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.
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).
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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