Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

How do I learn to accept myself?

As we approach the end of January, the newness of the year is waning, and the exciting potential of the wild unknown a new year can bring begins to fade as old

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As we approach the end of January, the newness of the year is waning, and the exciting potential of the wild unknown a new year can bring begins to fade as old routines fall back into place.

Today, I’m continuing a series on making new years resolutions that will last because the power to make changes and reach goals isn’t confined to the transition from one year to the next. To catch up to speed, you can view Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

The ability to craft and implement decisions that will influence your life for the better is attainable any day of the year.  One of the ways to do so is through self-acceptance.

Don't fall into the trappings of self-criticism when you fall short

Often when goals or new years resolutions are set, it’s easy to fall into the trappings of self-criticism when you fall short.  Frustration can quickly take over, and suddenly you are in the clutches of negative thoughts.  This is when self-acceptance is most important.  People have on average 70,000 thoughts per day, or what could be seen as 70,000 opportunities a day to practice being kind to yourself.  Focusing on self-acceptance in actuality focuses attention on your inherent power and the idea that you, truly, can be in control of your actions and choices. Both cognitive behavioural therapy and life coaching will help you gain control of your life again.

Setbacks in resolutions can be understood as part of the process of learning and growing into your real, authentic self, rather than seen as failures.  Self-acceptance, in short, is the process of giving yourself full permission to be a different, transformed, and a better person as you move forward with your new year and new resolutions.  It allows you to see beyond the negative stories your mind may sometimes spin and encourages recognition of the incredible journey that you have taken to become you; and the incredible journey that waits ahead for you in the new year.

Self-acceptance is scientifically proven to make you happier

Self-acceptance is scientifically proven to make you happier. Research has shown that it is one of most significant keys to leading a happier, more satisfied life – however, it’s the one habit that is practised the least. (1) While we are often so eager to dole out compliments and kindnesses to those we love, it’s not so frequent that we gift ourselves with that same flattery and gentleness.  If fears of narcissism or feelings of unworthiness sneak into your psyche, try reaching out to a friend or family member and ask for their opinion on your strengths to kickstart this pilgrimage back to yourself.

Ultimately, self-acceptance will help you reach your goals. When you focus on taking care of yourself and internalising what is wonderful and unique about you as an individual, you’re more likely to follow through with your goals – specifically ones which pertain to self-care and health. (2) Researchers believe the link in this lies in an ability to self-regulate better when you treat yourself with compassion. In other words, when you approach yourself with love and forgiveness rather than negativity and criticism, you are more likely to stick to your goals than give up on them.

Forget the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’

Forget the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. This is about understanding that you are simply a human on a very human journey.  Mistakes, successes, and everything in between is part of that path.  More than just being nice to yourself, self-acceptance will allow you to recognise with mindful intent the negative thoughts and feelings without allowing them to monopolise your mind.  One misstep or a bad day will not stop you on the path to your goal when you can skilfully view each new outcome as part of the larger process of growth and change.

Self-acceptance, though perhaps the most difficult type of love for many, is a learned behaviour, and something that you can begin today.  Pay yourself a compliment, release berating thoughts in favour of forgiveness, or take five minutes today to do something that spoils you, because you’re worth it.

And just like that, you’re already on the path to a better you.