Self-acceptance: How perfect do you have to be?


Have you noticed that some people who seem to “have-it-all” struggle with self-acceptance? No matter how perfect they look or how perfectly they perform, they still aren’t satisfied. I remember when Sally Field said with astonishment, as she accepted her Academy Award, for “Places in the Heart, “You like me.” Take a look. Amazing, isn’t it, from a woman who has just won her second Academy Award?

Sally Field is not alone. Many people struggle with self-acceptance. They are continuously comparing themselves wit others and seeing themselves as lacking. They may believe that they are not as pretty/handsome as others; or not as smart as their co-worker; or as charming as their best friend.


Self-deprecation is part of their everyday conversation. We hear the litany on a daily basis:

  • I’m too fat/I’m too thin
  • I’m to old/I’m too young.
  • I’m not smart enough.
  • I’m too shy.
  • I’m not as good as ______________.
  • Etc.

Add it all up and it comes out to: “I’m not good enough.”

We fall very short of perfect. All of us do.

And the question is, “What does perfection look like? Where do we find that standard to follow? Who made those rules, anyway? IF you were perfect, would you be happy?  Can you be happy if you are imperfect?

Let’s get real.

Most of us are self-critical primarily because of our appearance but is your appearance who you are?

Who are you anyway?

Think about it.


How aware are you of your own strengths, talents, and abilities? It’s o.k. to say, I’m really great at math or I have a talent for singing or art or drama.Does it embarrass you to say “I’m really good at _____________?”

What’s really important, anyway?

What about kindness? Isn’t that more important than what you see in the mirror? What about other things like honesty, gratitude and perseverance? What about other characteristics. Think about these  7 character traits you need to succeed: 

  • Grit
  • Curiosity
  • Self-control
  • Social intelligence
  • Zest
  • Optimism
  • Gratitude

I know women whose day is ruined if they have a bad hair day or discover a wrinkle. I know men who can’t enjoy today because the guy next door has a bigger, shinier car or a new boat or whatever. They want more and more to fill up the “hole” that is present within them that stems from a  lack of self-acceptance.

Robert Holden in his book, Happiness Now states:

Living in the fast lane, we constantly overlook and fail to appreciate what we already have as we chase after “more”; we sacrifice what is possible now for what we hope “may come” next; and we throw away all that is available to us “here” as we sprint over to “there.” And yet, without Self-acceptance, the happiness of “more,” “next,” and “there” fades just l ike a mirage fades before a thirsty traveler lost in the desert.

Holden talks about “oughtism” and “musterbation” which I find not only a great play on words but also filled with wisdom. The “ought tos” and the “I musts” rob us of self-acceptance and, therefore, of happiness. They keep us living in the past and dreading the future rather than living in the “now” where happiness resides.


Happiness is a choice. You make the decision to be happy now. Self-acceptance is also a choice and sometimes it isn’t an easy choice to make. It means you have to end your pity party, send your enabling guests home, put your cross down, look in the mirror (maybe naked) and ask “What’s not to love?” And, seeing yourself through the eyes of love, accept who you are right now, love handles, bad hair day, and all.

Oh, you can still work on your temper, your weight problem, your challenges but you will find it will be much easier from a new happy, self-accepting perspective than it’s ever been before.

So choose happiness now.

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