Mehak JainManagement Student, Psychology Researcher
In this world, where we love to romanticize everything, how much do we actually idealize ourselves? How much do we love ourselves? How many times in a month do we introspect? How many times do we enjoy our own company and become excited to spend some time with ourselves? Maybe not as many times as is required.
Self-acceptance is being happy and satisfied the way we are, irrespective of other’s opinions. Enjoy being in our own skin and loving it the way it is. However, what we instead do is hunt for our happiness in the outside world. We try to become someone new, completely different from our true selves, in order to be accepted by society.
It is understandable that we, humans, are social animals and social interactions make us happy. But does this mean that we need external approval or validation from others to feel good about ourselves? We take social rejection equivalent to personal failures and do whatever there is in our power to be accepted by others. But have we ever wondered as to who decided the lines of acceptance or rejection? Probably, it comes from people like us who have centered our mindset towards materialistic success. It is us who have restricted our thinking within certain boundaries that do not even exist.
On the basis of the brands we wear, the job position we hold, or the car we drive, we decide someone else’s ‘cool’. Basically, anything that will work in the favor of making us look more powerful and honored.
Is it anything else than a power play and are we supposed to always live in the fear of being rejected one day, even if we are being accepted today?
So how do we become ‘desirable’ as per the societal norms? Well, we do not lag choices here. We instead have a plethora of options available. We usually start by imitating the ‘desirable ones’. We find ourselves submerged into the pools of beauty magazines, blogs, articles on attractive fitness regimes, and fad diets, which we start glorifying gradually.
Soon even without realizing we start imitating them in all aspects of our lives, be it the dresses we wear, the food we eat, or the bags we carry. And in this process, we completely forget who we truly are. This has become the new pivot. We want to stay updated and look our best at all times, assuming that this will help us to become more ‘likable’. It might not be a bad thing.
But one, making it an imitation game rather than doing it as something that makes you happy and two, taking it as a pressure to look beautiful in the eyes of the society is completely unjustified and self-deprecating.
This reminds us that we are forgetting what beauty actually means. It is actually proven by research that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder that beholder must be “you” for yourself. It is important to feel beautiful rather than look beautiful especially when ‘looking’ beautiful changes meanings with geographical locations and the cultures we follow.
For example, in Europe, beauty is defined as thin legs, thin waists, and lean figures whereas in some African countries being plump is regarded as a sign of beauty. This is just to provide an example of how we can never define how one can ‘look’ beautiful as it varies not only from person to person but also from regions to regions and the beliefs held by the people living there.
Therefore instead of concentrating on how we can look beautiful, we must focus on how we can feel beautiful.
All that one should care about is how one sees oneself. And accepting the way we are. Now, this does not imply that there is no need to improve and stay as you are but not for external validation or external acceptance. But for ourselves. If we will accept ourselves with open arms we won’t have to worry about who accepts us and who does not. And once we start to know who we really are, we will undoubtedly attract similar kinds of people and energy around us thus eliminating the need to feel loved or accepted.
Start by learning to be grateful for the things you already have, be it internal or external. We have become so habitual to rant about things that we have forgotten to appreciate and admire the beauty of life. The mere fact that we are alive is so fascinating, especially today. And we know we attract ‘who we are’ and not ‘what we want’ so here we are standing at this point to introspect and change our perspective towards life.
Maintain a gratitude journal and before sleeping at night, record at least five things that might have happened in the entire day that made you feel blessed and joyful. That can be as small as helping a complete stranger or spending time with your family or talking to a friend after a long time, anything. This practice will help you to focus on the happy moments that happened in your day and you’ll realize how you have shifted your focus from the negative thoughts to the positive ones and how you have started appreciating the beauty of your life. You’ll also realize that there are a lot of things to feel good about which we choose to ignore in the process of giving undue importance to the negative things or emotions. This could be the first step to become grateful for what you have. So before signing off for the day, give yourself a tight hug and write down five things that made you feel gratified!
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