Should you love yourself as you are? Yes. You should absolutely love yourself no matter where you are in relationship to your goals. You should love yourself whatever your relationship status is. You should love yourself and your physical appearance. You should love yourself regardless of your background or financial situation. The suggestion that anybody should judge themselves on any of these subjects or judge anybody else is absolutely offensive and it encourages absolutely abhorrent behaviors. The next question is this. Should you accept yourself as you are? Maybe not. Unfortunately, self-acceptance isn’t always about loving yourself and having a good self-esteem. Here are 5 reasons that you should not accept yourself as you are.
- When Self Acceptance Really Means Unwillingness or Inability to Grow
All too often, when people speak of accepting themselves as they are, they really mean that they are unable or unwilling to grow. If that sounds familiar, try replacing acceptance with happiness. Are you happy with yourself? If the answer is no, then there is no reason to use self-acceptance as an excuse to stay where you are. If you aren’t sure how to make the changes you need to make, or don’t have the tools to make the changes you need, you can focus on getting the help you need to move forward.
What’s most important is to stop using self-acceptance as a means to stagnate.
- When Self-Acceptance is a Denial of The Need to Change
In other cases, self-acceptance is used as a way to justify where a person is, and deny that they need to make any changes. This is often where the love of self is a better approach than self-acceptance. It could be that you need to make changes for your physical or emotional healthy, but you can also love yourself in the meantime in spite of the things you need to work on.
- When Self Acceptance is The Inability to Take Responsibility
In order to grow and make positive changes, you have to take responsibility for yourself and the situation that you are in. Stating that you accept yourself as you are is often just a demonstration that you are unable to take that responsibility or that you are unwilling to take that responsibility. If you find yourself not taking on the basic responsibilities that others in your age group are handling, it may be time to consider that this form of self-acceptance is a way of avoiding responsibility.
- When Self Acceptance is Used to Justify Continuing Hurtful Behaviors
Common wisdom is that you should never expect people to change. The problem with this idea is when it becomes an excuse for people to justify behaving in ways that hurt others. When people say things such as, ‘You knew I was like this when we started dating.’ or ‘This is just how I’ve always been’, they are often just justifying bad or hurtful behaviors. When you tell other people these things, you are also telling yourself, ‘maybe I behave in ways that hurt other people, but I accept myself anyway.’ That is nothing more than justification to yourself to continue on with poor behavior.
- When Self-Acceptance is a Sign of Fear of Moving Forward
Fear is one of the biggest and most common barriers to making changes to yourself. After all, changing yourself often involves doing lots of scary things. You may have to admit troubling things about yourself and your situation. You may have to acknowledge that you need help and then ask for that help. You may need to drop habits, behaviors, and even people that have come to feel safe for you. One of the unfortunate things about self-acceptance is that it can so easily be used to mask fear of making changes and improving yourself.
You may not be able to conquer your fears right away and make changes, but if you simply shift your thinking from self-acceptance to acknowledging that fear is causing you to avoid change, you will have taken a step in the right direction.
The bottom line is this. You should always love yourself. You should also accept things about yourself that you truly appreciate and with which you are happy. In those ways, self-acceptance is a great thing. However, if you find yourself using self-acceptance as a justification or an excuse to continue behavior patterns that are damaging, then there is a problem. The important thing to discern is whether or not you are using the concept of self-acceptance to avoid making positive changes, or as a way to communicate self-love to yourself and the people around you. If it’s the former, you may want to consider the damage self-acceptance might be doing to you and the people in your life.