A theme that’s been coming up in my client sessions these past couple of weeks is self-acceptance. It’s common that when I start working with women, their sessions are filled with “shoulds” (ex. I should work harder, be a better mother, be able to get this whole food thing right), and constantly beating themselves up for ways that they’re inadequate or unlovable.
It’s no surprise that many of these women struggle with food and self care.
When we disapprove of ourselves in so many ways, a deep level of shame arises. Shame means we believe something is “wrong with us”. That feeling is so unbearable, so we look for any way out: food, distractions, control, attacking others.
As we move along in our coaching, their binges seem to just…stop. The overeating stops. They start to feel more sure of themselves. Their lives feel easier.
They learn to accept themselves.
What does self acceptance even mean?
It means accepting all of your feelings as valid — even the ones you’re “not supposed to have”. It means accepting your personality for what it is — even the qualities you’ve learned to believe are “less desirable”. It means accepting the quirks of your body. It means accepting your strengths and your weaknesses. It means trusting your own needs and desires. It means believing that your way can be the right way, for you.
Accepting ourselves, and continuing to accept ourselves over and over and over again, is one of the most powerful things we can do.
When we do, our confidence sky rockets. We release the need to be accepted and validated by everyone around us. We become our own biggest fan. We let go of shame, and the need to distract ourselves from shame (aka with food).
I thought it would be helpful to share with you a handful of things I’ve accepted about myself over the years. I am always looking for more ways to accept myself further, too. It’s a constant process. And then in the comments, I would really love to hear how YOU are going to accept yourself further.
Here are some things I’ve learned to accept about myself:
- I can be very awkward. (<– blast from the past… wrote this 2 years ago!)
- If I’m just meeting you, it’ll take me a while to warm up and get comfortable. I can be shy in these settings. I used to beat myself up for not being all “bubbly and chatty” right off the bat, but accepted that that’s just not how I roll.
- I’m an introvert: this one has taken me a while to fully embrace. I like small group settings or one-on-one better than large groups, I need down time to re-energize, and I really don’t like small talk. Give me a deep chat and I’m all in, but small talk and I don’t mix well.
- I’m not a huge “partier”. I love having a good time and I’m extremely social, but staying out really late and getting really drunk isn’t my thing. Never has been, likely never will be. I struggled with accepting this a lot in my early twenties, and thought I wasn’t cool enough, but now it’s something I embrace.
- My body: I’ve gone through lots of self acceptance in this area. One thing is that I don’t build muscle easily. I’ll never have “abs” or super toned arms. I have to work hard at having any sort of muscle. I’ve been envious of other people for their really toned bodies, but I’ve learned to love mine as she is- curves, “soft” spots and all.
- I have a horrible memory. I forget names, I might forget big things going on in your life, but it doesn’t mean I don’t care about you… a lot. I used to beat myself up for this, but now I just own it and ask people to remind me of their names or I’ll say “I think you just went on vacation somewhere, right? Remind me of this again?”
- For the life of me, I can’t seem to keep up with the news. One of my biggest fears is sitting around an important dinner table and people starting to talk about something major going on in the world and me sitting there clueless. I’ve accepted this as part of who I am — I know a lot about the things I know about — and also thank god for theskimm for keeping me mildly updated!
Accepting yourself exactly as you are feels like taking a huge weight off your shoulders. You can finally relax into who you are in this exact moment instead of battling yourself daily (<— how exhausting!).
Now… the most important part…I want to hear two things:
1) What is one thing you HAVE accepted about yourself lately?
2) What’s a part of you that you’re tired of resisting or fighting? Can you commit to trying to accept this part of you? Let me know what it is so I can support you in doing this.
Have an awesome week!