The ACT Approach to Self-Acceptance

In Psychology Today, Dr. Barbara Markway shares Three surprising, simple ways to increase self-acceptance.

According to Dr. Hayes, the key skill in self-acceptance involves being able to shift perspectives. We have to move our focus from a judgmental stance, to a more neutral, observing stance.

Our brains evolved with the primary goal of keeping us safe. In prehistoric times, this meant keeping with the pack. Veering off by ourselves was certain death – we’d be eaten by some scary, ferocious animal. So we naturally tried to fit in, and this meant comparing ourselves to others, and adapting our behavior to accordingly.

Our brains also developed to have the capacity to critically analyze situations, which is great. We need that. But critical/comparison mind isn’t appropriate when it comes to things like self-acceptance.

Lean into the painful feelings, and see what they’re trying to tell you. Do this slowly, gently, and back off when you’re overwhelmed.

Actually, from the ACT perspective, self-acceptance isn’t even a necessary requirement for a meaingful life. ACT practitioners would ask, “What if you gave up judging yourself altogether?”

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