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Except or Accept?

I am one of those people with incredibly high standards for myself. It’s “ok” for other people to get sick, make mistakes, or have faults, but not for me. I notice times when I make exemptions from the rule about myself that interfere with accepting myself.

What gets in the way of self-acceptance?

As Albert Ellis would say, the “Tyranny of the Shoulds.” By constantly comparing ourselves to who we SHOULD be, what we SHOULD have, etc. We get so focused on the goal that we get lost along the journey.

What‘s so bad about that?

When we lose sight of accepting our “work in progress” status and only see what we lack, our thoughts become negative. These thoughts shade the way we view daily life and we become trapped in a mindset that does not allow us to achieve our goals. Even if we do achieve some goals, we may not even notice because our mindset has already shifted to the next “Should.” This breeds anxiety and depression, when these thoughts get in the way of daily life.

How do I break this cycle?

You can learn to accept yourself, warts and all.

  1. Develop Self awareness - Notice when those “shoulds” attack your thoughts.

  2. Practice Self Compassion - When you notice those “shoulds,” don’t beat yourself up about it.

  3. Practice Self Acceptance - Acknowledge that you have areas of your life you want to change. This is a normal experience.

  4. Assess the Problem - What is it that you want to change? Is this something you can change or something you want to change the way you experience it?

  5. Consider Your Options - See Stages of Change blog post.

Accepting yourself is a choice. It takes practice to break the cycle of Self-Exception and experience Self-Acceptance. If you notice you have difficulty breaking this cycle and would like someone to help you, contact us.


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