We all long to feel great about ourselves. People turn to various sources to achieve the self-acceptance they so desire: love, achievements, career, social media status, as well as drugs, alcohol, various types of addictions, and multiple styles of attention getting behaviours.
One important element is the fact that we forget to look for self-acceptance on the inside and instead, we search for it in the external realm. More over, there is a notion that if we criticize, belittle and berate ourselves for failures and mistakes, we might just magically become that wonderful, successful and great individual we so desire. Some of these traits are more pronounced in certain cultures. Not to go far and offend someone, I will use my own disclosure. Growing up in the former Soviet Union, the way parents, teachers, and coaches motivated me was very harsh, "you are dumb, fat and stupid." I got so accustomed that I stopped paying attention or being offended. That motion of self-esteem was strongly based on how much you know, how you look, and how well you perform. I also believe that the same idea if transmitted through our daily television programs and adds here in Canada. Although it does reflect the high standards, it certainly does not encourage contentment and self-acceptance.
The second element of why people find it hard to get to self-acceptance if the fact that many don't know the difference between the healthy and unhealthy acceptance. Unhealthy acceptance often manifests in self-hatred, criticism, despair, hopelessness, isolation and at times leads to suicide. Healthy acceptance manifests in love, joy, hope, connection with others, growth and contribution beyond oneself.
10 ways to healthy self-acceptance:
Practice gratitude daily
Take moments to connect with others
Take time to enjoy the moment, the present
Take walks in nature
Spend time in prayer and meditation
Take a vocation day and treat yourself
Watch something funny
Take deep breaths regularly
Do something you love
Write out the list of 10 things you accomplished and proud of so far