Embracing Our Dark Sides: Self-Acceptance of Our Best & Worst Selves
“The world I believe is one where embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark”
-Kevin Breel, Author at To Write Love On Her Arms
When we begin the process of forgiving ourselves we allow ourselves to grow by making room for acceptance, tolerance, and trust in our lives. Psychologists believe self-acceptance to be the key factor for making positive changes, engaging in acts of self-love, and leading fuller happier lives. The act of self-acceptance helps to de-stress your life as you begin to practice self-awareness and the management of emotions. A common misunderstanding is a difference between self-esteem and self-acceptance. While self-esteem is good to have, it may only last for as long as your efforts do and can be easily taken away if you feel like you haven’t been successful. The key is to never stop working on both!
WHAT IS SELF-ACCEPTANCE?
An individual’s acceptance of past behaviors, choices, talents, capabilities, general worth and being satisfied with one’s own strengths and weaknesses.
HOW TO START YOUR JOURNEY TO SELF-ACCEPTANCE:
Being curious about who you are, wanting to know why you feel the way you feel, assessing your relationships, and thinking about your actions allows you to be open with yourself. Curiosity will help you better understand yourself and how you react to the world around you. In recovery, this can positively help change your avoidant behaviors.
EMBRACE YOUR PAST AND LET GO
Your past has got you to where you are today. It’s provided you with both vulnerabilities and strengths. Your past has the potential to become an important part of your life, even a great part of your life when you embrace it. After you spend some time contemplating the events, relationships and feelings you have determined to have key roles in your life spend some time gaining an understanding of who you are and why you believe you are this person. Let go of the extravagant and unattainable ideas of how your recovery should go. Forgive yourself for past wrong doings, hardships or mistakes. Self-acceptance is a hard process for anyone and you must remember to be patient with yourself.
CELEBRATE YOUR STRENGTHS
Recognize that you have accomplished goals no matter how small whether it’s one day, one week or 10 years of sobriety. Don’t get caught up in shortcomings that lead you to dismiss the hardships you have overcome. You may be a creative thinker, an artist, an inspiration, a kind shoulder, empathetic, a great friend. Make a list of these things to keep close to you to remind yourself of the power of you.
SET AN INTENTION AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Keep in mind some small goals for you to reach and when you are ready, start working on bigger accomplishments. You are important and you must keep that in mind when you are feeling down. Re-evaluate the people you surround yourself with and create a support system by surrounding yourself with positive people who believe in your aspirations.
In its simplest form self-acceptance is recognizing your self-worth and being happy with who you are. Some helpful activities to keep practicing self-acceptance include: engaging in mindfulness exercises, meditation, and yoga, doing something you love, and seeking support from your family and friends. Do not give up on yourself or your sobriety because you haven’t reached your goals. Recognize Your Worth.
Author: Angela Soto, Admissions Coordinator – Footprints to Recovery