Everyone dreams of a good life. And most of the time, people can have different ideas about what a good life is. It could be about personal development, having the freedom to make decisions, finding meaning in life, doing things they are passionate about, or other things. The more satisfied people feel about their life, the more fulfilled they are.
In psychology, fulfillment is analogous to the term well-being. Ryff, a well-being researcher, proposed that a fulfilling life is a combination of feeling happy and satisfied and having a positive outlook on life.
Aside from having a generally positive perception, a fulfilling life is also related to how well people embrace their past and their mistakes. This implies that fulfillment is not a perfect life free of errors. Everyone has had their share of failures and while time can’t be reversed, one strategy to respond to failures in the past is to accept the way things happened.
Definition of self-acceptance
Self-acceptance is the basic building block to shaping a fulfilling life. According to Ryff, self-acceptance is the act of fully acknowledging oneself, including both one’s good and poor qualities, as well as showing a favorable attitude about one’s past. Some studies found that the more people accept themselves, the more satisfied and happier they are with their lives!
Benefits of self-acceptance
Now that you know how science defines self-acceptance, here are some benefits of cultivating self-acceptance.
Improves life expectancy
Self-acceptance has a big role to play when people age. As people get older, they might start to think back about their lives and ask themselves what kind of life they have had. While they are evaluating their past life, they can end up either being positive or negative about it.
According to an article by the World Economic Forum, self-acceptance is believed to be one of the keys to living a long and fulfilling life. By being content and satisfied with their past, people can start to see that there will always be more opportunities for fulfilling things in the future.
A study has shown that self-acceptance benefits people for three additional years of living. It highlights that elders with high self-acceptance are also high in self-efficacy, meaning that they are confident to deliver daily tasks despite their old age. Hence, they are more motivated to keep their health in check by developing health-promoting behaviors.
Gives you peace of mind
Do you often find yourselves thinking about how things could be different? Or if you are a perfectionist, do you still contemplate some past events that you wanted to be ‘perfect’? These are some examples that indicate a lack of self-acceptance.
People with high self-acceptance are more open and receptive to themselves. Rather than denying their negative aspects or mistakes in the past, they would embrace them and acknowledge them as part of their psyche. Furthermore, this is confirmed in a study’s findings that self-acceptance — along with self-compassion and mindfulness — correlated negatively with the tendency to self-rejection.
Another study displayed the power of self-acceptance that could amplify the positive effects of mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is a famous practice to relax one’s body and mind. But, together with practicing self-acceptance, the study stated people can feel more peaceful and harmonious internally.
Improves mental health
Generally, self-acceptance is correlated with better mental health. In one study, it is emphasized that self-acceptance is a better predictor of people’s mental health compared to self-esteem. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), one characteristic of good mental health includes positive behavior regulation.
Self-acceptance greatly strengthens mental health by affecting how people cope with stressors. A study investigated that self-acceptance and resilience can be factors that determine how people view their level of personal influence over significant life events differently. The study found that people with higher levels of self-acceptance and resilience are more likely to perceive themselves as holding control of their lives. Hence, they are more likely to adapt to healthy coping strategies, such as solving problems or self-development.
Self-acceptance is all about embracing oneself as an imperfect person. As people start to learn and practice self-acceptance, then they will benefit greatly from it in terms of living a longer life with a peaceful mind and good mental health. All that’s needed for a fulfilling life!
For more content on self-acceptance, visit the Wellbeing Science Labs today. As one of the ten innovation labs of the Life Management Science Labs (LMSL), it produces courses, certifications, videos, and other learning tools using the research of the Institute for Life Management Science. Find out more today.Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels