Upon seeing the title above, you might wonder, “How can I love myself better?”. To answer this, you can start by learning self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is acknowledging your strengths, quirks, and the entire kaleidoscope of who you are — the dazzling highs and even the beautifully flawed lows. It’s about loving yourself without any doubt.
Self-love is loving who you are. It is a profound state of appreciating yourself and holding yourself in high esteem through your physical, mental, and spiritual side. To get to the point of self-love, prioritize your well-being and choose a relationship that reflects respect and affection.
To achieve a significant state of self-love, you must know the vital element that entails it: internal validation. It is a feeling where you feel assured within yourself. This feeling doesn’t need constant external validation. Instead, it is built by an inner support system, bearing with talent and achievement and resulting in unshakeable inner strength.
If you want to know more about self-acceptance, this article is for you. By further reading this article, you will learn a comprehensive exploration of self-acceptance and the extent to which external validation becomes harmful.
Understanding the consequences of external validation
Many individuals often discover that their inner sense of self-worth doesn’t necessarily originate from within but instead hinges on external factors. This can result in a perpetual quest for validation and attention from others, leaving them susceptible to manipulation and occasionally causing manipulative behavior toward others.
In such situations, their self-esteem tends to be fragile, making it challenging to attain a state of genuine self-acceptance. It’s important to differentiate between self-acceptance and self-esteem.
Self-acceptance revolves around the idea of embracing one’s identity without judgment and recognizing oneself as a complete and unconditionally valuable being. It remains unwavering and all-encompassing.
Read more: Self-Identity: Who are You, Really?
In contrast, self-esteem involves evaluating one’s worthiness, often based on personal talents and accomplishments. It can fluctuate, influenced by external factors such as validation from others.
Seeking validation as a source of self-worth
External validation is beneficial for balancing self-worth inside and out. But it’s another story when you rely too heavily on external validation. The search for external validation originates from a lack of self-acceptance and a fear of rejection rooted in past encounters.
Many lean on others to boost their self-esteem, perpetuating a continuous cycle of seeking approval.
Impact of social media on external validation
The influence of social media on the quest for external validation cannot be overstated. In today’s digital age, individuals frequently find themselves entangled in a web of comparisons, setting personal standards based on the curated realities of their online peers.
This phenomenon has a profound impact, breeding self-doubt and insecurity. Those who extensively engage with social media platforms often report heightened levels of sadness, reduced mental well-being, and an overall decline in self-esteem.
The constant exposure to others’ Highlight Reels fosters social comparisons and self-critical attitudes, eroding the platforms’ potential positive effects and contributing to an increased sense of sadness.
Connection between external validation and stress/anxiety
Individuals who anchor their self-esteem to external factors rather than appreciating their intrinsic worth as human beings may experience both mental and physical repercussions. Excessive need for external validation can give rise to feelings of anxiety and depression, creating an addictive craving for praise, acceptance, and recognition in all aspects of life.
In an academic setting, college students who base their self-worth on factors like physical appearance, others’ approval, and academic achievements are prone to elevated stress levels, anger issues, academic difficulties, relationship conflicts, substance use, and signs of eating disorders.
The power of self-acceptance
When self-acceptance is lacking, it can adversely affect your psychological state, potentially reducing the effectiveness of interventions. For example, mindfulness exercises often mitigate stress for many individuals. However, struggling with self-acceptance can decrease the efficacy of these practices. This underscores the importance of self-acceptance as the initial step toward enhancing emotional well-being.
Embrace flaws and imperfections
Self-acceptance helps release the grip of perfectionism on yourself and others. Perfectionism hinders genuine authenticity as it focuses on pleasing and proving. Embracing imperfections nurtures deeper relationships and enables the capacity to give and receive love wholeheartedly.
Here are some ways to help you embrace your flaws:
- Celebrate your uniqueness: Instead of seeing flaws as negatives, consider them traits that make you unique.
- Connect through vulnerability: Admitting your imperfections can strengthen bonds with others.
- Find inspiring role models: Look up to people with similar imperfections to boost your self-acceptance.
- Set realistic standards: Avoid perfectionism; be kinder to yourself by setting achievable standards.
Break free from comparison traps
A comparison trap is a cycle of constantly measuring oneself against others, resulting in unhappiness, diminished self-esteem, and impractical anticipations. Everyone’s path is distinctive, so focus on your personal objectives and aspirations instead of making comparisons.
To liberate yourself from this pattern, here is what you can do:
- Focus on your own journey. Instead of focusing on the lives of other people, concentrate on yourself. Everyone has their own pace, so you don’t have to compare your speed with theirs.
