Accepting yourself is essential for physical health and mental well being. Instead of cruel and unforgiving self judgment and the self loathing that springs from it, unconditional self acceptance is about being at peace with yourself regardless of your perceived flaws and short-comings.
Extending love, grace and forgiveness to yourself feels good. It is the basis of self worth and esteem. When you genuinely accept your self, warts and all, you are much more likely to be truly more accepting of others.
Unconditional self acceptance is not about being egotistical (which is usually just a cover up for low self worth) or denying the truth. It is not an excuse to ignore bad health and behaviors.
On the contrary, truly accepting yourself offers a 'soft place' for assessing yourself without being unduly hard on yourself.
From this place you are able to make wise and healthy decisions about change and personal transformation, or not. You evaluate your needs and goals in love and empowerment instead of stress and self loathing.
The opening set up statement of the Emotional Freedom Technique acknowledges your true spiritual nature as free from a judgmental spirit.
The words remind you consciously and even unconsciously of higher level truth, whether they feel true to your personality or not.
As you literally tap in these words, sabotaging resistance can be switched off long enough to let you tap into the shifts you want.
Those words are, "Even though I have this problem, I deeply and completely love and accept myself."
Even though challenges with unconditional self acceptance are common, some people have so much difficulty with the above words that they can't even speak them.
Why is this?
Your self concept begins to form from birth and even earlier. Along with your inherited genetic make up, what you observed and were told about yourself and your world shaped your beliefs and made you who you are right down to the cellular level.
Unfortunately, because of the way the human brain is hard wired, negative messages carry more weight than positive ones. We tend to discredit the good things we hear and see and focus on the negative things.
Naturally, that leads us to speaking, hearing and receiving more negative messages. We discredit the good things we hear and see and focus on the negative things.
For better or worse our make up and all those messages combine to create our sense of self worth.
For example, the media spends billions of dollars programming us to want to look, believe, and act certain ways. We compare our bodies with unrealistic 'touched up' images. We compare our spiritual lives with religious figures, our material goods and talents with the rich and famous or our intelligence with the class genius.
When you 'buy what they are selling', you end up feeling less than good about your life. You judge and reject yourself in whole or in part. At least to some extent you believe, "I'm not (important, smart, good looking, talented, rich) enough" to be worthy of love and acceptance.
Lack of self worth and being hard on yourself all the time creates an undercurrent of stress that makes physical and mental healing difficult.
There is a scientific reason for this. When you express hate about some part of yourself, that is a stressful, discouraging thought. Stress creates tension and chemical changes in the mind and body and reduce the level of the cell repairing hormone DHEA. Chronic dis-stress is the antithesis to wellness.
On the contrary, freeing yourself from the grips of self judgment and unforgiveness towards others can lead to miraculous healing. Forgiveness is a powerful healer of the spirit, which sometimes brings physical healing with it. Unconditional self acceptance lets you relax and opens your creativity so you can see solutions.
Self loathing thoughts may provide a temporary burst of motivation, but not of the lasting kind that leads to personal transformation and health.
You really gain nothing positive when you are hard on yourself, except some negative attention and low self worth. You can be sure this message makes its way to your cells.
Why should your mind and body take care of someone you reject?
Sometimes lack of self worth shows up in sneakier ways.
For example, you might say, "I'm fighting depression (or cancer)". Does that feel self accepting and peaceful? This statement may be positive when your body is literally fighting an invading virus. (Fighting may mean stress to you so check in with how it feels.)
Conditions like cancer and depression are all you. To fight them means to fight yourself. Try an affirmation like this instead, "I'm thankful for what this illness is teaching me about myself and I'm cooperating with my mind and body to get well."
What if, instead of saying, "I hate my fat thighs," you said, "I am so thankful for how my legs let me walk and go where I want, even though I've put extra weight on them. What wonderful legs they are."?
Notice how different the statements sound and feel. Which statements inspire you to love yourself and take positive steps to wellness?
Accepting yourself aligns you with your true nature. It frees up energy for healing instead of stress. It opens you up to your intuition and guidance so you can make empowered decisions and take appropriate action.
When you love and accept yourself unconditionally, it is natural to want to take good care of yourself. Your decisions and goals will naturally align with what is truly in your best interest. You are more likely to follow through with life affirming habits. And it certainly feels better than the alternative.
Continue to How to accept yourself.