Learning how to accept yourself is THE actual key to recovery from social anxiety, my Butterfly.
It really is.
In fact, I can’t emphasise enough how important it is that you learn at least what self-acceptance is.
Self-acceptance is the number 1 key.
So that even if you’re not ready to put it into practice yet, you at least can contemplate it as a necessary step in your anxiety recovery journey.
And it seems like there is so much out there about self-love and body image and being relentlessly positive no matter how much you just want to feel negative.
So I just wanted to explain what self-acceptance ISN’T:
Acceptance is not self-love. I’m not asking you to go that far.
It isn’t looking into the mirror and reciting positive affirmations that feel like lies.
Self-love would be the final milestone.
But there are several steps you need to take before you get there.
If you’re currently feeling negative about yourself, asking you to flip a switch and suddenly reverse your direction is way too much of an ask.
Your brain will call “bullshit” and you will reject the process.
It won’t stick. No matter how much effort you put into your affirmations.
(Don’t get me wrong: Affirmations definitely have their place – and they are also a vital piece of the healing puzzle.
But if you haven’t accepted yourself yet, you are nowhere near ready to accept positive statements about yourself.
You need to accept yourself first.)
Here’s what self-acceptance is, in a nutshell:
It’s seeing yourself, exactly as you are, and dropping all resistance about it.
You can still hold your harsh judgments about yourself – just relax about them.
Allow them to be there.
Stop fighting the negative feelings and just make some room around them.
So – every single tense sensation you’re having: drop it.
Loosen your jaw.
Drop your shoulders.
Relax your arms.
Let your belly hang out.
Unclench your buttocks.
Unlock your knees.
Anywhere in your body that you feel you have tension: Release.
And every time you feel triggered in the self-disapproval department, remember that this process of physical acceptance is a step towards ideally loving yourself.
One step at a time.
If you let your body set the pace – your mind will follow.
So: Stop forcing yourself to do and say positive stuff that feels like lies.
If you’re in a self-refusal mindset, there’s no scorched earth self-love policy that will miraculously transform you.
Learning how to accept yourself is the step in-between.
And it is a vital step.
Love + light
PS – Yesterday’s blog post was about How to calm nerves in 3 easy ways