- Practice gratitude and appreciation. Celebrate the unique qualities that make you who you are. This will enable you to focus more on the positives and develop them into your strengths.
Cultivate a positive self-image
Your self-image is how you see yourself. A mental picture of you. This process of changing your self-image is something that occurs over your lifetime. Here are the steps to building a positive self-image:
- Make a self-image inventory
- List your positive qualities
- Seek inputs from significant others
- Set reasonable, measurable goals
- Address thinking distortions
- Explore the impact of childhood labels
- Avoid comparing yourself to others
- Repeat positive affirmations
- Embrace uniqueness
- Celebrate progress
By embracing these steps, you’ll embark on a path toward a self-image that radiates positivity and authenticity, allowing you to fully appreciate your unique identity.
The role of self-love in mental well-being
Self-love is linked to increased happiness, greater life satisfaction, and enhanced resilience. Practicing self-love enables you to:
- Engage in relationships as a strong, confident, and secure individual
- Feel complete while eliminating the need for external validation
- Cultivate love from a place of fulfillment rather than emptiness
Remember, your most crucial relationship is the one you have with yourself, serving as the foundation for your connections with others.
Read more: The Science of Human Connection
Practicing self-love daily
Engaging in various practical activities can foster self-acceptance. These activities include self-care routines, mindfulness practices, and creating hobbies. The following section offers a more detailed exploration of these aspects.
Incorporate self-care routines
Self-care is a holistic approach tending to your well-being. Consider these common examples of self-care :
- Sleeping well,
- Eating healthy,
- Spending time in nature, and
- Expressing gratitude.
Practice mindfulness and self-awareness
One effective method to enhance self-acceptance is through mindfulness meditation since mindfulness is connected to increased well-being and self-acceptance.
You can utilize a mindfulness journaling method. Here’s a step-by-step activity to guide you:
- Start your mindfulness journal: Begin by acquiring a journal or notebook dedicated to this practice.
- Record daily: At the start or end of each day, take a few minutes to write down significant events or thoughts from your day.
- Boost present-moment awareness: As you continue this practice, you’ll find that it enhances your ability to be fully present in current events and situations.
- Identify patterns: Pay attention to recurring themes or consistencies in your journal. Recognizing these can provide valuable insights into the direction your life is taking.
- Enhance self-acceptance: Maintaining a mindfulness journal can contribute to a deeper sense of self-acceptance as you gain clarity about your life’s path and experiences.
- Review with intention: Regularly review your journal entries with the intention of seeking new insights and fresh perspectives on your experiences.
Nurture hobbies and passions
Extensive research has demonstrated that turning to creativity can effectively reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of shame, anger, and depression in trauma survivors.
Here are the creative hobbies you can do and their benefits:
- Explore art: Participating in artistic endeavors not only helps reduce stress but also enhances memory. It has been found to build resilience, even in seniors with dementia.
- Immerse in music: Immersing yourself in music has the remarkable ability to foster bonding and release oxytocin. This hormone improves trust and social connections, contributing positively to emotional well-being.
- Engage in dancing: Dance is a powerful outlet to relieve anxiety and enhance the overall quality of life. It also plays a unique role in lowering the risk of dementia, providing holistic well-being benefits.
- Be playful: Embracing playfulness is not limited to childhood. Participating in playful activities as an adult helps instill valuable life skills such as communication, problem-solving, and self-confidence.
- Connect with nature: Disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by immersing yourself in natural settings can trigger a remarkable 50% boost in creativity. This natural environment is conducive to problem-solving and sparking fresh ideas.
By incorporating these activities into your life, you can tap into their wide-ranging benefits, promoting your mental and emotional well-being.
Seek professional support
When you find it difficult to love yourself despite employing practical ways, to the point where it interferes with your daily life, it is advisable to start seeing a therapist. Therapeutic methods assist in emphasizing self-acceptance, inner comfort, and self-respect to boost self-esteem.
Professional therapy offers a secure environment to express and explore your inner self, facilitating a deeper self-understanding.
You can also employ self-help resources as practical instruments for nurturing self-love. These materials are readily accessible online and come in various formats, such as books, support communities, or online classes.
It’s important to embrace self-acceptance for the sake of your well-being. While external validation can play a role, it’s essential not to become overly dependent on it, as it can harm your self-esteem. Utilize resources like seeking professional help, employing self-care practices, mindfulness, and passion in your daily life to nurture self-love.
Keep in mind that the foundation of a fulfilling life lies in inner validation. Though it may present challenges, remember that you deserve your own love and acceptance as you work towards building a happier and more authentic life.
If you would like to see more resources on self-acceptance, check out the Happiness Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Happiness Science Labs today.
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