The process of recovery is extremely demanding. It asks of you to be honest, raw, vulnerable and open. It will ask you to try things that may make you uncomfortable. It may ask you to do something that goes against what you are programmed or conditioned to do. It might ask you to leave your comfort zone and embrace the unknown.
Recovery will also give you your life back. It will restore your sense of self. You will find yourself in ways you never imagined. You will discover things you never you enjoyed. You will also realize just how strong and resilient you are.
Recovery is very person-centered. Each individual has their own histories, experiences and perspective. That being said, something that does come up in therapy with my clients is the question: “How do I know that I am truly getting better?” One of the most profound ways to determine this relates to self acceptance.
Self-acceptance is defined as:
the awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses,
the realistic appraisal of one's talents, capabilities, and general worth, and,
feelings of satisfaction with one's self despite deficiencies and regardless of past behaviors and choices.
Research has also investigated self-acceptance and its impact on one's experience of the world. “According to Shepard (1978), self-acceptance is an individual's satisfaction or happiness with oneself, and is thought to be necessary for good mental health. Self-acceptance involves self-understanding, a realistic, albeit subjective, awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses. It results in an individual's feeling about oneself, that they are of "unique worth".”
When we are able to accept who we are in the place that we are holding, without judgement, punishment, or shame, we are truly healing.
Some benefits of self-acceptance include mood regulation, an increase in positive emotions, sense of freedom, self-worth, independence, autonomy, self-esteem, and self-kindness.
Self-acceptance also showed a decrease in depressive symptoms, a fear of failure, less desire to win the approval of others, and less self-critique. It also increased the ability to take more risks without worrying about the consequences.
How do you practice self-acceptance?