Too many people are unhappy with their appearance, their abilities or their intelligence. They have measured themselves and found that they are lacking; that somehow they are not good enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, or attractive enough.

Far too many people look for acceptance outside of themselves. They are trying to please others, trying to fit in or trying to find acceptance in the opinions of others. Many are afraid to just be themselves, for fear that others will reject them. They wear a mask in public and shift their behavior to match those they are with at the time. They give up or lose who they are in order to feel accepted.

Self-rejection may lead to oversensitivity to rejection from others. It may result in looking to others to make up for your deficits and relying on others to make you feel desirable, smart or acceptable. This leads to disappointment after disappointment since others can never convince us that we are enough when we believe that we are not.

It is vital to learn to accept yourself. When you accept and love yourself, you will be much more accepting and loving of others. Accepting yourself does not mean complacency, it does not mean that there is not room for improvement. On the contrary, self-acceptance is the beginning of growth and self-improvement.

Try the following and strengthen your self-acceptance:

1. Get to know yourself. Hone your self-awareness. When do you feel the happiest and most content? What are you doing at those times? When do you feel down? Again what are you doing at those times? You cannot accept what you do not know, so get to know yourself.

2. Accept that it is okay to make mistakes. There is no failure only feedback. Trying to be perfect is not only impossible, it will make you miserable as well. It is not the fact that you make mistakes, it is how you deal with your mistakes that is important. Get up, dust yourself off and keep going.

3. Live today, today. Spend less time worrying about the future or regretting the past. Focus on being in the moment. Forgive yourself for the past and move confidently toward the future by doing your best in each moment today.

4. You are unique and amazing. Do not try to be anybody but you. Be careful not to compare yourself to others. We tend to compare ourselves at our worst to others at their best or the other way around. Neither is helpful.

5. Find a purpose and a passion. Be realistic in your goals and keep moving toward a better you and a better tomorrow.

6. Focus on your positive attributes rather than focusing on what you are lacking. Let your inner beauty shine through. Remember you do not have to fit into a certain mold in order to be beautiful. Accept that you are wonderful just as you are.

7. Stay positive. Keep your thought on a higher plane. Do your best to not think critically of anyone, including yourself. Search for the silver lining in all situations.

Happiness, confidence and enthusiasm for life are some of the side effects of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance makes us far less reactive to those around us. We become much more able to love and accept others as they are, since we are no longer feel threatened by the opinions and judgments of others. Invest the time it takes to learn to accept yourself, the only thing you have to gain is peace of mind.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Derry, B.Ed., M.S.Psy., R.P.C.
Professional Counselor & Life Coach
Co-author of Marriage Prep: Beginnings a downloadable marriage preparation course
Co-author of Intimate Sex: Manual for Lovemaking, a sex manual for couples
Offers a free Nurturing Marriage Ezine