What’s the key to a healthy lifestyle? The most important thing that you need to really bring everything together?
Is it a healthy diet? Exercise? A good night’s sleep?
Heck no! (Even though those are all pretty freaking important.)
It’s all about the self-love baby! And self-acceptance is a pretty big part of that.
Learning to love yourself wholeheartedly and accept yourself as the incredible being you are is a BIG deal. And if that doesn’t sit at the foundation of your healthy lifestyle everything kind of falls apart after a while.
Let’s talk about why self-acceptance is so important and how you can work on getting there:
Before We Get Started
We’re talking all about self-love and self-acceptance today. But I want to make sure that you know that it’s totally natural to have a hard time with that. Loving yourself can be hard! And if you’re feeling that way you aren’t alone.
It’s imperative that we recognize that self-love is a continuous journey, not a destination. The most important thing is that you make a choice to work on loving and accepting yourself, as you are. Once you’ve made the commitment to love yourself everything else can start to fall into place, one piece at a time.
If you need a little help, I made you a free Self-Love Activity E-Book full of inspiration and ways to be kind to yourself. You can get the goodness by filling out the form below.
Now… let’s get started!
Self-Acceptance is Not About Giving Up On Self-Improvement
There’s this idea that when we accept ourselves we’re becoming complacent, giving up our ambitions and settling in to exactly where we are in this moment, permanently.
But honey that’s not what self-acceptance is about at all! We all want to grow, learn and become more. But we can’t hold our self-love for ransom until we blossom into some mythical version of ourselves that we idolize.
If you exist in a constant state of ‘I am not enough and I can’t love myself until I become more’ all you’re doing is creating more suffering for yourself. And there is no sustainable growth in suffering town.
You are already full of goodness. And when you realize that and you start to honour what an incredible person you already are, things change. Because any change that you strive for is no longer about fixing a broken and valueless self, it’s about acknowledging that you’re already bursting with goodness and you’re just looking to create more.
Life is already tough enough. Know that you are worthy of your own love. And you deserve to have your own back.
What Does This Have to do With a Healthy Lifestyle
If you’re reading away and thinking “totally Sara, accept yourself… I get it. But what does this have to do with creating a healthy lifestyle?” I get ya. But hear me out!
Whether you’re looking to eat healthier or focused on any sustainable healthy lifestyle changes, self-love is the key.
Change is hard and it can take a lot of time and dedication. Especially when you’re looking to change the way you eat or revamp your lifestyle. But if you aren’t in it for the right reasons they don’t tend to last. And what’s the best reason to live a healthy lifestyle? Because you love the heck out of yourself and want to treat yourself with kindness.
Seriously – there’s a huge difference between creating a restrictive diet because you want to lose weight or tone up (and become that mythical version of yourself we’ve been talking about) and creating a healthy diet because you love yourself and want to feed your incredible body with kindness.
The second one is far more sustainable and tends to focus on a balance that supports you mentally and physically. That’s a heck of a lot more fun in the end! And bound to make you feel a lot better than restriction and self-criticism.
Related: 6 Reasons Why Your Healthy Diet Isn’t Working (And How To Fix It)
But it Goes Way Further Than That
Self-acceptance also bolsters our mental and physical well-being. Remember when we talked about how awesome mindfulness meditation can be for your health? Well it turns out that it works even better when we love and accept ourselves. (source)
Self-acceptance can even change your brain! Those who love and accept themselves tend to have more grey matter in the areas of the brain that control emotions and stress, which can help us cope more efficiently (source). This even extends further to the parts of the brain that process stress and anxiety. (source 1, source 2)
And when you’re living with an illness, like I do with Graves Disease, self-acceptance can help to reduce health related anxiety (source). And any help in that department is a freaking god-send!
How To Start Making Self-Acceptance a Priority
The most important thing is to realize that you are not broken and in need of fixing. You are already whole. A desire for growth is fantastic, but that doesn’t have to come from a place of insufficiency. You are wonderful as you are and worthy of acceptance!
It’s also important to realize that this is an on-going journey. Some days are easier than others and we all have moments where we have difficulties accepting certain things.
Want a personal example? I’ve got a couple!
I accept that I have incurable autoimmunity but that doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with it at times. And, on a more generally relatable note, I cry when I’m angry and I sometimes have a hard time accepting that too (it’s not fun when it happens at an inopportune moment and I feel embarrassed).
