This is a guest post for my “Getting Real” series. On this blog, we provide “pure human content,” and truly get real. I wanted to give other bloggers the opportunity to come on here and get real with me! I am so excited for the opportunity to invite other bloggers to join me and share their life experience and big feels. Interested in sending over a guest post and being part of the “Getting Real” series? Send me an email!
Now without further ado, let’s get real…
How do you describe self-acceptance? Do you give self-acceptance attention when there are significant changes in your life? I’m going to explain why self-acceptance is crucial when things in your life change.
I struggled to accept myself throughout my 20’s. I judged how I looked, worried about my career at any given time and blamed myself for being single for 10 years! As I hit my mid-thirties, I finally had learnt to be comfy in my own skin. I happily accepted where I was in my career and I sadly accepted I was single and childless. Overall, I was content and happy being the agent of my life.
It took over 15 years to accept myself and find my feet. I was proud of my career and chose friends who were kind, generous and inspiring. Surprisingly, cupid struck when I was 36yrs and by the time I was 39yrs, I was in love, had 2 sons and living in a family home. For years, I had longed to have a family, and yet I felt lost being a parent. 2 children changed my body and my priorities. Furthermore, it’s chuffing difficult to be utterly selfless to meet the needs of my babies. I found there was less time to socialise, sleep deprivation and the lack of energy stunted my creativity at work. What shocked me the most was after longing for a family, I struggled with accepting myself in my new situation.
Staying late at work, volunteering and the impromptu socialising all went out of the window when I became a mama. My energy that drove my creativity, memory and decision-making skills were at an all-time low. I felt angry and frustrated that I couldn’t keep up or juggling each plate perfectly. I wanted to remain the old me whilst having a brand-new set of circumstances. I wanted my cake and to eat it 😎
“There is tremendous empowerment in appointing yourself the agent of your life.” Twitter @SusanDavid_PhD
Sooner or later, you must start accepting yourself for who you are. It took 5 years to accept the new me; less groomed and forgetful. As we say in the North of England – “I had to have a word with myself”… on several occasions to appreciate the meaning of self-acceptance. So here are my top tips on maintaining self-acceptance.
Letting Go to Achieve Self-Acceptance
Letting go of how I think I should be. To mindfully accept the present situation, for example, it’s ok to miss the impromptu socialising. By freeing up space in my mind that was oozing negativity, gives me the energy that was once lost. I wasn’t one to feel the pressure of ‘fitting in’, however, if this rings true for you – just let it go. Find a place where you fit in rather than shoehorning your wonderful self into something mediocre.
Embracing the Positives
The primitive brain has a negative bias to ensure we survive as a species. To counterbalance our natural bias, we need to look at our strengths and uniqueness. What do we enjoy now, what presently makes us laugh, how do those who are close to us see us? How do we celebrate our successes? I would still like to lose weight, and when I’m kind and patient to myself – I lose weight easier. We spend so much energy trying to ‘fix’ ourselves rather than using that energy on what we love.
Finding Support is Key
Was there a time when you had people in your life that made you feel rubbish? Well, no more I say! Get rid. Self-acceptance is hard enough without the criticism of others. We need family and friends who are honest; to have useful messages that can challenge and support. This way we will know what we stand for whilst accepting and empathising with those around us. I have family and friends who accept my flaws and attributes. My work colleagues and I kindly laugh together to kickstart my memory – it works a treat.
The Benefits of Self-Acceptance
Finally, for those who like a little science, self-acceptance helps release the hormone oxytocin. It has many jobs, one being to strengthen relationships and to show affection. Oxytocin increases the feelings of trust, calm and safety. It enables us to feel compassion for ourselves and others. It can also reduce stress and anxiety levels. Equally important, oxytocin reduces activity in the hypothalamus which controls hunger – something I’m thankful for 😊
I want my sons to accept themselves wholeheartedly, so I needed to learn how to role model those feelings and behaviours. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about finding what works for you. I feel calm, centred, content, and motivated because I have accepted the person I am today. I’ve accepted that it will change again with wobbles and bumps along the way, however, if I take control of my decisions, it will work itself out.
I’m enthusiastic and passionate about caring for children and young people. I have spent 22 years working in children services as a youth worker, youth theatre director and now a trainer. As a professional, we use evidence-based research to shape our practice. So, by the time I had my 2 sons, I wanted to use parenting strategies that were also based on scientific and psychological evidence. I never thought I’d be a blogger; however, I created a space to explore child development and attachment parenting as I clamber through daily situations. You can check out my work on http://raising2children.com/