In our experience, through our training and coaching work, it seems clear that, other things being equal, if we CAN accept ourselves, this can go a long way to establishing and maintaining our psychological wellbeing. It can help us to keep cool about situations, and be calm about life in general. Accepting ourselves is a good start to preventing stress occurring, as it then becomes easier to accept and deal with others and what happens to us and how things work out (for better or for worse). It can also lead to our being more effective, resourceful, satisfied and ultimately we’re more likely to achieve our goals, as we're better able in these circumstances to feel and function well, without the negative symptoms that stress brings with it. It will also help us to deal with adversity or when things don't work out the way we planned.
Self-acceptance involves us feeling okay about who we are and what we're like. It gives us permission to foul up now and then, and not to feel bad about it. If we do make a mistake, we can say to ourselves 'That went wrong, it won't be like that next time', or something similar. It requires us to be flexible, and not rigid about what's going to happen, and when it's going to happen. This doesn't mean that we lower our standards, or have lesser aspirations than others, just that our expectations are realistic and reasonable, and not tied to someone or something we have little or no control over. Nor is this a charter encouraging you to avoid responsibility for everything and anything, rather it aims to
- encourage self-confidence
- stop us being overly self-critical, or beating ourselves up when things don't go the way we planned
- help us to feel okay about ourselves, others and 'the world'
- help us move on and move forward, and not dwell on what should be happening/might have happened/should have happened etc
For further reading on self-acceptance, take a look at How to Accept Yourself by Windy Dryden.