Developing unconditional self-acceptance

by | 23 Mar 2023 | Unleashing You, Wellbeing

Understanding that unconditional self-acceptance is beneficial for our wellbeing and how we feel about ourself, is one thing, developing it is harder.

How do you currently evaluate yourself?

Sometimes we have an internal narrative that reminds us of our faults or things that have gone wrong and find ourself dwelling on these as part of who we are.  We may extrapolate a thought or incident and dwell on it, making it part of how we assess our worth and accept ourself.

Unconditional self-acceptance is not about becoming anything, it is about non-judgementally acknowledging and accepting who we are. 

We are not the labels we put on ourself.  If I fail at something, that does not make me a failure.  I am not stupid because I don’t know the answer to a question.

Unconditional self-acceptance is understanding you are separate from your actions and qualities, both good and bad.  They do not define you. (Greiger, 2013).

 However, knowing this and being able to practice it are different things!


 “It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine”

Byron Katie

Developing greater self-acceptance

What self-acceptance looks and feels like will be different for each of us.   How do we know when we have reached it and what does the optimal level look like for wellbeing?


  • A teenager with low self-esteem who actively ignores facing his self-doubt might experience self-acceptance through acknowledging and confronting his negative beliefs and realizing that not everything he thinks is true.
  • An employee who struggles to meet the goals set by a demanding boss may accept themself by accepting that sometimes we will fail to deliver, but that they can still be a good person even when we fail.
  • Someone going through a relationship breakdown who feels like a failure because of it, might experience self-acceptance as acknowledging that they made some mistakes and that the relationship failed, but that does not make them a failure.

Notice your thoughts

Techniques to work towards unconditional self-acceptance start with noticing our thoughts.  We are then able to challenge them, and reframe them.

We need to take a non-judgmental approach towards ourself, whatever strengths and weaknesses we may have at that time.

When we practice unconditional self-acceptance, it enables growth from the perspective of recognising our worth and feeling able to be our authentic self. Then we can grow. Growth from a place of care and support, rather than low self-worth and self-judgment, is a much nicer process.

It means we can look in the mirror and accept all elements of ourself.

Doing things differently:

  • Notice your thoughts and if they are critical or negative challenge them.
  • Separate the thoughts from the facts. Recognise the facts as separate to who you are, and decide what action to take.
  • Reframe the thoughts to a positive perspective that acknowledge the mistake but separate the mistake from your sense of worth.


As an example, I forgot a friends birthday. Yes, factually I forgot their birthday.  As an action I can decide to contact them now, acknowledging I missed it and apologise. Alongside that I can remind myself I had a lot going on, everyone forgets things sometimes but that does not make me a useless friend or reduce my value as a person.


Look at the other blogs in this series Unconditional self-acceptance, and Unconditional self-acceptance – why is it challenging.  You may also be interested in the blogs about Self-compassion and Limiting beliefs.

Accepting Ourself is one of the modules in Unleashing You, the ILM approved programme for personal growth, increased performance, enhanced wellbeing, and overall feelings of positivity.

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