Acceptance is a huge topic. One that I could spend hours and hours talking about (and one almost every women I know struggles with).
Having been on the journey to accept myself for over 15 years, here are the 3 things I’ve learned about self-acceptance:
It’s a choice you make every day.
Accepting yourself-whether that’s your body, your fiery temper, your tendency to shut down when things get emotional, your crazy, frizzy hair, or anything else about you-is a choice you make again and again and again.
Despite how much we want to just accept ourselves and then “be done”, it’s a weekly, daily, sometimes hourly decision. Especially when it comes to your body.
Perhaps you think you’ve finally accepted the size of your body. And then someone posts something on Facebook that shows off her “perfect” tanned vacation bikini pic…which brings up your own insecurities. You begin to question yourself, your own size, and how much more perfect you need to be in order to accept your body.
Enter the decision to accept yourself again.
Things will come up that’ll throw you off course: a comment someone makes, a photo you see of yourself, a social media post. Decide over and over again that you will treat yourself with kindness, with love, with compassion. Yes, it’ll get easier and become more “normal”, but it doesn’t mean you get to stop making that decision.
It’s about wanting what you have, not having what you want.
If I gave myself a nickel for every time I wished I had a different body growing up, I’d be rich. One of my friends had the most insane 6-pack I’d ever seen. She didn’t even try to have abs, she just did. Every single summer, I’d be jealous over her body and wish I looked like her.
This, of course, made me miserable. I wanted what I couldn’t have. Genetically, I don’t think I even have it in me to get “abs”. My belly is soft and not at all defined. It’s just not in my makeup. The females in my family don’t have abs. But did I accept that? No, I still wanted what I couldn’t have.
I wanted a long, lean, super toned body. I wanted sculpted abs and a super tiny waist. That’s just not me. I’m much less defined, much more soft. If I gain weight, it’s in my stomach. Yes, I’ve gotten some muscle from working out. But it’s never going to be the lean, toned, defined body you see on some women. And that’s okay. It took me a long time to accept that.
How can you want YOU have? How can you appreciate the body YOU were given? The more you can find to be grateful about the body you have, the more you’ll find things to be grateful for. Gratitude and acceptance go hand in hand.
You must be careful about how much media you take in.
If there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that social media is NOT the place you go when you’re feeling bad about your body. There is always that one friend, that one person, or that one picture that you see that sends you down a spiral of negativity and comparison.
The media-whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, Cosmo magazine, TV ads, or anything else with photoshopped or filtered images of women-you’ve got to be careful.
I’m not saying you have to shun the world and become a recluse (although sometimes I think that would actually be nice… 🙂 ) but be aware of how much you’re getting inundated with photo after photo of unrealistic images of women. We compare our bodies with images that are unattainable, and is doing ourselves a disservice.
Spend more time tuning into YOU-learning about yourself, your passions, what makes you happy-and less time in comparison with what you think you need to have in order to be happy 🙂