Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Unconditional self acceptance can be elusive when we have been conditioned to not feel good enough. We are inclined to focus more on what we need to improve rather than appreciating how awesome we already are even as we are learning.
You can do five great things but the one thing that goes bizarre and your entire focus is on that one thing that went bizarre. We are so hard on ourselves and we were not told enough that we are learning along with everyone else. We need to remind ourselves of this.
I will share 3 strategies to gain unconditional self acceptance:
1) Optimise Self Care
2) Be quick to transform and let go of limiting thoughts/feelings
3) Spend time alone doing what feels good.
Optimise Self care: As a perfectionist, our focus is outside of us, what other people are doing, what they are saying, what they think, what they are saying about us, what they are thinking about us etc. We spend so much time thinking about everyone else and making sure we fit it, so they will accept us.
This first strategy is that you turn your attention on you, accepting your self just as you are, unconditionally. You start paying attention and getting a sense of what feels comfortable to you, what causes tension in your body. You start to practice feeling ok when you turn down a request from someone, for the sake of your own wellbeing. You set your boundaries. You begin to see yourself as worthy of this care.
You still have your roles and responsibilities. For instance as a mother, I cherish my boys though they are now grown young men. I remember when they were still home. I did not really put time aside for self care until I was in my fourties. Before then, I felt guilty and unworthy. I was quick to put myself out for not just my children, but for the community, for my work etc. Your core family is one thing, but it is a different thing for non dependants. These are people for whom you really are not their guardian or sole option.
Self care is about you taking care of your body, your skin, your nails, hair, teeth, eyes. Having regular checks. Self care is about you letting go of tensions and blocks in your body through transformational tools such as breathing, movement, meditation etc. Check out my self care article on my blog here for about 80 examples of self care.
Be quick to Release and let go of limiting thoughts/feelings.
When we have suffered some trauma or pain, we often have the painful memories stored in our minds, body and spirit. We feel the tensions in our thoughts in the forms of anxiety/ depression/ panic attacks and our poor mental health. You feel the tensions in your body, especially in your lower body areas from waist down, lower back pains, abdominal or other lower body issues. The body is storing what no longer serves you. This second tip is about being quick to release these thoughts, these perceptions of past failures. Use transformational tools that resonate with you to release. You really begin to feel lighter and more accepting of your self.
Spending time alone doing something relaxing and fun - downtime: is something the we sometimes struggle with, especially if you are a perfectionist. We often do not see the point in spending time alone doing something relaxing and fun. We see no goal to be achieved or won. In fact we sometimes perceive it as a monumental waste of time. Time that could be spent, on working, exchanging ideas or bouncing off another. In fact there may be some anxiety and guilt as well as some uncomfortable feelings that downtime is actually unsafe, like you are asking for some kind of punishment. Spending some time alone, downtime, doing something small and comfortable is the third strategy. It is an individual thing. For me I started with finding some quiet space near my table in the office. When I could step away from my work station for about 10 minutes without feeling like a failure/weak link, I knew I had achieved a huge shift. Now I love being alone. I love it. I can go a whole week in downtime, being alone. I love my frequent downtime experiences. It is different from being lonely.
Whether you are in a relationship or not, loving being alone and enjoying your self on your own, feeling happy, grateful, appreciative, safe, protected, relaxed is important. It may take practice, but it is possible. It is worth it. Start small, you may start with finding time to be alone in the morning at home or at night. For 5, 10, 30, 1 hr, 2hrs. Or starting small may be you popping away from home and going for a short walk or to the cinema. This is about enjoying your company and really valuing yourself. You come to see this interesting, fabulous awesome human being that you are. You come to care and set standards for what feels good and what feels off. You feel comfortable making your wellbeing a priority and standing up for yourself, allowing others to do the same for you. You surround yourself with people who care about you.
The three strategies again are: Optimising self care, Being quick to release unhelpful thoughts/feelings & Spending time alone in downtime . They are really effective in gaining unconditional self acceptance.
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