The Power of Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance is the antidote to shame intolerance.

Do you want to:

  • feel more calm, contented and fulfilled with life
  • strengthen your relationships
  • be truly self-confident
  • manage emotional problems such as anxiety, depression and moodiness
  • learn to accept and love yourself
woman's hands over chest representing self-acceptance

As I experienced, achieving self-acceptance was wonderfully liberating and led to dozens of major, permanent changes in my personality. Learning to truly accept myself — flaws and all — made me happier, more assertive, and more relaxed and confident in every situation.

Finding compassion for yourself changes your relationships because it changes you. You will have personal sense of contentment and emotional fulfillment, leading to an improved sense of connection with others.

Quite simply, self-acceptance is the antidote to fear — especially the fear of being seen as unworthy and then experiencing shame, rejection and exclusion. It decreases self-critical thoughts or self-shaming, making it easier to tolerate the experience of feeling ashamed when criticized or rejected by others.

Self-acceptance frees the mind from feelings of inadequacy and the self-blaming thoughts that lie at the heart of many experiences with anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders and many others.

Learning self-compassion teaches you to focus your mind, brain and body to provide self-soothing, rather than repeating fear-provoking habits of negative thinking and self-judgment. By improving emotional regulation skills and managing your thoughts and behaviors in healthy ways you will learn to be calm and present for yourself — and others.

How Do You Handle Low Self-Worth and Shame?

Too many people suffer from low self-worth, often from inadequate parenting leading to poor attachment bonding or other developmental trauma. These factors combine with a natural human need for love and belonging and the “fight-or-flight response” to make it difficult for these individuals to manage shaming experiences. I call these the Five Causative Factors that result in emotional suffering.

Arrow pointing to word shame graphic

When these shame-evoking experiences become too much, most people adopt one of three counterproductive shame management strategies.

  • other-blaming
  • self-blaming
  • blame avoiding

These three behaviors have a direct impact on the quality and success of your personal relationships.

Reframing “Mental Illness”

Not only is self-acceptance a powerful intervention to help those struggling with emotional distress, I am proposing that it can be used to reframe how we conceptualize “mental illness.”

Because the three shame management strategies define essentially all unhealthy behaviors in relationships with self and others, we can see that poor shame tolerance or lack of self-acceptance is actually the cause of “mental disorders” — not unproven beliefs that “mental disorders” are due to an imbalance of brain neurochemicals or a genetic inheritance.

I believe we as a society should redefine emotional and behavioral problems as adaptive and self-protective responses to:

  • fear
  • shame
  • trauma
  • self-criticism
  • lack of secure attachment.

Self-Acceptance Psychology™ is a simple, but powerful new paradigm to describe and understand human behavior. It challenges the traditional ways of defining “mental disorders,” yet is based on well-accepted and well-researched psychological concepts. Self-Acceptance Psychology reframes emotional and behavioral problems as adaptive and self-protective responses to fear, trauma, shame, and lack of secure attachment. This conceptual framework has many benefits and can lead to long-term, permanent change.

Self-Acceptance Psychology:

  • explains human emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns as natural, predictable responses to real threats or perceived fears
  • is a simple, transparent, and understandable conceptual framework accessible to clinicians and the public
  • uses behavioral explanations that lead directly to case formulation and to effective methods of therapeutic intervention and self-help
  • provides hope for permanent change through research-proven strategies of mindful self-compassion leading to self-acceptance

The Story of My Self-Acceptance, Part I

The Story of My Self-Acceptance, Part II