Let’s talk about self-confidence. Self-confidence comes from the Latin word fidere which means to trust. And self-confidence is defined as a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgement. Often self-confidence comes from our successes – the experiences that have shown us that we can achieve or excel in a certain area of our lives. But what about the areas with which we struggle? Where we may not feel so confident, what then? This is where self-acceptance can serve us well. Self-acceptance is defined as our ability to accept all aspects of ourselves, strengths and weaknesses, to formulate an overall positive self-regard. By definition, self-acceptance is having a positive attitude towards ourselves as we are right now without having to meet any conditions. Not when we lose weight, not when we get a promotion, not when we can afford that car, but as we are right now.
Self-Acceptance is a key domain to happiness
Not surprisingly, positive self- acceptance is a key domain of happiness and wellbeing. Other aspects include positive relations and a sense of purpose or meaning. While self-acceptance is not necessarily an automatic quality, the good news is that it can be cultivated. One strategy to increase our ability to have self-acceptance is through mindfulness and a tool called cognitive reappraisal. Through mindfulness we can become aware of our negative thought patterns and learn to disengage from them. While cognitive reappraisal is a practice that allows us to reframe our thoughts and nudge them towards more kind and compassionate ones.
Turn negative thoughts into positive ones
Even the most successful business men, accomplished scientists and acclaimed actors and models experience self-doubt. Acclaimed actresses Nicole Kidman and Maryl Streep are among many who have openly admitted and discussed this challenge. Self-doubt, or second guessing ourselves, actually serves a good purpose at times. It helps us weigh the positives and negatives of certain decisions, helps us be critical thinkers and to ultimately make better decisions. BUT if you are finding yourself having a very critical inner voice that constantly fills you with self-doubt and self-criticism, this can become a roadblock and will interfere with your ability to make change and to grow.
Positive self-acceptance is critical to creating healthy habits
The goal is not to pretend that you have nothing to achieve or improve on. The goal is to meet yourself where you are at with kindness and self-compassion. Positive self-acceptance gives you a positive platform from which you can improve and grow whereas persistent negative thoughts will only result in self-sabotage.
So, the next time you meet your weaknesses or imperfections with negative self talk or thoughts, practice mindfulness. Just become aware and notice, can you create some space around these thoughts? Can you question or challenge them? Then try to reframe these negative thoughts into opportunities for improvement and growth. It just might be the ticket to making that change you have been hoping for!