Paying it Forward: How Acceptance of the Self Teaches Us to Accept Others

We all know some people who have a hard time making sense of the world around them. Many times, these individuals are struggling internally to find themselves, and understanding others seems to be even more difficult to achieve. Add to that the fact that modern society is chaotic, noisy, commercialized and rich with shiny distractions, and it can feel as if you don’t really know anybody that well at all. Who are we, beneath the mask, this afraid-to-offend exterior?

Today, let’s explore the importance of accepting ourselves before being able to come to terms with the rest of the world. They recommend to treat others the way you want to be treated, but how do you treat yourself if you’re fighting an internal battle?

“Being Realistic” and Being Realistic

There’s a common misconception going around that we need to “be realistic” in getting others to accept aspects of life that are alien to them. The actual reality is that the only thing holding us back is our own selves. Look inward and try to identify stress, anger or frustration triggers. Then, compare them against aspects of your life that deliver positive effects. If you’re unable to see many positive things about your own self, look deeper and try to identify why. To simplify, “being realistic” means understanding the self. Only then can you accept yourself and others by extension.

Be Careful About the Company You Keep

This is an old expression, and it applies very much to modern society. There are so many conflicts of interest in conjunction with a general tendency for self-obsessive mindsets that it’s easy to “cling” to the ideals of others. For instance, if you surround yourself with toxic people at the office, you may turn toxic yourself even if you don’t want to – it’s just the way our minds collect information and react to the world around us. It can sometimes bring about negative, problematic beliefs, steering you on a less-than-ideal path. Therefore, be careful of the company you keep. Even family. Every toxic person you stay close to increases your chances of becoming collateral damage.
After all, you can’t change others, but you can change your self.

Wash Away the Negativity Bias

Are you getting mad at yourself frequently, easily stressing out or self-isolating because you dread the outside world’s judgement? For a healthy, happy life, it’s important to love yourself while accepting that the rest of the world doesn’t need to love you in return. Examine your thought process and try to figure out whether you recognize the negativity bias, which can lead to self-hatered over time. If so, you won’t be able to respect others from an unbiased perspective. Being self-satisfied and positive while cleansing any bias away can lead to a more engaging, fascinating everyday life with improved optimism. Folks you interact with will feel that you are genuine and open-minded without pressure, which will more likely lead them to embrace what makes you unique in return.

Stop Judging and Start Living!

Sometimes we don’t notice how the corner we put ourselves into can control our reactivity. For instance, folks who grew up and developed beliefs under the guidance of stricter religions may have a harder time accepting deviations from the “norm” such as same-sex relationships or eating pork. We could go into all sorts of details and examples, but the point is that nobody is “evil” – we’ve all just experienced life in a different way and have our own perceptions, and that can be a beautiful thing. It can also be a burden, even if we mean well.

Learn to go with the flow of life or, better yet, make your own waves. Develop a deeper understanding of what the lives of others entail, learning their triumphs and struggles, what makes them happy and sad, and see if you can develop connections. It’s a great way to meet new people and form lasting bonds. All in all, breaking out of the grey comfort bubble and embracing new things can be hugely stimulating, exciting, and serve as a source of inspiration. You don’t need to abandon your ideals or preferences at all – in fact, by teaching yourself to confront fears with kindness and curiosity, you’ll become a more wholesome and happier person. There’s nothing to fear except fear itself!

Learning to accept who we are – our quirks, sexualities, bad hobbies and guilty pleasures – goes a long way in being self-satisfied and capable of looking at the outside world without bias. This can lead to learning to accept and respect others around us… too many throughout history have tried and failed in such endeavours from a lack of self-respect, even if unintentional.
Make your struggles history as well by reaching out to an experienced, friendly and open-minded therapist. We’re happy to get to know you – and help you get to know yourself. Contact us today to set up an appointment with a therapist in Ottawa!