The 20-Something’s Guide To Self-Acceptance


Set the intention to change. Don’t let yourself regress by being upset over not achieving your goals immediately. Success means that you don’t stop trying. Make peace with those who have hurt you. Apologize to those you owe an apology to. You will be humbled. You will be vulnerable. You will find feelings arising that you thought were dead and buried. Sit with them. Be honest with yourself about yourself. There’s no point in working on bettering someone who isn’t really you.

Everyone is struggling. Despite what Facebook profiles suggest, nobody is perpetually thrilled with their life. The idea that you have to be is silly. Learn to be okay with just being okay. You do not have to have it all together. Nobody expects that of you, and the greatest things in life usually derive from what would otherwise seem like failure.

Don’t see negative feelings as hindrances but as signs to be followed. Think of your emotions the same way you think of your physical sense of feeling. Your hand hurts if you put it on a hot stove because your body is telling you to remove your hand before it burns off. Consider what your your internal navigation and feelings are telling you to get away from (or alternatively, move toward).

Write down the things you loathe about yourself, and be honest. Even if it hurts to be put it down on paper, and you’re hesitant to even write anything because you know this means you have to acknowledge this big-bad-terrible-horrible-no-good thing about you. Once you have a list you’re sufficiently uncomfortable with, dig. Think these things through. Consider why you behave the way you do, what influenced you to be that way, whether or not this is innately you and how these actions or traits affect your life. Work on ways to change the things you determine need to be changed.

Understand that love is a verb, and is an action, and self-acceptance has everything to do with it. Just sitting and thinking about your positive traits and your desire to reform is good, but it’s not going to change anything.

Realize that life is beautiful because it is flawed, and so are people. Think about somebody you love, and consider how they don’t fit into standard ideas of beauty and perfection. You love them anyway, don’t you? You even find some of these things more endearing than anything, right? Realize that you are loved no differently.

Know that there is no right way to live. Success is subjective. You cannot follow someone else’s road map. There is no right or wrong way to do things. By accepting this, you start to realize that your life is perfect and beautiful, just not in the ways you falsely believe it should be. Understand that acceptance does not necessarily mean being happy about everything. It just means you are big enough to give acknowledgement. 

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