Since the beginning of time, my shyness led others to label me as the “quiet girl.” I was the one in class who lowered their head to avoid detection. The girl who was afraid of others, whose forehead formed clumps of sweat during presentations, and dodged confrontation. Which led to the never-ending mystery of “can she even speak?” that caused harmless pokes and whispers.
At some point towards the end of high school, I went on a mission to change that. I was in awe of people who could walk into rooms with ease. Readily speaking their mind and filling the room with confidence that was palpable. I wanted that.
So, I took my shyness and went on a mission to meet all those fears that held me back head-on. Would I always be the girl who felt like I wasn’t enough? Holding my tongue, measuring each word, worrying that I didn’t matter. Or, would I learn to cope with the pieces that made me, me? I pushed myself further, beyond my fears and the shaky knees. Beyond it all, I learned to understand that I couldn’t be another person. That this is the body and mind I have so graciously been given, and needed to learn to accept myself, and all the things I’m not.
Self-acceptance is defined as the state of accepting oneself by understanding one’s own abilities and limitations. In the age of self-care, there’s a trend in analyzing our inner workings to reach a deeper understanding of the core self. We strain our vocal cords screaming affirmations and strengthen our tongues reciting strings of quotes, hoping the words will sink deep enough to be believed.
What we disregard in the journey to self-acceptance is the importance of also recognizing all the things we’re not, and being okay with that. We carefully stuff away the parts we can’t accept, hoping the doors holding them back won’t give, spilling them from the darkness. We take fragments of our bodies and personalities, then proceed to weigh them. The scale tips. Not enough. Too much. We fail to accept the amount.
Why is self-acceptance important anyway?
Self-acceptance is everything. It’s the peace that stabilizes your ground when others gather to shake the foundation. It’s knowing and coping with the idea of an imperfect self. That you, this human has cracks that need to be improved, healed, and nurtured. It’s the hammer that knocks down all their unrealistic perceptions and expectations. It’s knowing yourself to a point of enabling healthy relationships that heal you and allow you to be vulnerable, without fearing you’ll completely crumble.
So yes, self-acceptance is important. If you yourself aren’t able to come to terms with who you are, who will? Will they? In the end, it’s important to understand what we are: human beings with layers of goodness, sprinkles of bad, and sparkles of beauty. All which makes us one sum composed of so many parts.
So, how do we go about incorporating more self-acceptance into our lives?
First, look inward.
The first part of this journey is to sit down with yourself and write down a list of your insecurities. The big and little things. Maybe you think you’re too quiet, not thin enough, not worthy or beautiful. This step is vulnerable and important. It will enable you to dig within yourself in order to face all your fears and insecurities.
To confront the true you. Sit down, take your time, and write your findings. Through this activity, you’ll also be able to uncover the origins of these beliefs. Analyzing them and getting to their root cause will prepare you for the next step. A next step that is essential to accepting yourself by understanding your insecurities through learning to see the positives and accepting the beauty you hold instead of dwelling on the need for alterations.
Gain clarity and see the positives.
When you have your list written down, it’s time to find acceptance. When you look at it, odds are that what you’ve written down aren’t necessarily negative attributes. Instead, they are listed as our insecurities because it’s how we think we should be based on what we’ve seen or were told.
Take my story from the beginning of this post. I was a shy girl who wanted to change. Although I learned to get over my shyness and pushed through the things that terrified me, I would still consider myself a reserved person. And I’m completely fine with that. It’s who I am. I find comfort in not so crowded places, alone time, and quality instead of quantity in friendships. It works for me. I used to be insecure about being this way because all my life I was told that I needed to change. However, I didn’t need to. Instead, I had to come to terms with who I am and love that side of myself. In the end, the goal of self-acceptance is to find that inner peace. Not just a temporary peace but long-lasting peace that stabilizes you.
Set a plan to move forward.
Self-acceptance is a continuous practice that only deepens over time. And activities like yoga, meditation, or reciting daily mantras are great daily practices to help maintain this. My favorite is a combination of meditation and yoga. If ever I’m feeling insecure or weighed down by particular emotions I unpack them. Whether it’s through child’s pose, stretches, or deep breathing I get to the core of the internal conflict.
Self-acceptance is a journey. One that is so necessary for uncovering all the beauty you have to offer.
About The Contributor
I’m Darline a twenty-something going on eighty-something mentally. I write about books, poems, and random stuff I’m enjoying over at thesimplydar.com. My favorite writing niche is creative writing. It’s one of the main reasons why I started blogging. I love how it enables the creation of such a concrete world using just a string of selected words. When I’m not blogging, you can find me getting lost in a book by whoever or by one of my favorites: Celeste Ng, Ray Bradbury, Khaled Hosseini, George Orwell, Fredrik Backman, and others.