Day 35 - Self-Acceptance
Robin Boudette, Ph.D.
Robin is a psychologist in Counseling and Psychological Services at Princeton University, and has worked 14 years with students. She is the former Director of the University Medical Center at Princeton Eating Disorders Program, and founder of the Mind-Body Health Services Team.
One of the best predictors of mental fitness and resilience is the capacity to treat ourselves with compassion, and accept ourselves for who we are, warts and all. This means understanding ourselves in a realistic way - knowing our own strengths, weaknesses, talents and shortcomings - and feeling satisfied with our choices.
Feelings of self-acceptance are correlated with a heightened sense of freedom, independence, self-esteem, and confidence. Practicing mindfulness helps us let go of the need to change anything other than where to focus our attention, and the attitudes we adopt. This is often the most useful way to make positive change.
The mindfulness principal of non-striving is a form of acceptance. Instead of trying to change an unpleasant emotion, simply noticing it, feeling it, and regarding the sensation with dispassion will allow it to come and go. When we are practicing mindfulness, the exercise is to accept ourselves as we are, and observe what rises in the moment without judgement.