Anti bullying campaigns are common, yet I know that I personally tend to be my biggest bully. Where are the self love campaigns? Or if love is too intense of a word, the self acceptance campaigns? I recently spoke with 10 girls and 5 boys at my high school, and they had incredible answers to questions regarding the importance of self acceptance.
When asked how they would describe self acceptance, the vast majority of students made note of acknowledging both the positive and negative attributes. They noted the importance of rejoicing in the victories and learning from defeat with an open mind and heart, allowing for growth. The students also continued to explain how self acceptance is when you fully allow yourself to be proud of being you. It is when you are unashamed, and you no longer have a yearning for the approval of others.
At times, self acceptance can be misconstrued as “selfish" or “conceited" by the media, when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. True self acceptance is accomplished when you reach a point where being the best and most authentic version of yourself brings out the best in others around you. When you are real with the people you are with, those individuals tend to reciprocate your sentiments, causing the entire dynamic of the group to drastically shift for the better. One student stated that “the world is like a mirror because, when your thoughts and reality are positive and you have self acceptance, the world is more likely to not only put that to the test where you can improve your skills, but also it will mirror your actions of self improvement and acceptance."
The students were then asked why every person should accept themselves. Their answers described how every individual is unique, bright, and has a skillset of their own that makes them incredibly valued on this planet. It’s okay to be angry, sad, confused, or have “bad" emotions. All emotions are simply there, and all mistakes are simply made. We’re all only human. Just remember that with the bad, there is also incredible greatness, and knowing that making peace with both the good and bad is ultimately how you can grow to accept yourself. Also, as a student summarized, “once you accept yourself, everything seems much simpler, because rather than blocking the abundance in your life, you’re allowing yourself to radiate positivity, joy, and all of the other incredibly unique gifts you have to share."
At the end of the day, when you’re by yourself, take a moment to reflect on the reasons why you should accept yourself, because when it comes down to it, you can talk the walk and say how it’s so great to love yourself. However, it only positively affects yourself and others if you truly take this message to heart. These words alone may not spark your realization of the need for self acceptance in your life, but there is nothing in the outside world that can truly spark a love for yourself greater than what you already have within.