When Self Acceptance Prevents You From Living Your Life

I do accept myself.

I have worked hard to cultivate a love for my body and spirit and I truly believe I have that. It ebbs and flows and I do not always feel 100%, but that does not stop me from taking care of myself.

However, this self acceptance has been limiting my life in the past year and in full transparency, it’s time to change that.

self-acceptance

When you work closely with a few people like I do at work, you get to know them really well. At my job, I am the one people usually ask random questions about running, vegetables (not food, just vegetables) or reasons why they feel sick.

I am not a doctor, so I give my best guess and usually they can feel better if they move a little more, and eat a few more plants. I think we all could benefit from that.

Regardless of what I say and even if they agree with me, change is slow to come. I believe this is for a few reasons.

1.) They don’t know exactly how to change.

2.) They aren’t ready to give up something that is preventing change.

3.) They accept the way they are, even if it means living a lackluster life.

Today, let’s discuss number 3, because this is the biggest reason some parts of my life are stale, and others are not.

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Self-Acceptance

What a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I accept myself the way I am.

Wow!

Way to go!

Congratulations!

Reality: I don’t want/am not ready/it’s hard to change, so it’s easier to say this.

Example:

1st Time:

Coworker: “I feel really tired and hungover”

Me: “Go to bed earlier.”

Coworker: “I was trying to beat this level on PlayStation while drinking beer and it was fun.”

Me: “Ok, was it worth it?”

Coworker: “Yes.”

Me: “Ok then.”

2nd-7th time:

Coworker: “This job suck is, I feel like crap because I’m tired.”

Me: “Why?”

Coworker: “Same as last time.”

Me: “Was it worth it?”

Coworker: “No, I hate feeling like this at work, beer is expensive and I don’t even win the level that I stayed up for.”

Me: “So stop.”

Coworker: “It’s what I always do and my buddies expect me to be there.”

Me: “So?”

Coworker: “It’s just what I do (it’s a habit, routine, it’s comfortable)”

Me: face palm, but I get it.

I get it.

I recently read an article from Psych Central coming from the thoughts of therapists on self acceptance.

What really resonated with me was number 9:

Realize that acceptance is not resignation.

Accepting things for how they are is not allowing them to continue, but a jumping off point toward making change.

In my personal life, I have used the wall of self acceptance to hide behind when I am afraid of putting myself out there.

“Oh, she’s the runner, she doesn’t stay out late.”

“Oh she’s so frugal, she doesn’t spend money or go out for dinner.”

Things I’ve “accepted” about myself have really prevented me from forming relationships or having experiences.

The times I do branch out, I usually have an amazing time. Ragnar was a huge jumping off point as I knew no one and changed everything about my routines.

However, there is still a small voice in the back of my head creating doubt about the positive experiences these things may provide.

“What if I pay money for this and it sucks?”

“What if I get no sleep and am a zombie tomorrow?”

What if, what if, what if???

The part of me that has accepted the sentences above is trying to keep me safe, but also is keeping me from living.

I have decided to change.

Here is how:

1.) Visualization

I will visualize what leaving my comfort zone will feel like, both the potential positives and negatives and implement coping methods to deal with them.

2.) Begin Easy

The first time I spend money out to eat, it won’t be extravagant, but simple. That way it wont feel like so much of a loss if it was bad.

3.) Repeat

I will make reoccurring dates with others and myself to get out of this zone. Again, starting easy with once a month, and building up as my stamina increases.

In a way, this is like running (you knew I would go here right?)

Visualize yourself running, start slow, repeat.

It gets easier doesn’t it?

Has self-acceptance stopped you from doing something characteristically “not you”?

What can you do in the next month to step out of that zone?

 

28 thoughts on “When Self Acceptance Prevents You From Living Your Life”

  1. Great tips. I find if I make a pros and cons list when making decisions outside my comfort zone I can see what outweighs what and feel confident in my choice, never looking back!