Related: 5 Health Benefits of Crying That Will Totally Surprise You
Being open and honest about my emotions is pretty healthy for myself and those around me in the long run. But that doesn’t mean that angry tears are always easy to accept.
Like any relationship, your relationship with yourself takes time, love and care.
And it’s an ongoing thing. There’s no self-acceptance destination. You aren’t going to wake up one day and be a self-love guru. But if self-love is a continuous priority things will be much better (and those moments when you aren’t feeling so accepting of yourself will be a lot easier).
Be patient with yourself as you learn to walk your path with a lot more love. These things take time, but the fact that your intentions are so wonderful is pretty damn awesome already!
How Do You Work On Self-Acceptance?
Everyone’s journey to self-acceptance is different. But making it a priority is the first step!
Here’s what works for me:
- Make time every day for self-care activities that bring you joy (here are a few ideas)
- Meditate – and if it’s helpful you can add self-love affirmations to your meditation practice
- Speak kindly to yourself
- Acknowledge negative self-talk without judgment or anger and respond with kindness or let it go
- Work on accepting that you are beautifully imperfect – don’t shame yourself
- Allow yourself down time to relax and de-stress
- Find your support system – surround yourself with people who love you as you are and encourage you to be yourself
- Most importantly – do what feels right to you! This is your journey and your road to self-acceptance is just as beautiful and unique as you are
Now it’s your turn! Do you struggle with self-love? What tips and tricks would you offer to someone looking to build up their self-acceptance? Let me know in the comments!
Health and love,
Thought of the day: I love and accept myself as I am.
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I struggled with perfectionism for the longest time. It not only made me feel bad but kept me from trying things because I was afraid I wouldn’t be good at them right away. I’ve been working on embracing the journey of beginner and have been having so much more fun!
I’m so happy to hear that Michaela! We all start as novices; giving ourselves permission to learn is so important and incredibly freeing! I hope you have fun discovering all sorts of new things about yourself <3
I think you made an important distinction that self-acceptance is not giving up. Self-acceptance is ACTUALLY feeling good about yourself, not just resigning yourself to the idea that you can’t get any better. Thanks for the great post!
Heck yea! I’m so glad you feel that way too <3. Thank you Nicole! We all deserve to feel loved and accepted, especially from ourselves. Hope you have a beautiful day!
I don’t think I have ever had a problem with self-acceptance. Does that make me vain? Is the fact that I am questioning my self a sign of non self-acceptance? You post makes me think… 🙂
I definitely don’t think that makes you vain at all! You deserve to be loved and accepted, especially by yourself. Glad I’ve got you thinking! Keep up that self love – it’s wonderful for you Bertahan <3
Nice tips! I’m going to integrate these into my destressing moments!
I’m so happy to hear that Sam! I hope it helps :).
Sarah Dew - A Simple and Contented Life
Some great tips. I think it all comes down to mindset and asking yourself why you’re making the changes you’re making. When you understand your why it’s so much easier to accept yourself and start making a change for the better.
Great tips Sarah! I love it. It’s definitely helpful to have a clear path and positive vision! Thanks for sharing :).
Beautiful article, we all need this reminder sometimes. It all starts with how we feel about ourselves!
Absolutely! Our relationship with ourselves is truly the foundation of our well-being in my opinion. So glad you agree that it’s truly important. I hope you have a wonderful day :).
This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been laid off for over six months now and struggling with self-esteem issues. I’m working on ways to combat it, because in the back of my head, I know I am enough lol. I definitely need to take more time for myself. Out of those six months, I’ve taken about 10 days off. Thank you for this! Have a wonderful day!
Hi Jacqui! I am so glad that this found you when you needed it. That must be a really hard situation to deal with. I’m really sorry to hear that you’re going through something difficult. But it definitely isn’t because you aren’t enough! And I really hope that you see that.
Wishing you well as you venture forward. I hope that a ton of self love and success are in your near future. <3
Great tips. Love this.
Thank you so much Ashley! I’m happy to hear that :).
Thank you for sharing self love is always on the top of my priorities now!! <3
I’m really happy to hear that Tanya! I believe that self-love is the true foundation of a healthy lifestyle. It matters most. And prioritizing it is everything ^^.
It is amazing what you can do when you accept and believe in yourself. It is hard to get there sometimes but so worth it in the long term.
Absolutely! It definitely takes a lot of time, patience and dedication… and has it’s natural ups and downs too. But self-love is so worth it! I’m really glad you think so too :). Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us Sarah!
