Do not confuse self-acceptance with the more common term known as self-esteem. Low or high, self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves and our accomplishments. Self-acceptance, on the other hand, is our ability to accept negative things about ourselves. Accepting who you are is a vital step towards finding yourself, because you cannot fully know yourself until you recognize aspects about yourself that you don’t like. Denying these characteristics their rightful place in your psyche means that improving upon them or shedding them is impossible.

Since childhood, we have been told how people view us. Parents may have let you know that you were capable of this, but not of that. Romantic attractions may not have been reciprocated. Grades throughout school may have made you feel that you weren’t smart.

We all have negative characteristics that are easily overshadowed when we place a heavier emphasis on the positive. When we identify both the negative and the positive characteristics and see them simply as parts of ourselves, we can strengthen the positive characteristics by applying them towards goals, and work on weakening the negative by avoiding environments where they’re most likely to come to the surface.

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