.
Four Ways Mindfulness Facilitates Self-Acceptance
- Mindfulness nurtures authenticity. We cannot hide behind a mask or pretend to be someone else with our full awareness in the present moment. What we find in each moment is what actually is, not what we fear to be or think we should be. “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who your truly are,” wrote psychologist Carl Jung. When the mind is rooted in the moment, it is difficult to be other than you are.
- Mindfulness stimulates compassion, not comparison. Mindfulness means observing without making judgments about good or bad, better or best, what belongs and what does not. There is no standard or ideal, no measuring stick. We are simply aware of what is within us, unencumbered by labels.
- Mindfulness keeps the window of perception clean. “It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not,” wrote a wise anonymous author. Our minds are easily cluttered with thoughts about who we are not, or things we cannot do. Thankfully, mindful awareness is not clouded by such judgments. Though cognizant of our strengths and weaknesses, when opportunities come our way we are open to the possibilities.
- Mindfulness doesn’t get mired in mistakes. Viewing ourselves non-judgmentally comes in handy when we make mistakes, as all of us do. Although we need to be discerning and learn from our errors, we do not have to turn our faux pas into negative personal statements. “The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything,” said Edward Phelps. We observe our mistake, study and learn from it, make adjustments and go on.