How to Practice Self-Acceptance

To experience the true benefits of self-acceptance, we have to learn to accept all parts of ourselves, and healthy meals like those from Fitlife Foods can help.

Self-acceptance may seem like a radical idea — is it actually possible to fully embrace all parts of yourself, even the ugly, yucky qualities or traits you prefer to hide away?

Though it’s a challenge, it is possible, and really good for you. Even making the attempt to practice self-acceptance can give you a healthier outlook on yourself, your body, and your capacities, and lead to a happier life.

If you think fully accepting yourself prevents you from changing things that could use growth or improvement, you’re wrong.

In fact, we are more likely to make healthy changes from a place of true self-acceptance than from a harsh self-critical perspective. Self-acceptance allows you to continue to grow and change, but from a place of unconditional acceptance of who you really are.

What is Self-Acceptance?

In psychology, self-acceptance is defined as embracing who you are without any qualifications or exceptions. In other words, true self-acceptance doesn’t leave out the parts of yourself you don’t like, or that others or society may devalue.

Self-acceptance is an ongoing journey. Even if you’ve been working on loving yourself for a long time, because our bodies and minds are always changing, there is always something new to work with. For instance, the moment you’ve learned to love and accept your body, your body could change due to age or other circumstances.

As a result, self-acceptance is not an end destination for any of us; instead, it’s learning how to take a loving stance toward ourselves and our bodies, always aware that we are dynamic and changing beings.

As we change, age, and evolve, we learn more about ourselves. As you practice self-acceptance, you learn more and more how to better listen to yourself to meet your own needs.

Treating yourself with kindness and respect will bring you more happiness and resilience. Even as you continue to age and change, habitually practicing self-acceptance will allow you to face whatever life brings with kindness, grace and equanimity.

Affirmations for Self-Love

One way you can begin to practice self-acceptance is through positive daily affirmations. You may choose to write one down on a sticky note and place it somewhere you’ll see it often, such as on your mirror, on your computer, or in your planner. Whenever you see the affirmation, repeat it to yourself.

Daily Affirmations

Try one of the positive affirmations below (or create your own) to repeat in moments when you tend to become overly critical with yourself:

“I am already whole.”

“I am capable.”

“I am a human being deserving of dignity and respect.”

“There are people who love me and will be there for me when I need them.” 

“I am allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.” 

“My body deserves love and care.”

“I deserve to enjoy myself.”

Even if it feels unnatural at first, try an affirmation for a week or two and see if you feel any differently. Take a deep breath before and after you repeat the affirmation in your mind. With repetition, you will begin to train your self-talk away from negative judgments and toward loving acceptance.

You can find your own affirmations and compassionate self-talk by asking yourself “what would I say to a beloved friend in this situation?” and using those words for yourself during tough moments.

Body Positivity and Body Neutrality

Self-acceptance includes embracing all parts of yourself — your qualities and characteristics, your past, and your physical body. Many people find accepting their physical body to be an especially challenging part of the self-acceptance journey.

Two frameworks that might help you navigate this aspect of self-acceptance are body positivity and body neutrality.

Body Positivity

Body positivity is a movement emphasizing the idea that all bodies are beautiful and encouraging people, but especially women, not to judge themselves against unrealistic media images about what bodies should look like.

A body-positive affirmation to try is: “I love and accept my body just as it is today.”

Body Neutrality

Body neutrality emerged several years ago as an alternate path to the body positivity movement. Some proponents of body neutrality believe that body positivity still places too much of an emphasis on appearance, so a body-neutral perspective focuses on accepting and honoring your body without the need to “love” it.

So what does body neutrality look like? It means focusing more on your body as a vessel, and on what your body can do. It means lowering the bar from having to “love” your body to simply respecting and appreciating it.

For many, this perspective allows for a de-emphasis on the appearance of the body, which can feel like a breath of fresh air in our image-obsessed culture. For a body-neutral practice, instead of focusing on self-love, you might take a deep breath and say, “It is amazing how my lungs inflate and contract as I breathe.” You may use affirmations like “This is my body and I accept it,” or, “My body keeps me going and I appreciate that.” Body neutrality can go hand-in-hand with mindfulness and gratitude practices because you are focusing on appreciating what your body is, and can do in the present moment.

While body positivity and body neutrality have differences in their approach to self-acceptance, you can apply both frameworks to your own life and see what feels best to you. Some days it might be easier to feel love for your body, while other days simply appreciating the body will feel right!

Self-Acceptance and Change

Critics of self-acceptance authors and psychologists sometimes ask questions like, “If people are encouraged to accept themselves exactly as they are, why would anyone work on positive, healthy change?” 

While this kind of question seems rational on the surface, psychologists who promote self-acceptance believe this type of question misunderstands how and why people change

Acceptance means believing you are valid and whole. Starting from this belief doesn’t erase people’s desires for self-improvement, it simply divorces acceptance from self-evaluation. It turns out it’s much easier for people to strive for change when they believe that they are worthy of acceptance whether or not they succeed.

Self-acceptance gives people more confidence and resilience — both qualities which make trying new things a lot easier.

Self-Acceptance and Healthy Eating

Feeling good about yourself also means feeling good in your body. Taking care of your physical health through exercise and nutrition doesn’t have to be about how you look; instead, taking care of your body can be an important way for you to express self-love and care.

Reframing nutrition in this way can be difficult when we are saturated with weight-loss-centric messaging, but taking the time to reframe the way you think about feeding yourself can be an amazingly fulfilling part of the self-acceptance journey.

Learning to Listen to Your Body

What if you imagine your body as a good friend? In this way, you can imagine your friend telling you, “When I eat X, I feel energized and content.

But I’ve noticed when I eat Y, I have problems with digestion.” If your friend told you this, your advice to her would be simple: “It sounds like you should eat X!”  But when our own bodies send us messages about what foods make us feel good, it can be a lot harder to listen. Labeling foods as “good” or “bad” from a moralistic sense can become an obstacle to clear listening. Only thinking about food from a weight-loss perspective is also unhelpful, and can lead to disordered eating.  

 Instead of obsessing about “good” and “bad” foods, try to imagine your body as a friend, and tune into what your friend is telling you about what they need.

If you are not yet practiced enough at listening to what your body is telling you and you find guidelines are helpful, consider using a guide like “I want to eat more whole foods and vegetables.” Within this looser framework, you can grow your healthy eating habits while continuing to learn how to listen to your body, one of the key ways to practice self-acceptance.

Eating Healthy and Feeling Good with Fitlife Foods

One of the pressures many people take on once they are committed to a healthy eating journey is to cook everything at home. While cooking for yourself can be a loving gesture, it can also become overwhelming amidst all of the other tasks on your to-do list.

When healthy cooking becomes a slog, it doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on feeding your body delicious and nutritious meals. Instead, when you get this feeling, it’s a perfect time to ask for help. No one can do it all, and part of taking care of yourself means letting go of some of those tasks on your to-do list.

Instead of jettisoning healthy eating, let go of doing it all yourself. You can enjoy healthy pre-prepared meals delivered right to your door with Fitlife Foods

If you have special dietary requirements, we’ve got you covered. Simply use the filters on the Fitlife Foods menu to filter out allergens and to search for gluten-free, dairy-free, and/or plant-powered meals.

Try Fitlife Foods and enjoy the feeling of giving yourself nutritious, healthy meals packed with just what your body needs.

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