"What I am is how I came out. No one's perfect and you just have to accept your flaws and learn to love yourself."
-Kelly Brook

I'm going to be honest with you.

I didn't always love and accept myself.

In fact, even to this day there are still times when I don't love and accept myself. My self-esteem and confidence will quickly drop whenever this happens. And that's okay. I already forgive myself for it.

Self-Acceptance

For a very long time I did not love and accept myself. My lack of self-acceptance, probably like most people's, came directly from my own self-judgment. As my life coach says, "we are our own worst critics". And if I am constantly criticizing myself, then I cannot love myself.

I believe that I can only love myself when I am not judging myself. For example, if I hate the way that my nose looks, and I'm thinking about how much I hate it, how can I be loving myself?

To love myself I must first accept myself.

Meditating for Self-Acceptance

My journey of self-love really began once I started to meditate. I always knew that I was judgmental of other people, so I had made an effort to be less judgmental towards others. But it wasn't effective.

Moreover, I had no real awareness of how much I was judging myself. I was feeling inadequate and unworthy from the self-judgment I was subconsciously doing.

It wasn't until I began to meditate regularly that I could really hear my inner-critic. It would tell me that I'm not good enough, that I hated particular things about myself, that I'm ugly, weird, and all kinds of crazy things.

While meditating, I could hear these self-judgments come up, and just be aware of them, and then let them go. This is the real key. To just hear the judgment, be aware of it, and let it go. And then it would leave me in peace.

I learned everything from Eckhart Tolle.

And my self-awareness was growing. I couldn't stop the judgmental thoughts from coming up, but I could be aware of them and let them go. Just by being present and being aware of my inner-critic, I created a space and separation between the real "me", and my "monkey mind" of random and chaotic thoughts. I was able to be fully present and reside in my "true self", the self that is pure consciousness and pure awareness.

Before long, the critical thoughts would stop coming up, and then I'd be in peace, and in a place where I could accept myself. Once my inner-critic began to subside, all that remained was a feeling of peace and acceptance. This self-acceptance became the space in which I would begin to love myself.

Loving Your Imperfections

As my life coach reminds me, I'm not perfect, and having the expectation that I should be perfect is just plain crazy. Is it possible to live up to a standard like perfection? As I began to accept my imperfections, my flaws, and my mistakes, I began to love myself. Since these imperfections will never go away, the most empowering thing I can do is to just accept them.

Isn't it funny how we can be so much harder on ourselves and meaner than we are to anyone else we know? My inner-critic might say to me, "You're so stupid!" or "What's wrong with me?" I hardly ever say that to anyone else. Yet I might hear my inner-critic say that to me regularly.

My life coach also advised me to write in my journal. I gained clarity on what I still wasn't accepting about myself. One day I wrote down a long list of all of the things that I didn't like about myself. And then one at a time, as my life coach told me to do, I went through the list and forgave myself for each one. I asked myself some questions, like how believing that judgment makes me feel about myself, and what I would feel like if I didn't believe that thought. I asked myself if I could accept this "flaw" and if I could let it go.

I would even see if I could love these imperfections about myself.

I did this journal exercise several times. And before long, my confidence and self-esteem grew. I wasn't bringing myself down the way I used to. I began to start loving myself. Because without this self-hate, all that's left is self-acceptance. And love.

Steps to Love and Accept Yourself

-start listening to your inner-critic and what it's saying
-take 5 minutes to meditate and listen to your inner-critic every day
-start a journal and:
-make a list of all the things you don't like about yourself
-go through this list and see if you can accept each "flaw"
-every day, make a list of 10 things you love about yourself

What do you do to accept and love yourself?

Author's Bio: 

Tom Casano is the founder of Life Coach Spotter. At Life Coach Spotter you can learn all about life coaching, what it is, and how to find your life coach. Find out how having a life coach can radically transform your life in just a few months.