Accepting yourself is the first step to building self-esteem. It’s not possible to feel positive about yourself if you can’t even accept yourself. Self-acceptance is the level of happiness and satisfaction you have with yourself.

Many mental health professionals believe that self-acceptance is necessary before change can occur. If you’re feeling stuck, a lack of self-acceptance may be the first challenge to overcome. Accepting your flaws allows you to change them.

Here are 9 ways you can accept yourself and enjoy the person you are:

  1. Let go of your parents’ behavior. Your parents were just doing the best they could – based on the knowledge, awareness and understanding they had at that time. As Louise Hay used to say, they were victims of victims and were only living out the intergenerational family patterns. There’s little to be gained by blaming your parents for their mistakes and inadequacies. The solution is to forgive them and release yourself from the past.
  • Avoid judging yourself based on the parenting you received. It’s a reflection of them, not you.
  1. Volunteer. There’s no easier way to convince yourself that you’re worthy of self-acceptance than to volunteer your time with someone that needs you. Prove to yourself how great a person you are. There are countless opportunities to volunteer in your community.
  1. Be proud of your strengths. It’s hard to accept yourself if you’re constantly reminding yourself of your weaknesses. Make a long list that you can return to in the future. List every positive thing you can about yourself. Even the smallest positive attribute is worthy of mention and can become a powerful personal affirmation for you.
  • “I am a GREAT person.”
  • “I can play the banjo.”
  • “I am loyal to my friends.”
  1. Forgive yourself. If you’re harping on your past transgressions, self-acceptance will be in short-supply. Chalk your bad choices up to experience and move on.
  • Everyone does the best they can. There will always be moments where you’re less capable than others. You can do better next time.
  1. Let go of goals that will never be reached. It is difficult to accept yourself when the life you’re living is very different from your original plans. Your life is always unfolding in the perfect time, space and sequence for you. There’s a time to let it all go and just be. Let the present moment be that time. Make new plans that are plausible and that excite you.
  1. Eliminate negative self-talk. You can’t accept yourself if you’re constantly insulting yourself. Give yourself a fighting chance to reach a state of self-acceptance. Speak to yourself the way you would a good friend. Be a friend to yourself.
  1. Be authentic. When you put on a persona for the world, you’re not giving others the opportunity to accept you as you are. How will you be able to accept yourself? When you’re authentic, the love you receive feels infinitely more meaningful. Living honestly is scary, but surprisingly easy. People admire and respect those with the strength to be authentic.
  1. Recognize your worth to the world. Fortunately, this isn’t something that must be earned. You’re born with it. How much could you contribute if you applied yourself? The world needs you. What could say more of your inherent value than the fact that the world needs you?
  1. Forgive others. The ability to forgive others is proportional to your ability to forgive yourself. Practice forgiving others and you’ll find self-acceptance comes much easier.

Self-acceptance is exactly what its name suggests: the state of complete acceptance of oneself. True self-acceptance is embracing who you are, without any qualifications, conditions, or exceptions.

This definition emphasizes the importance of accepting all facets of the self. It’s not enough to simply embrace the good, valuable, or positive about yourself; to embody true self-acceptance, you must also embrace the less desirable, the negative, and the ugly parts of yourself.

In other words, we must first acknowledge that we have undesirable traits and habits before we start off on our journey to improvement.

Self-acceptance permits balance in our recovery. We no longer have to look for the approval of others because we are satisfied with being ourselves. We are free to gratefully emphasize our assets, to humbly move away from our defects, and to become the best recovering addicts we can be. Accepting ourselves as we are means that we are all right, that we are not perfect, but we can always be willing change, improve and grow.

No one is perfect. You accept your friends and family even though they’re all flawed in a unique way. Give yourself the same latitude. Focus on your positive traits and forgive yourself for your flaws and mistakes.

When you accept yourself as you are, you get ready for massive positive change in your life.