Accepting who you are. That one sentence is pretty scary to a lot of people! Accepting who you are - whether you’re LGBTQPIA+, short, thin, a different religion than those around you, etc. - can be really hard. Self-acceptance is something a lot of people talk about, but never dive into, because it’s a huge and difficult topic for a lot of people.
But it should be talked about, because loving and accepting yourself for who you are is the first step in a wonderful and complicated journey to finding your true self. Because once you accept who you are right now, it’s a lot easier to figure out who you might want to be one day.
And for many, self-acceptance isn’t just saying “this is who I am and that’s okay”, even though that is a big first step. For many, acting on those words, and helping others act on those words, is a huge step towards fully accepting who they are.
And I know how hard it can be to accept your true self! In today’s day and age, when so many people are targeted for being different, even after they were told to just be themselves, it can be really hard to be yourself and to be okay with being yourself.
Below are some steps/tips that I have used in my journey to self-acceptance. I hope they are able to help others as well!
The First thing to remember:
Once you realize that you want to fully accept yourself for who you are, a wonderful, long, and sometimes painful journey will start. One that can take many years to complete, but that is definitely worth all of the hardships that come with it. Because once you accept yourself for who you really are, it’s a lot easier to help others do the same.
The first step:
The first step to accepting who you are is simple. Repeat to yourself, over and over, “this is who I am.” This can be out loud, in your head, or even writing it in a journal. Whatever way works. It may sound silly, but when said enough it can really stick in your head and make an impact on you, who you are, and the way you see yourself. And if that phrase doesn’t work, try a different one, but still along those guidelines.
Stop hiding yourself. This may sound easy, or not make sense, but sometimes stopping and thinking “am I really being myself?” can be a jump into reality. And often, you might discover that you’ve been hiding something about yourself. Maybe that’s the quirky way you dress, the favorite stuffed toy that you carry with you everywhere, the music you listen to, or something else. Whatever it is, putting it out into the open can really help you be who you really are, or at the very least it is a big step in the right direction.
Last but not least:
The most important thing about accepting who you are is this: Remember that the world is full of amazing, diverse people and they all have struggles, and all of them have had trouble being themselves and accepting who they are. Everyone goes through the long, hard journey to full self-acceptance. Even if they don’t show it. Being yourself is hard. Accepting yourself is even harder. But it is well worth the hard struggle. And everyone is different! If it takes you years to fully accept who you are, that’s okay! And if it only takes months or weeks, that’s okay too! Even if you never fully, 100% accept who you are, that is okay and valid and you’re still amazing.
One thing that has always interested me is the advice to act like you don’t care, and then you’ll start not to. I find that to be true in some cases, but in others, it can be really hard! If you’re getting teased, mocked, or bullied - be it online or in person - for being yourself, being yourself can be really hard and your self-esteem can be affected. And pushing through and continuing to be yourself can be really, really hard. But surrounding yourself with people who love and care about you for who you are is a really good thing to do, and it can help you see how amazing you are as a person. If being hurt bothers you, don’t be afraid to show it. Keeping feelings bottled up can sometimes make you withdraw as a person, and that is never a good thing. And don’t be afraid to talk to your friends if you’re having a hard time being yourself. They might be able to offer really good advice!
I hope that these tips and tricks are able to help someone on their journey to self-acceptance, and that they help people realize that they’re not alone, and that everyone struggles with who they are at one point or another.