This really impacted me: “But we can’t hold our self love for ransom until we blossom into some mythical version of ourselves that we idolize.” You’re so right! We will always be chasing some idealized version of ourselves instead of learning to love ourselves as we are. I need to work on that!
I’m really happy that that line touched you Ronnie! I think it’s so important we all know that. Because, honestly, I think we all have a habit of doing that in some ways and at some points in our lives. It’s really important that we accept ourselves, even if we’re trying to grow or develop new skills :).
It takes time to get there! And that’s ok! One step and one day at a time and you will go far. I hope you have a really good time connecting with yourself while you work on this <3. Sending so much love your way!
I definitely need to work on self-acceptance. I am my own worst critic and I definitely see how it’s been affecting me as I get older.
You aren’t alone Heather! The easiest person to be critical of is ourselves. We all have those moments and we all struggle with it sometimes. But working on self-acceptance is truly a wonderful help! I’m glad this has inspired you to give a little more love to yourself. I hope you have a marvelous time <3. Sending you tons of love and well-wishes!
I envy those who have reached self-acceptance truly.
I can absolutely understand that feeling! If it helps – I don’t think anyone is ever 100% there. There’s no destination. It’s just a commitment to yourself and, like with any relationship, there are so many ups and downs. It’s natural to struggle. And it’s absolutely natural to not know where to start too. But I still think it’s so important to start anywhere. And to take little steps. That’s what truly helps us make big strides in the end. <3 I am sending you so much love! I truly believe you can get to a good place too!
Self acceptance is the ultimate goal I believe 🙂
It’s a beautiful commitment to make to yourself absolutely! We all deserve that :). I’m glad you think so too Porsha! Thank you so much for sharing <3
I have never give self-acceptance so much priority. But after reading this post I need to get some deep thinking going. 😊
That’s so awesome Snehal! I’m really glad to hear that. I hope that you have a wonderful time making self-acceptance a bigger part of your every day life <3
I think this post is so important for people to read. Sure, we can all strive to better ourselves; but, if we accept who we are in the moment, we can begin to work on our goals and ambitions.
Great post Sara. The best way to love this world & people around us is to look inwards. Do we love ourselves for what we do & what we demonstrate through our actions? If yes, the rest follows.
Heck yes Bill! I love the way you put it. Self-acceptance doesn’t halt the process – it makes things even better. Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate that you shared your thoughts with us 🙂
As someone who has suffered from low self esteem throughout my life, I can say that I whole heartedly agree with your perspective! Great tips!
Thank you Beth! I’m really glad your enjoyed these tips! I hope that your self-esteem is in a better place these days <3. It's absolutely natural to experience ups and downs and to struggle in this area. I'm sending you so much love!
Interesting! I am pretty much doing the same as you describe here! By all mean these are the great tips! Thanks for sharing.
That’s so awesome Mijia! I’m really happy to hear that. Self-love is everything. We all deserve to have a happy and fulfilling relationship with ourselves <3.
Self love is something that most people fail to do. I always keep myself in priority when needed .
Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem
That’s wonderful Megha! You deserve it!
Self-love can be really hard. I don’t necessarily think that we’re all taught to prioritize it. But talking about it is a good step! Sharing our triumphs and struggles and inspiring each other to make ourselves a priority… every little bit helps! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!
The power of self acceptance is so important. If you dont love or accept yourself who will?
Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem
Exactly Kiwi! Love needs to come from external AND internal sources. It’s an important balance. We’re all so worthy of the love we give to others. <3 Thank you for sharing that! It's such an important point :)
What a beautiful post, Sara! I find that changing my mindset and surrounding myself with positive people is very powerful for me. xoxo-Nicole
Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem
Heck yes! Isn’t it amazing how the people we surround ourselves with affect us? Truly makes a world of difference to be surrounded by love and goodness. I’m glad you have that <3. Sending so much love your way Nicole!
What a great and lovely post! Accepting yourself is the most important thing. Love yourself!
Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem
I couldn’t agree more Emman! Love is so important and beautiful and we deserve it. Especially our own love. We give it away so easily, we should be just as giving with ourselves <3. Thank you! So glad you shared that with us.
This is so important!
Sara | Ms. Health-Esteem
I’m glad you think so too Laura! Self-love is such a big deal. And plays an incredible role in our well-being. I could never gush about it enough 🙂