Self – Acceptance
Written By: Raquel Martinez, MSW
We live in a society in which perfection is what is deemed ideal. The standards are high, and we seem to forget that no one is perfect. We have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and when unmet, we internalize the ‘failure’ and move further away from self-acceptance. When it comes to focusing on our mental health, we must first work on accepting ourselves. The thing about mental illness is that people want you to behave as if you do not have one. Therefore, you live each day suppressing your feelings, thoughts, and emotions in hopes of appearing ‘normal’ and being accepted by others. You spend so much time and energy hating who you are and fighting to be accepted by those who do not see you – for you. The fight should be focused on you accepting you first.
One of the first things I like to focus on with my clients is to do the work, if they have not done so already, to accept themselves. It is a journey of self-discovery, self-understanding, self-acceptance, and self-love. I like to explain that although self-acceptance can be achieved, it does not mean that others around you will accept you. This is what makes self-acceptance even more important; you must fully accept and understand yourself to have the strength to face those who do not accept you.
The journey is not easy, and it takes time. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you embark in the journey of self-acceptance.
- Focus on yourself – Focus on yourself and do not compete with others. Make yourself a priority, you need to look after yourself by taking care of your physical and mental health. It is not selfish to put yourself first, it is quite necessary. If you do not take care of yourself first, you will not be able to care for others.
- Get rid of the need to change yourself – We are all different and have our set of strengths and weaknesses – embody them all. It is not about changing who you are: it is about capitalizing on your strengths and strengthening your weaknesses to get to where you want to be.
- Surround yourself with positive people – Just like the viral tik tok states “you cannot change the people around you, but you CAN change the people around you”. Your company will determine how high you go in your personal and professional life. Surrounding yourself with negative people cannot make you a positive person.
- Don’t take things personally – If someone or something offends you, don’t take it personally. Don’t assume that you know what people mean. Stop defending or justifying yourself. You cannot control anyone, but you can control how you react.
- Forgive yourself and others – Forgiveness is a selfish act; you forgive others so that you can have enough energy to focus on your growth and improvement. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made. No one is perfect.
- Focus on your progress – Instead of being so focused on the ideal goal, fall in love with the process. Remember that the process takes longer than the actual goal itself – might as well enjoy it. When you focus on your progress, you will eventually become successful. Keep in mind that there will always be room for improvement no matter how well you do something.
- Don’t give up – When you fall, you have to get up and keep on keeping on. Without failure, there is no success.
“If you’re like me, practicing authenticity can feel like a daunting choice—there’s risk involved in putting your true self out in the world. But I believe there’s even more risk in hiding yourself and your gifts from the world.” – Brene Brown
Written By: Raquel MartinezMSW, Registered Associate Clinical Social Worker 91884 under the supervision of Nancy Ruiz-Barnes, MSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker 79552