Self-acceptance is loving yourself exactly as you are. It is a journey that we all must take to live a life that we truly love, says empowerment coach Rebecca Jackson.

In any given moment, you are either accepting or rejecting yourself. You always have a choice to be loving, to treat yourself with kindness and compassion, or to choose judgement and disdain. Unfortunately, we often choose the second, more painful option. When you do not accept yourself - in all your divinity and with all your strengths and weaknesses, your physical body, circumstances, and personal experiences - it is impossible for you to step into the fullness of who you are. Self-judgement sucks the life out of your dreams and strips you of the joy that is your birthright. The problem with self-judgement is that it’s so readily available. If you aren't berating yourself for not doing something perfectly, then you're probably assuming that someone else is.

Going deeper

Every single one of us has experienced emotional events that have plugged us into the collective consciousness of “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not worthy,” and/or “I’m not lovable.” These three thoughts are our constant companion. The powerful combination of these hidden emotions fuel negative thought patterns and consequently control our lives; it’s a lethal cycle. When you look back on your life, do similar themes or situations show up? And was your natural reaction to sharply judge yourself - “I should have known better”, “I could/should have done something”, “I didn’t do enough”? This can lead to you finding that even silly things, like taking a wrong turn or forgetting to pick up milk, make you feel like you are not good enough. These patterns are part of your personal growth journey, and they point to the thoughts, people, and situations that you need to let go of, so that you can evolve and tap into your full potential.

We've all had times when we can’t stop hurtful thoughts: for days, months, or even years, no matter how hard we try we simply can't stop the same old damaging words playing on repeat in our head. These thoughts are there to show us another layer to explore - an invitation to go deeper and to love ourself more. The power of self-acceptance is that it provides the codes to step further into love - self love – and accept ourselves exactly as we are. It is in the moments when you are confronted by thoughts that aren't supportive or loving that you are being given an opportunity to embrace your whole self. And once you accept all of your strengths and weaknesses, assets and flaws, there is no room for shame or self-judgement. When you are willing to be brave and excruciatingly honest with yourself, self-judgement will lose its grip on you. All that’s required is that you take the first step. And then another. And another.

6-step program

One step at a time You are awesome! A magnificent expression of life. To support you in seeing and feeling this, identify one positive action that you can take to move away from the image of who you think you need to be so that you can simply be the amazing person you already are.
Open your heart Write down 10 ways that you are not currently being loving to yourself. Look at each one, and imagine what would happen if you loved every single one of your supposed flaws. Write down exactly how your life would be better and how it would change the lives of the people around you.
Be of service When you lovingly give to others, you see how you positively contribute to other lives, your community, and the world at large. Find a cause that you are passionate about and volunteer your time. It becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a belief that you are no good, useless, or bad when you see how your actions can enrich and transform the lives of others.
Make success lists When you believe that you have failed at something, it can be difficult to remember your brilliance. To combat this, make a list of all of your successes. Don’t hold back! Include all of the goals you’ve accomplished, all of the connections you’ve made, challenges you’ve overcome, and all of the lives you’ve touched for the better. Keep the list close by and review whenever you need a reminder of how great you really are.
Bless your body We take our bodies for granted. When was the last time you thanked a part of your body that you use every day? Have you ever done so? Every part of your body deserves a little attention. Starting at your head, take a moment to be present to the miracle of each and every part of your body. Send it love and blessings and feel the energy as the blessings move through your body.
Adopt an attitude of gratitude Apply this to everything you experience, including judgemental thoughts. If you feel you’ve failed at something, pinpoint something about that situation that you can be grateful for. For example, if you think you failed at fulfilling a work project, rather than allowing the thought process to end there, take it a step further and identify the gifts or lessons you received from being involved in the project.

Rebecca Jackson is a purpose-driven entrepreneur, empowerment coach, international speaker and author of You’re Not Alone: A Practical Guide for The Awakening Soul.