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Self-Acceptance Step 2: Accept Yourself as You Are Right Now

By Michelle May, M.D.

Love-yourself-unconditionally - smIn Step 1, we learned that awareness is the first step to self-acceptance. Becoming aware of our habits of self-criticism, judging, comparing, and obsessing over what we eat and how much we exercise helps us recognize this futile, painful pattern.

For most people, the most challenging step is to accept themselves as they are right now. There is a little voice that says “When I _______, then I’ll be good enough.” Here are just a few of the reasons we struggle with this:

  • Unworthiness: The belief that “I am not good enough and therefore I must change.”
  • Perfectionism: Constantly striving to achieve unrealistic goals and the unattainable ideal.
  • Comparison: Judging yourself against others such as celebrities, models, photo-shopped advertising, a naturally thin friend, or even yourself when you were younger.
  • Fear: If I accept myself as I am today, I won’t change.

It may be helpful to think about whether you would subject a child or a good friend to these standards! When we look at each of these reasons with this fresh perspective, we begin to see how harshly we treat ourselves!

Here’s the truth:

  • Unworthiness: Every person is inherently deserving of love and acceptance as they are.
  • Perfection: No one is perfect (few are even close), yet our lives slip by while we try to achieve this impossible standard.
  • Comparison: It is unfair to you—and to others—to assume you know anything about a person’s life by looking at them (or a photo). Life is not a competition.
  • Fear: Acceptance is the starting line for change. When you accept yourself unconditionally, you create the circumstances necessary for change. After all, you only care for those things you care about.

Accept who you are and where you are right now, including your perceived faults. Certainly there may be some things you wish to change but it’s important to love yourself unconditionally first—no strings attached. By accepting yourself, imperfections and all, you’ll begin to appreciate your own uniqueness and respect your body and self.

Then practice. Remember, what you practice, you get good at. Repeat this step over and over again, no matter how many times it takes, until this is your habit.

I invite you to continue on this six step journey to self-acceptance with us so you can create a new habit and truly “love the one you’re with!” We will share the six steps on our blog, Facebook page, Twitter, and Pinterest! Please share the love by retweeting, sharing, and commenting!

Join the conversation by sharing your comments below: What do you need to let go of to accept yourself as you are now?

Ready for what’s next? Self-Acceptance Step 3: Get to Know Yourself Better

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About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

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