The Path to Accepting Who You Are
When we see a lovely girl such as Raegan, our guest blogger, we imagine she must be full of confidence, self-love, and acceptance because she has it going on. But that is our own insecurity talking because self-acceptance has nothing to do with what we look like or what we have. I am thrilled to welcome Raegan because in this article she shares her story in an open and raw way to walk us through how we can find self-acceptance and find joy in who we are.
Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are
~ Brene Brown
I felt a really deep void from the young age of twelve years old.
It was one that made me feel inadequate most of the time and too much other times.
Comparison became hardwired, as I found myself wondering how I could be more like the other girls, and less like me.
My mind was filled with constant negative self-talk while shame covered me like a blanket — only the blanket wasn’t comfortable or mine to use.
As I have grown through personal development I’ve realized this is a common human experience, although not acknowledged as much as I believe it needs to be. Instead, comparison, hustling, people-pleasing, living behind a mask, and being a butthole to yourself have become the norm!!
This void, along with several other factors in my external environment led me to develop an eating disorder…. Which made too much sense yet none at all.
My eating disorder was a coping mechanism. A way to feel safe in a world where I didn’t feel safe to accept myself, express myself, or be myself. I numbed the pain I felt through abandoning myself and forgetting how innately enough and worthy I am, we are as humans.
Since recovery, I have directly experienced the ways in which self-acceptance has completely changed the way I think, feel, and act toward myself in ALL areas of life. I want to share with you steps that will help lead you to self-acceptance and feeling at home within yourself, no matter where you are at in your journey.
Being Open to Acceptance
The first step to acceptance is being open to accepting who you are. Self-acceptance can feel scary because not only is it unknown, but also is generally associated with thoughts of:
“If I accept myself that means I have let myself go”
“If I accept myself that means I won’t reach any goals”
“If I accept myself that means I don’t care about where I am headed”
When, in reality, self-acceptance is quite the opposite! The amount of which you accept yourself is directly correlated to the amount in which you are able to change — because transformational change occurs from a place of self-compassion, love, and acceptance; not shame, hate, and guilt.
Awareness: Witness Why You Don’t Accept Yourself
After becoming open to self-acceptance you can start discovering the areas and ways in which you don’t accept yourself. If you are near paper and pencil (if not, come back later), write down the instances in which you don’t accept yourself. Allow every thought of judgment, not enough-ness, and too much-ness (yes, I made up these words) flow. Is it your body? Where you’re at in life? Your job? The relationship you don’t have… or do have? Witness all of these thoughts and get curious about the ways in which you overcompensate for these feelings. Do you turn to dieting, perfectionism, people-pleasing, putting on a mask, or staying really busy as a safety blanket to the way you are feeling?
This is a judgment-free zone. So simply acknowledge the awareness of these feelings. Accepting these thoughts as they are because awareness is the next step. These thoughts aren’t you but are stemming from judgment, which is causing separation from acceptance and love.
Acceptance: Surrendering to Acceptance
This is where awareness meets acceptance and TRULY embodying it…. And when I say accept yourself I mean ALL versions of yourself (and it’s okay if this doesn’t all happen at once). The little girl, teenager, young adult, and adult in you and everything that entails. Self-acceptance is like chipping away at a rock; just when you think you are done chipping, you discover there is more to be chipped off. It’s a process, not an end-goal.
Plot twist: There isn’t really a “right” way to do acceptance, either. It’s about being aware when you aren’t accepting yourself and what you choose to do about that. For example, if you feel as if you are not enough and reach for safety blankets of perfectionism, people pleasing, dieting, etc. in order to feel accepted, enough, and worthy — it’s about recognizing this and choosing differently. It’s about allowing acceptance to feel uncomfortable until it isn’t anymore. It’s about showing up as if you accept yourself and asking yourself what that means, what you would do — and doing those things EVEN if you feel like to don’t accept yourself until you DO. It’s about being and believing, not doing and hustling.
Alignment: Holding onto Acceptance and Ending Self-Sabotage
Alignment comes from continuing to show up as if you accept and love yourself EVEN in moments you don’t (which lessons with time). Giving yourself permission to do the things that are in true alignment with your life, AND shedding what is not in alignment.
Acceptance is the first step to alignment, and choosing to accept & align yourself leads to radical self-love, self-compassion, self-trust, and self-respect. They are ALL interconnected and you will find is that once you take the first step in surrendering the you, who you think you “should” be in order to be accepted, and start being the you, who you truly are, you will begin to accept yourself. Judgment and shame separate us from love, and recognizing our inherent worth and enoughness through self-love moves us into self-worth.
Beyond these steps
I have created a sheet filled with affirmations that will help you accept yourself in the moments when you don’t feel able to. Disclaimer: I don’t think affirmations are the only practice it takes to get to self-acceptance, as embodying acceptance even when you feel resistance is the remedy. However, affirmations can help you see and feel the truth of self-acceptance at the moment when feelings of judgment, comparison, fear, and self-doubt come!
Raegan Nicole Donchess
Hello you beautiful human!
I’m Raegan — your Soul Alignment Guide, Empowerment Coach, and soon-to-be therapist. Aside from guiding women to self-acceptance and freedom through connecting with themselves, shedding limiting beliefs, and figuring out what makes them feel empowered; I love to drink copious amounts of coffee (decaf) and tea, jam to music, read all of the books, take long walks with my dog, and take spontaneous adventures (preferably to a hiking trail or new coffee shop).
Currently, I am living in Ohio and will soon be moving to Colorado to pursue my Master’s of Social Work to become a therapist and to hike really big rocks (my heart is beating with excitement just typing that). At this time, I am offering 1:1 Empowered U Coaching and One-Time Alignment Calls to help you discover what it means to truly accept and express yourself in order to create a life of freedom.