  2. This post really made me stop and reflect. You made some great points! i used to probably use the excuse that I have to get up early to run or dont have money to avoid going out to eat, but I don’t really do those things anymore. I (like you) decided about a year ago to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and be a “yes person”- totally changed my life!

  3. I’ve learned that this is such a balance; sometimes I’m overly cautious, and I miss out on opportunities, but yet, at other times, I’m just wanting to be wise with the way I spend the time I’ve been given, so I decide not to do that particular thing that others are enjoying. 🙂 It’s definitely something that is different for different people. 🙂

  4. I understand this. I am going to say something a little controversial, but please bear with me: it is how I feel when people just “accept” that they are “fat.” And the same way when we (myself included) “accept” that we are “skinny.” YES many of us are built differently from what is considered the healthy goal, but when we resign ourselves to “Oh, I am just fat/skinny,” self acceptance becomes an excuse. Until we work HARD to change, and find ourselves actually unsuccessful, do we really know? I’ve been both places, so I totally understand how easy it is to settle and “self accept” and how hard it is to accept my self but know that I need to move forward.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that I understand this, both as someone who has been guilty of it and as someone who has fought it.

    1. Thanks for this Suze. This is what I was getting at. I think sometimes I do not fight hard to change and accept things for the way they are. I meant this post in that sense. Not when someone has TRIED HARD and been unable to change.

  5. Oh girl, I feel you. There have been so many times I’ve been like, “uh, I don’t want to go out. I’ll be too tired and I have to run in the morning.” But the times I’ve thrown caution to the wind, I’ve had a great time with my friends (or husband). Was I tired on my run? Yes. Did it kill me or ruin my life? Totally not. So yeah. I get it, too.

  6. I think maybe you’re confusing “self-acceptance” with “complacency”. Or inertia. Or apathy. Self-acceptance is a beautiful spiritual state to be in, and has nothing to do with being unwilling to change…

  7. I like your statement that acceptance is not resignation. In yoga we teach contentment and that it’s not the samething as settling for less than what you want in life. More of a recognition of where you are and being okay with that in the moment. Accepting my body doesn’t mean I don’t go out and run 4.5 miles to stay “healthy” it means that I do it for the right reasons and enjoy the experience and appreciate the journey of change that comes with the regular running. Great post!

  8. This is such an interesting perspective…one I haven’t thought about very much. For me, especially when I became a vegetarian/plant based eater, I felt like I couldn’t make friends because they thought I was weird. Some did, and still do, and I’m okay with that now. I’ve tried to learn that there are other people who accept me for who I am, and those are the people who will be loving and friendly! I think complete self acceptance can be really dangerous because essentially you embrace every positive and negative flaw equally without taking a step back and saying “okay, I realize this is apart of my personality, but maybe it’s not the healthiest thing for me or maybe it’s causing some problems.” We can still be introspective and practice self love.

    Love how you always make me think Ellie.

    1. Very good points Evangeline. When I went vegan, I was told by alot of mainstream vegans that people would always criticize me and be rude, so I was always on the defensive. Really, there were many more people who were just like “eh…cool” rather than mean.

  9. Great post. I’ve become the “go-to” person for a coworker about healthy living too. She wants to change and likes to learn and dream about living healthfully, but she just can’t bring herself to make changes. I try to help her learn, but also find myself saying things like, “but don’t put too much pressure on yourself.” or “you’re being too hard on yourself — it’s okay to eat that sometimes or rest if you’re too sore”

  10. Great post and very eye opening. On one hand, acceptance is good, but not over-acceptance can lead to bad cycles. And ugh, I work with so many co-workers like that – lots of types not wanting to give up their daily McDonalds and would just prefer to vent about health issues.

  11. Great post Ellie! The “What If’s” are always what stop me from going and trying new things, or breaking out of my routine, so I can really relate to that aspect of your post! Great tip on trying to get out of your comfort zone at least once a month and starting slowly. You know me and how I like to be isolated so I will use this post as motivation to get myself out there and try something new and different!

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