The process of understanding who we are as individuals is often complex and requires patience and perseverance . A series of different stages must be overcome, each one with different levels of difficulty, throughout a person’s life a multiplicity of situations that are associated with their own identity and society are experienced.

Multiple external factors such as family and society intervene in self-perception . Consequently, people generally find it difficult to reconcile personal aspects with the opinion of others and how these are perceived socially. As a result, people sometimes feel that they cannot be accepted and they cannot either.

In psychology it is considered that the acceptance process is one of the extensive complicated ones, each person manages to face and overcome it generally until they have already entered the stage of adulthood. However, considering that each person is different according to their mental and physical capacities, it is possible to accept oneself if the appropriate advice and steps are followed .

The following describes what acceptance is from the point of view of psychology. Its characteristics are mentioned as well as its usefulness and importance, both on a personal level and for society. Finally, brief information is provided about what are the main tips and steps to put into practice to be able to accept oneself.

What is acceptance?

Psychology as a discipline understands that thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are malleable. Although the basis that makes up the personality is more or less stable under regular conditions in the adult subject, there are qualities of the personality that must be tested in the stages of conflict.

Conflicts appear at various stages of life and, in many cases, are inevitable and impossible to solve. These difficult periods become a reality that must be dealt with, so the only option is acceptance .

The acceptance then it is a mechanism of healthy adult mind to preserve the emotional well – being. The person must accept what cannot be humanly changed in order to advance in life projects. When people are aware of both their strengths and their weaknesses, it is easier to face any situation since we know what our capabilities are.

But also acceptance implies having a notion of what our motivations, goals and expectations are. It is directly related since the identity of a person is also made up of these elements, this is how the reasons for which one continues to move forward are defined.

What are their characteristics? 

Commonly the reflective act serves as a starting point to solve any conflict that alters its existence. Based on this, an action plan is made to solve the problems that are under your control. The rest, what cannot be changed, must go beyond it and accept reality so as not to stress uselessly. Insisting on things that are outside your domain will only waste your time and create unnecessary worry.

Generally, acceptance consists of a series of steps, each of which can be perceived as a reflective act that focuses on a particular personal aspect. But also, during this process it is observed that most people try to make comparisons. They also try to modify those aspects that bother them , however, being part of oneself, they cannot be changed or eliminated; because they are part of our own being.

Acceptance turns out to be the set of a series of stages, each of which has an important impact on each period of life. The stages of childhood, adolescence, youth, and early and late adulthood; in each one different facets of our own identity are overcome 

What is its usefulness and importance? 

The mechanism of acceptance allows you to move on and better manage your life. In fact, self-acceptance is an indication of psychological maturity , along with trust, tolerance, empathy, and emotional security. Acceptance as a quality and own resource of the adult person is, as said, a psychological mechanism to move forward; But, this does not imply that you should settle for that harmful reality that you cannot alter in your favor.

The agreement involves tolerating conflicts or problems , is the realization that in life everything is not rosy, even while acting in achieving goals. In a way, acceptance implies resilience or adaptation because it is about living with the conflict without causing anxiety. 

This kind of active acceptance allows you to direct your energies towards other interests to achieve new goals. Life teaches that there are several ways to reach the same goal, even improve it. The decision to change strategy in order to achieve a fuller life involves accepting the unsolvable . Conformity, on the contrary, entails the paralysis of all efforts to improve and accept.

Maturity in adults (because not every adult is mentally mature) includes a series of characteristics, already mentioned. Acceptance of reality leads to a rational relationship with yourself. It is essential to be able to separate what is essentially vital from what is important but cannot be achieved in the here and now.

Personal acceptance as a system of self-recognition and acceptance as an adaptation mechanism are two pillars of adult maturity.

So, personal acceptance is an indispensable construct for life in balance. As has been evidenced, acceptance does not occur abruptly, it implies a process that is divided into biological, cognitive and emotional stages. According to analytical psychology, what is at stake is the acceptance of the shadow or, what is the same, of the negative traits of one’s own personality.

An adult person accepts the reality of his environment and of himself, whether it be the behaviors of those around him at work, a little edifying past, the inescapable passage of time, personal intellectual and professional drifts or the particular phenotype (color skin, body proportions, facial features, etc.) There are endless realities that could be considered unattractive or detestable with which you must grow up and move forward.

How to accept yourself?

Personal acceptance is a need that arises from interpersonal reflection and introspective analysis. For the psychological doctrine, it promotes empathy and security in interpersonal ties and with oneself.

The self – knowledge, self – criticism and self – esteem are the basis of personal acceptance. Only through these pillars does the individual find the appropriate course for their growth, without ignoring existential problems of any kind. Frustration arises when reality is not properly assimilated.

There are two systems most used in the acceptance process :

  1. Psychotherapy provides some tools to alleviate (accept) the conflict or obstacle that affects individuals.
  2. Preserve the problem or condition in its original manifestation, learning to live with the problem through individual development . Thus, it achieves that the point of view changes or becomes relative to it and weakens its blocking power.

Self-esteem is an indispensable condition of acceptance . In addition, it can be said that the word self-acceptance, along with others such as self-consideration, self-worth or self-evaluation, belong to the synonym of self-esteem, in the slang of psychology. Consequently, self-esteem is directly proportional to self-acceptance; a greater strengthening of self-esteem also strengthens self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance is also a prelative requirement of self-esteem, because if there is no self-acceptance, the subject could be vulnerable and fall, for example, in the urgent search for love, entering into interpersonal relationships of emotional dependence. Dysfunctional love relationships are due in many cases to a precarious self-esteem of some of its members.

Self-perception (the term self-concept is also used) is also the foundation of acceptance. Being a kind of self-reflective exercise on the value that an individual has of himself, self-perception depends on the components that are exposed below:

  1. The references arising from the different experiences of the individual and the feedback received from the human environment.
  2. The aspirations and purposes built by the same individual.
  3. The level of self-analysis of their abilities.

All of the above defines the process that leads to personal acceptance This procedure is ultimately a dialogical process with oneself , a direct communication without subterfuge with the self, which should catalyze an attitude towards individual transformation.

It is not only a matter of the individual being able to describe reality or make an image of it in the form of a state of affairs, but of assimilating that reality and using it in their various experiences , in order to gain personal acceptance.

It is wrong to believe that the individual must seek acceptance from all his environment. However, being acceptance a personal alternative, it is fed back by the acceptance of the society to which it belongs.

For example, a person may stop before a congenital physical defect and complain every day about why he and not another; But, you can also change your perspective on it and see it as an added boost to shine in science, sports, or art.

This different perspective implies the configuration of a value system that protects against fears, rejections and failed interests. It is also a more focused and mature interpretation, product of the addition of a new subject-environment link with the overcoming of negativity. It is the synthesis of a more comprehensive perspective of the limitations and possibilities of transformation. In reality, all human beings have limitations.

In summary, personal acceptance is a process that includes the interaction with the environment and the subjective transformations that occur through human development, obtaining a more complete perspective of the barriers and particular possibilities.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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