How to achieve self acceptance?

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Gromit

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How to achieve self acceptance?
« on: August 24, 2021, 05:34:35 PM »
My DD asked me this recently, another of our bedtime discussions.

It stumped me. I seem to lurch from one fearful episode to another, I don’t think self acceptance comes into my experience.

I asked my OH as he, although quick to temper, never seems troubled by any self doubts. He said, occasionally he thinks about how life has turned out, not as he might have dreamed but, you just have to ‘get on with things’ and, once he had thought about it some more, ‘focus on the positives’.

My DD and I asked, what about when people just say, ‘cheer up, it might never happen’ when you are quietly minding your own business? He had no response, I don’t think it happens to him, the kind of criticism that comes from other people whether you want it or not. I am not saying it only happens to women, but it does seem that other people (both men and women) are quite comfortable at offering their negative opinions on your appearance and behaviour, if you are female. My point being, it is hard to find any positives when other people point out the negatives that they see. I know, other people’s opinions are not facts and, I feel I should be able to discern if there is any truth in them and ignore them, if not. But, perhaps it is being accepted by others, as you are, which helps you to accept yourself. Maybe it is when you can accept others as they are it helps you to accept yourself too.

My DD did understand when I asked if she had an inner critic. Oh yes, and somehow I feel I have failed her because she does, but I can see that part of that may come from OH, he is great at passing doubt onto others, asking me, if I have locked my car, which makes me question myself, for example, and, whatever score she gets in tests, asking why she didn’t get the other 9% or whatever it is to get 100%, as she is usually  in the top scores of the class.

Well done if you reached the end of my rambling about self acceptance, I tried to find some help here first but decided that I could ask instead. How do you accept yourself?

G

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Bermuda

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Re: How to achieve self acceptance?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2021, 06:36:03 PM »
This post was very relateable for me. The phase "I feel you." comes to mind.

I wish I knew a way not to be doubtful, but I don't. I do know though that females absolutely have the short end of the stick on this issue. It is in my field of work, and it's part of a very huge systemic problem. It's not just you. Your DD having a tough inner critic is also not just influenced by you, or your OH. It's everywhere all the time.

Parenting is hard. For me it has been absolutely the hardest when it comes to making choices and facing criticism for absolutely EVERYTHING. My partner does not face this at all, even if some of these choices were his and his alone. In short, there is no winning.

I have worked a lot through my trauma over the years, and I do think that during personal work on my social-emotional development that I missed out on as a child has helped me face my inner critic. So maybe in a sense accepting others does lesson your own inner critic, and to be less critical of yourself makes you less likely to criticise others. I was a very hyper critical child of everyone, and I also felt never good enough.

How do I accept myself?

I don't know. In a lot of ways I don't. At least with my partner I've learned to tune him out. That's probably not healthy, but just as an example a couple hours ago he asked me if I didn't want to go outside to play with my son because I'm really just feeling lazy. Mind you, I am very pregnant and feel like *poo*. There was a time I would have absolutely internalized this criticism, believed it, and cried to myself... Instead I see that he clearly has no idea what my human experience is like, and I let it go because therefore anything he says like this is invalid and cannot count against me.

This tactic unfortunately doesn't work as well with other people though. My self-acceptance is very heavily based on needing to feel accepted by others. I think this is typical of those trauma survivors who may be affected by attachment disorder.

I do know that focusing on the positives doesn't work, and that phrase just makes me feel angry and uncared about.

One of the best things we can do with our children, in my opinion which is not necessarily valid at all, is just to listen to them, and to be honest with them too. You can't simply tell your daughter not to criticise herself and expect that to change (that is criticism after all), but you can tell her she is amazing and about your struggles with inner criticism too (in an age appropriate way).

Also, your post didn't feel like a ramble to me at all! I could talk about this all day, so sorry if my thoughts were a ramble.  :grouphug:

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Gromit

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Re: How to achieve self acceptance?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2021, 07:13:50 PM »
Thanks Bermuda, I really may have to try that tactic with my in-laws who are excellent at not understanding my experience. And OH too. Focussing on the positives may work for him but, it is not the same when you are female and other people see your positives as negatives, for example, being assertive is seen as being rude by some.

My DD is nearly 16 I do not tell her not to criticise herself, I merely asked if she had a critic in order to understand where she was with this subject. I am too much of a philosopher to judge her experience in any way. I could only be honest and say I did not know how to accept myself, I am too busy trying to survive. I can only empathise and validate her experiences as female as I have had them too.

Your partner really has no concept of how it feels to be pregnant. But then, once you have had one already, there is no special treatment in my experience, even though the side effects get worse.

G

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Bermuda

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Re: How to achieve self acceptance?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2021, 08:09:40 PM »
If it helps at all, it sounds to me that you are doing great. :)