Why does self-acceptance feel so scary?

Have you ever heard the advice that you should love and accept yourself for who you are? It sounds good, but for a long time, I was actually against this idea. I believed that if I accepted myself, then I would never have the motivation to become a better person. I was afraid that I would just settle for who I was and never achieve the things that I wanted in life.

However, I’ve come to realize that this mindset is not helpful. It’s easy to fall into the trap of beating ourselves up for not being who we want to be. We can spend so much time focusing on what we don’t want to be that we forget to think about what we do want.

This concept of want and don’t want is something I explore in my book and my work as a psychotherapist. I’ve seen how people can use don’t want as a way to propel themselves forward, but it’s not sustainable in the long run. It’s like whipping a horse to make it go faster. It might work for a little while, but eventually, the horse will become exhausted and unable to continue.

Instead of focusing on what we don’t want, it’s much more effective to shift our mindset to what we do want. When we think about what we want, we feel lighter, energized, and motivated. We’re still moving forward and progressing, but we’re doing it in a much more positive and sustainable way.

I’ve learned this lesson firsthand through my work as a humanitarian. I’m a highly sensitive empath, which means I feel things very deeply. While this can be a strength, it also means that I can burn out quickly in certain situations. For a long time, I beat myself up for not being able to handle things like other people could. I judged myself for not being as strong or resilient as I thought I should be.

But eventually, I realized that I needed to accept myself for who I am. I have a big heart, and I feel things deeply. I can’t change that, and there’s no point in wishing that I could be someone else. Instead, I needed to focus on how I could best support myself in the work that I do. I needed to prioritize self-care, like meditation and getting enough sleep, to prevent burnout.

Accepting myself for who I am has been a game-changer

It’s given me the freedom to focus on my strengths and use my energy to create the life that I want. It’s allowed me to let go of the things that I can’t change and focus on the things that I can. And most importantly, it’s given me the motivation and energy to keep moving forward, even when things get tough.

So if you’re struggling to accept yourself for who you are, I encourage you to shift your focus to what you want, rather than what you don’t want. It’s okay to acknowledge your weaknesses and areas where you want to improve, but don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect. Accept yourself for who you are, and focus your energy on creating the life that you want. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter and more motivated you feel.

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My book

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to take this journey further, check out my book The Good Thing About Mortar Shells: Choosing love over fear”.