Do we rate how wet the water is, how green a tree is, or how hard a stone really is? Just how we accept the characteristics of nature unquestionably, the ‘self’ cannot be validly rated but accepted unconditionally.
“I do not have intrinsic worth or worthlessness, but merely aliveness. I would better rate my traits and acts, but not my totality or “self”. I fully accept myself, in the sense that I know I have aliveness and I choose to survive and live as happily as possible, and with minimum needless pain. I require only this knowledge and this choice — and no other kind of self-rating” — Albert Ellis
Giving up a global evaluation of self and others eliminates one of the most important sources of unhappiness in our lives and offers us a new outlook on ourselves and the world (Ellis). We have all heard and read about what self-acceptance is, let’s take a look at what self-acceptance isn’t:
Self-acceptance isn’t preoccupation with the ‘self’ but the opposite.
Self-acceptance isn’t self-indulgence.
Self-acceptance isn’t running away from taking responsibility for one’s actions.
Self-acceptance isn’t about ignoring one’s negative behaviours.
When we say that we accept ourselves unconditionally it does not mean that we are not negatively judging an aspect of the ‘self’(e.g. procrastinating behaviour), we may dislike some aspects of the ‘self’ but this does not come in our way of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance encourages one to acknowledge the negative aspects with kindness and understanding to see if and how this can be changed in the best possible way.
We at ManoShala see self-acceptance as a skill because skill can be developed and maintained with consistent effort. Also, self-acceptance is not a destination, there isn’t any right path or way that you choose but rather make your own to drive through this journey.
Muskan Gupta, Psychologist, ManoShala.