Why Self Acceptance is Religious
When you roll out of bed and catch the first glimpse of yourself in the morning, what do you think? For me, often that initial thought is negative. Even though I try to exemplify the song “Beautiful” by Carole King, I believe we are all constantly on a journey for self-love and acceptance. If you believe in any god, are you made in their image? If a divine entity made you, you are the outcome of their art, love, and devotion. Even if you don’t believe in anything, allow yourself to be in awe of your own existence. What are the odds that your unique self is here?
Even though these perspectives are very different, there is one thing they can have in common: a commitment to accepting oneself, faithfully. Self-acceptance takes time. However, more than that, it takes practice, especially for women. We are constantly told about all the things wrong with us, what we need to fix, how we need to shrink, how we need to look. It’s all ridiculous.
Beginning the journey to self acceptance is the hardest part. It can be overwhelming and sometimes seems impossible. When you’re lost on how to begin this journey think about how you would take care of someone you love. If you’re hungry, instead of thinking, “Oh, I’ll just sit it out and wait until dinner” think, “Well, if my little sister were hungry I’d get her a snack”. These little things help train your mind to honor yourself, even at a very primal level.
Journaling can be a love letter to your soul, your own experience-filled Bible. Being able to see your life in front of your eyes on paper can give you a sense of accomplishment and clarity. It’s easy to see what you’ve done in the past and judge yourself, but what’s the point in that? Where’s the good in tearing yourself down?
Unconsciously, the way you treat yourself will manifest itself in how you treat others. One of my best friends used to have a very precarious relationship with her younger sister. She wanted to be there for her little sister and teach her about the world. The only thing was, her little sister was headstrong and wanted to find her own way. This would cause friction between them. As we all entered our teenage years, it seemed like the space between them only grew, until seemingly suddenly when they became the picture of how sisters should be. I asked my friend what happened and she told me, “I just accepted her for who she is. I stopped being there for her how I wanted her to want me and started being there in a way I knew she needed me”. This recognition of self was healing for their relationship.
Being able to accept other people is a result of the journey of accepting yourself. Practicing self acceptance is not linear. It will take time. Some days will be easier than others. Honor yourself, honor both your good and bad days, honor the truth that you are wanting to better yourself and in that way you will make the world a better place.