We’ve all heard it before – self-acceptance is the cornerstone of a happy life. Not so hard to believe, right? Except that for most people, self-acceptance is something we think we have to earn. We believe that we will only be able to fully accept ourselves once we have achieved XYZ. In other words, self-acceptance comes with a caveat. For introverts, that caveat might be, “I’ll accept myself when I become more outgoing” or “I’ll love myself when I have mastered behaving like an extrovert”. The truth is, self-acceptance doesn’t come with special conditions or caveats. It is unconditional.
Does Self-Acceptance Hinder Growth?
Some people believe that fully accepting ourselves as we are inhibits self-improvement. As a self-improvement junkie, I can say with certainty that this is not the case. In fact, a lack of self-acceptance is what really holds us back.
If you don’t accept yourself before you achieve XYZ, you probably won’t accept yourself afterwards. We are creatures of habit and our brains reflect this. We are hardwired to continue indulging familiar thought patterns regardless of any change of circumstance. This is why your grandpa, who grew up in the depression, is such a tightwad even though he is now wealthy. It is why people who had highly critical parents never feel good enough, regardless of how much they accomplish.
The harsh reality is that if you don’t believe that you are enough today, you won’t be enough tomorrow when you accomplish your goals. The coach in the movie Cool Runnings explains this point brilliantly:
“[A] gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.”
Why is it Important?
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” ~Buddha
But why accept ourselves at all? What are the benefits of this seemingly selfish endeavor? First and foremost I’ll address the fact that learning to love ourselves completely is NOT a selfish endeavor.
When we fill our own cup with self-love and acceptance, we stop looking to others to meet our needs. We are not waiting for someone to tell us that they accept our quietness, our seriousness, or our introspective nature, because we have already embraced every part of ourselves. This shifts our mental and physical positioning from one of neediness to one of abundance. It is from this standpoint that we stop seeking only for ourselves and naturally begin to give to others.
Perhaps, you feel that accepting the “bad” parts of yourself means that you will become a bad person. You might be tempted to say, “I accept everything about myself, except my selfishness”. But we needn’t worry about our flaws overtaking us simply because we accept them. Self-acceptance is like filling a cup with water. When the cup is full, the ‘lighter’ parts of our personality, like love, understanding and peace will naturally float to the surface and spill out, while the ‘heavier’ parts, like narcissism, jealousy and selfishness will stay at the bottom.
Self-acceptance has the added benefit of enhancing solitude. Because introverts want and need a lot of alone time, it is very important that we enjoy our own company. Self-acceptance makes being alone more pleasurable because we begin to truly love our own companionship.
Mastering The Mind
“The mind is very powerful. You must infuse it with kind and loving thoughts.” – Isha and Mark Lerner
Now that we know the importance of self-acceptance, the question remains: how do we go about achieving it? Unless we make a conscious effort to change our thinking, our perception of ourselves will remain the same. We must literally retrain our brain to choose more accepting and constructive thoughts. This is no small task.
The good news is that there are countless resources and tools available to help us transform our dusty old thought patterns. As introverts, our love of introspection makes us especially receptive to the various mind makeover tools out there. Thoughts are our currency, so we see the value in mastering them.
It is for this reason that I have decided to offer a FREE Mastering the Mind email course to all my subscribers. The six-week course will provide insights, exercises and YouTube videos to help you use the power of your thoughts to increase your self-love, improve your reality and become the best version of yourself.
If you want to receive this free course, simply subscribe to my mailing list by entering your email address in the sidebar to the right. Mastering the Mind begins the first Sunday in February and will be sent straight to your inbox.