❤️ This Valentine let’s keep our love and attention on ourselves for a change. Let’s make it about Self-Love and Self-Acceptance. Self- Love starts with Self Awareness; becoming aware of how we treat ourselves when considering our own personal inadequacies, mistakes, failures, and painful life situations. Rather than attacking and berating our personal shortcomings, we show ourselves some self-kindness by offering some warmth and unconditional acceptance. Further, we need to learn to love ourselves non-judgmentally and unconditionally before we can learn to love others fully. By cultivating more Self-Awareness we become more aware of the connection with ourselves and others and life around us. We have become so detached from the ability to be inspired by our own experiences. We need to start living in Self-Awareness for any Self-Acceptance and Self-Love to happen.

Self-Love or Self-Acceptance means:

▪ Accepting ( or Loving) oneself as one is, including personal strengths and weaknesses

  • Not using standards to evaluate the self’s worth as a human being
  • Being OK with being different
  • Not feeling “better” than other people because of one’s strengths
  • Not feeling “less” than others because of weaknesses
  • Allowing oneself to experience any kind of emotion or feeling
Low level of self-acceptance High level of self-acceptance
I am worthless because of this weakness I am worthy despite this weakness
I am inferior to others because of this weakness  I am equal to others despite this weakness
I am not good enough (yet) because of this weakness  I am good the way I am, even with this weakness
This weakness proves that I am not enough  This weakness proves that I can grow
I am weak because of this weakness  It is human to have this weakness
I do not deserve to be loved because of my weaknesses  I deserve to be loved despite my weaknesses

Become Aware of the Present Moment

One way to cultivate Self-Acceptance is to allow our internal experiences to be present. Self-acceptance involves a willingness to let the self be exactly as it is, however that may be. By cultivating an open, non-judgmental stance towards personal experiences, an individual “lives” self-acceptance by creating space to be as he or she is at that moment. Mindfulness practice, in which inner states are observed and accepted as they are, can be a powerful way to enhance self-acceptance. Indeed, research findings reveal a positive relationship between mindfulness and self-acceptance, indicating that individuals who are more mindful have greater unconditional self-acceptance. Practising mindfulness helps us to gain awareness of our mind, body, and feelings. It builds a secure connection to the present and allows us to look at our thoughts and feelings from an objective and neutral perspective. Self-awareness, for the most of it, is a counterpart of mindfulness and is tied in with recognising one’s own emotions and the ways they affect us.

Becoming Aware of the Masks we put on

One important aspect of self-acceptance is the ability and willingness to let others see our true selves, including our strengths and imperfections. Rather than trying to cover up our imperfections and win the approval of others, self-acceptance requires the courage to show our humanness. It involves the willingness to acknowledge our struggles and admit to mistakes. In this way, self-acceptance takes courage, because we must overcome the fear of being rejected. Paradoxically, however, it is this very ability (i.e., to be vulnerable) that serves as a great source of interpersonal connection. By showing our human side, we open ourselves up to others, putting masks of invulnerability away and showing that it is safe to show our true selves. The space created by the courage to be vulnerable allows people to connect at a deeper level.

Becoming Aware of our Inner Critic

There is an inner critic in all of us who is constantly rating us. The first step in cultivating a more healthy and accepting relationship with the self is by increasing the awareness of this inner critic that hinders self-acceptance through its negative self-rating. Without awareness, such internal processes continue to operate at an unconscious level. By becoming aware of when self-rating occurs and how it affects feelings, thoughts, and behaviour, we can start to take steps to reduce its impact.  Low self-acceptance is characterized by negative self-rating when one fails to reach a standard that is perceived as indicative of self-worth.

For instance, when a person bases his worth on excelling at work, failing to do so may result in self-blame and negative self-talk. Rather than evaluating his behaviour (e.g., “I did not perform well”), the person evaluates his whole self (e.g., “I am a failure”). For instance, he may learn to rate behaviour, rather than himself, or learn that there is a difference between doing something wrong and being wrong, or between acting badly and being a bad person. First, notice the negative self-rating. Then replace the destructive self-judgments with constructive behavioural evaluation

Becoming Aware of Our Story- Self

The only way to rate something is by using a standard as a frame of reference. A standard is a story about how something should be. The only way for an individual to compare him or herself to a story about how something should be is by having a story about who one is. One must have a so-called Story-Self. There must be a concept of the self (Story-Self) in order for this concept to be compared to a concept of “worth” (standard).

For instance, a person can only call himself a “loser” (low self-acceptance), if he has created a story of what a loser entails (e.g. someone who is unattractive) and a story of what the self is (e.g. “I am unattractive”). Regardless of whether these stories are correct, they are at the heart of the self-rating process that characterizes low self-acceptance. In sum, one must have a story about the self in order to rate this story.

By changing the concept of self as a story (Story-Self) to self as an observer ( Witness- Self ), the witness-self then becomes the neutral observer that notices what one has done. Moreover, the witness-self will not judge or rate the self, simply because it sees things as they are, without judging, criticizing or doing any of the other thinking processes that characterize self-rating. Moreover, the witness- self cannot be improved. There is no “condition” to be reached for this self to be enough. Whereas it is possible to rate the self-as-story, it is impossible to rate the witness-self. The observing self is always there, in every moment, working perfectly. One could state that the witness-self possesses all the characteristics of unconditional acceptance.