I believe that a very important part of self-love is learning to accept your faults. Learning to accept the things that you don’t like about yourself.
Learning to accept yourself as you are right now, rather than as you want yourself to be.
Many times we have an ideal version of ourselves that we want to live up to, that we want to become. Seeing that we’re not where we want to be, we get discouraged. We examine our flaws or shortcomings and torture ourselves for them.
Or we ignore them entirely, pretending they are not actually a problem at all and thus build a habit of aversion.
For others the story can be even more complicated when they are tortured by a past that continues to linger on in their present. Traumatic experiences or pain they still carry around, not truly ready to let go of.
In either sense, when we resist certain parts of our personality, body, or past, these are the parts of ourselves that we reject. The parts we don’t accept because we don’t like how they currently are, and in doing so and continue to resist.
When you judge yourself, you reject yourself. You give yourself the message that “I don’t like you as you are, and I’ll only like you if you change.”
This will always be a moving target we can never live up to. Instead we must love ourselves as we are in this current moment.
So your so-called “faults”? Get used to them. They’re not gonna disappear overnight.
These will be a work in progress that you’re gonna have to live with, and deal with, and manage for some time…so you might want to learn how to get comfortable with the discomfort.
That’s the ironic part of the process of learning to love yourself – you’re gonna find out how frustrating you are. You’re gonna find out how difficult of a person you are. How difficult you are to change.
Learning to accept those sides of yourself is not easy. It’s not easy to love yourself when you do something stupid, when you regress back into bad habits – when you hurt someone – but that’s when it’s also most important.
Love yourself the same even in the moments when you faulted. Love yourself unconditionally.
If the nasty ugly parts hurt you to look at – GOOD. Feel it. Use that feeling of pain and disgust that you have for yourself to motivate you to become a better person. Use that pain as awareness.
Be grateful for that awareness. Be happy that your pain and discomfort, and your acceptance of that pain and discomfort, is helping you to improve, right now in this present moment.
Don’t resist it. Don’t reject it. Don’t justify it. That’s just more aversion, more avoidance.
If you feel the pain of your past actions, you know what you need to do to change. If you love yourself, you won’t give yourself that pain again.
It’s also why I’m such a big advocate of getting weird – it’s the ultimate act of self acceptance.
Think about it – why don’t most people get weird? Because they are afraid of what other people will think, they are afraid of being judged by others.
AKA they are worried people will see the flawed parts of themselves and thus be exposed to the world. They are self conscious. Shy. Embarrassed. Uptight – all resistance of accepting ones true self.
I believe that self love = self acceptance. Radical acceptance of everything you are. Everything you have been through, both good and bad. Acceptance and love of your flaws, mistakes, imperfections, and shortcomings. Acceptance of your past. Acceptance of the things you want to change.
I believe that we must practice unconditional love with ourselves. We can hold our flaws in loving embrace. Look at them from the perspective of understanding. Compassion. Gratitude. Forgiveness.
THIS is true self love. Loving even the parts of ourselves that seem unlovable.
It’s a process. For some much longer than others. Many of us have large regrets. Pain of past experiences. Cumulative “not doing” that has put us into a hole of our former selves. It’s going to take time, but it’s a worthy journey.
These will be your biggest obstacles in the journey to self love. In order to truly love yourself, you must learn to love these parts of yourself you have previously rejected.
As an exercise in self love, try to write down the parts of yourself that you don’t like. Forgive yourself for things you’ve done badly. Practice gratitude for how your flaws may have helped you. Try to find beauty in the ugliness.
One by one, try to appreciate the parts of yourself you don’t like.
Come back to me afterwards and tell me how it went – if you love yourself you’ll give it a try 😉
Either way, if you’re dedicated to the journey of self love, self acceptance is the first large hurdle to overcome. I wish you well on your journey!
Also published on Medium.