How to Practice Self-Acceptance

We all like to believe that we can change our beliefs and behavior. And while it is possible, it is not easy. It takes enormous discipline to truly change yourself and your habits. For example, if you follow my blog, you know I’ve recently started a degree program in Happiness. By nature, I’m a glass-half-full gal, and I’d like to think I spread joy throughout my daily life. However, a friend recently brought to my attention how negative I can be about MYSELF! That’s right, I am positive and made a career out of being supportive of others, but sometimes I get judgy when assessing myself.

Does this sound familiar? Before I can spread happiness and joy to others — I have to fully accept myself as I am: perfectly imperfect.

As a result of my happiness class, I have three exercises I do daily:

First, I acknowledge myself for doing something good — maybe I helped a friend get through a tough time, I did a great job on a speech, or perhaps I just bit my tongue instead of responding in a smart-ass way to something my husband said (probably the latter!).

Next, I say out loud something that I am grateful for. These days, it usually has something to do with being healthy; perhaps I’m grateful that I made working out a priority this week, or I can feel my flexibility has improved.

Lastly, I meditate. I started with 5 minutes with the intention of increasing incrementally, and now I’m up to 10 minutes. It truly gets easier with practice. I use the time to clear my mind of negative thoughts about anything and everything, including myself. Previously, I would ruminate on situations, or conversations, wishing they had gone differently and thinking about what I should have said. Now my attitude is that it is in the past, and I’m living in the present. I clear my mind and focus on one thing I can control: my breathing. I breathe slowly and deeply. Even though I’m sitting in a chair, my body feels like it is floating. I am so relaxed. After 10 minutes, I open my eyes, and I’ve had an attitude adjustment about everything, including myself.

Now…I am ready to spread joy.

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Kim Martin

Kim Martin


A thought leader in the areas of executive leadership, change management, and women in the C-suite.