Do you struggle with self-acceptance? Join me this week as I talk about acceptance and the 12 steps I took to help myself overcome my self-hatred. Hope you enjoy!
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Intro: You’re listening to Transcaster Radio, a podcast about trans life and all that goes along with it. You can listen to the show anywhere you enjoy podcasts, ad we’d love for you to subscribe, rate, and give a review. It helps us reach more people and we greatly appreciate it. Now here’s your host, Kayden Taylor!
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Kayden: Hey Transcasters! Welcome to this week’s episode of Transcaster Radio, I am your host, Kayden Taylor!
This week, we are going to talk about acceptance and how important it is in everybody’s life.
Have you ever thought, hmmm, do I truly accept myself? Do other people accept me for who I am? What does it mean to accept yourself?
Acceptance is defined as the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable. Yes, that is the actual definition.
Self-acceptance is not easy to achieve. Someone who has developed self-acceptance sees their unique worth and has a merciful attitude towards themselves. Self-acceptance and self-esteem are essentially the same.
As children, we accept ourselves only to the degree that we are accepted by our parents. Is it the same way as adults? Do we only accept ourselves to the degree that other people accept us? Positive regard we received from our parents may have depended almost totally on how we acted. Unfortunately, we learned that many of our behaviors, ones acceptable to them, identifying ourselves with these objectionable behaviors, we inevitably came to see ourselves in many ways inadequate.
Your parents, like my parents, might have transmitted messages like we are selfish, not attractive enough, not smart enough, not good or nice enough, and so on. Due to this, mental health providers believe that we only see ourselves as conditionally accepted. The ramifications from this is that as a person, we regard many aspects of ourselves as negative.
We internalize feelings of rejection that we received from our overcritical parents. Due to human psyche and how it operates, it’s almost impossible not to treat ourselves the way our parents did. How do you accept yourself, if you have never had acceptance from the people most critical in your life at such a young age?
Our parents are not the only people in our lives when we were children that affected our self-esteem and self-acceptance. You must consider everyone, your teachers, siblings, if you have any, peers, grandparents, etc.
At any rate, it is safe to assume that almost all of us enter adulthood with a negative bias towards ourselves. We share a common habit of blaming ourselves, or to see ourselves as defective. In some ways, its like we all share the same virus of self-doubt.
So, when I was facing this issue, I asked myself, how do I become more self-accepting? This is when it all began for me. I learned that I needed to propagate self-compassion, I need to let go of all my guilt. Most of all, I had to learn to forgive myself.
Accepting ourselves unconditionally, would have been automatic, had our parents and the people around us relayed that message about us as a child. Unfortunately, my parents and people around me did the opposite.
So, acceptance towards myself was not something as I became an adult, already there. Of course, I’m not saying that parents need to coddle their children and not discipline them, but the environment overall should be positive. Since some of us grew up in a less than positive environment, it is up to us to validate ourselves and basically say to ourselves, we are okay.
For me, I think I became complacent and having self-pity for my lack of self-acceptance. We cannot be complacent in our ways, but instead, overcome our own judgmental habits of ourselves. For me, I wanted to be in a normal state of non-judgment towards myself, have personal fulfillment, and peace of mind.
To get to this place, I realized I need to be up to the challenge of combating those thoughts. From the beginning, I felt obligated to demonstrate my worth to others. My approval seeking behavior stemmed from my parents conditioning towards me. Have you, or do you feel this way?
This is a huge undertaking of exploration of yourself, but important to have self-acceptance. In a sense, we all have love scars from the past, from our childhood, and even from our young adulthood. To become more self-accepting, we must tell ourselves that we have done the best we could, even with the past negative conditioning we have gone through.
The first thing I did was figure out the things I felt guilty towards. By defining the things I felt guilty about, I could work through them. I also asked myself, what is it about myself that I did not understand? This was a huge factor when I came out as trans. I had to define my transphobic behavior towards myself and realize that I was not accepting of who I was.
I was able to bring compassion and understanding, not just to this one item, I felt guilty about, but to all the things I felt guilty about. By ding this, I was able to eradicate exaggerated feelings of guilt and shame on standards that simply did not mirror what could realistically be expected of me at that time. When I was going through my own journey of self-acceptance, I found twelve ways to cultivate self-acceptance.
Step one is to set an intention. This is where self-acceptance begins. We all do things with intentions. Therefore, it is not a surprise that self-acceptance starts with intention. It is vital that we set intentions for ourselves. Now we are willing to shift our mindsets of blame, doubt, and shame, and allow ourselves tolerance, acceptance, and trust. This was hard for me. Simply setting the idea of intention to change. My mindset was difficult. Not that I am very old, but they do say you cannot teach old dogs’ new tricks.
I think this goes for anyone regardless of your age because we all get to a point in our lives that it is hard for us to change our habits. As children, we change like the wind changes. But, as you grow up, you begin to like things a certain way and do the things the way you like them to be done.
By setting the intention to change your mindset, it acknowledges the fact that self-loathing does not lead to a satisfying life. Instead, it leads to a life full of mistrust and self-hatred.
Second step was to identify and celebrate my strengths. I first had to stop, and list out my strengths, which you would think would be easy. I turned to people that knew me the best to help me identify my strengths. Sometimes people see things about you that you will never be able to see in yourself. We are all better at finding our shortcomings than our strengths.
After I asked myself and the people closest to me, I started writing down my strengths. I started listing at least one strength each day, until I could no longer think of a strength. I also made a list of hardships. Hardships I have overcome because they also helped me identify the strengths and by seeing the strength within my hardships.
Third step is what I needed when I was younger. Was considering the people I surrounded myself with were they good for me? When I started to ask myself these questions, did they speak negatively to me? Does anyone reinforce my negative self-talk? Why do I allow myself to be around people who hurt me? Were they doing my own dirty work because I was not willing to choose a different reality? After asking myself these questions, I was able to start realizing the people that were not good for me in my life, and I quickly started to remove them.
Fourth step, after removing the toxic people in my life, I started to create a support system. I started to surround myself with people who accepted me and my life that I believed in me and my goals. A support system does not mean you have to have dozens of people behind you. In the beginning, I only had one that was going to stand by me no matter what came my way. Of course, as I remove toxic people from my life, I brought non-toxic people into my life. So, my support system grew. To this day, I still do not have a huge support system, but the most important thing to me is the people who are part of the system. They are loyal and respectful to me.
The fifth step was to forgive myself. Past regrets can prevent us from participating in self-acceptance. It can prevent us from participating in everyday tasks. I learned that I had to forgive myself and move on, which was difficult to say the least.
A psychiatrist once said to me, whether it is about something you have done, or personality quirk that result in a social faux pas. It is important to learn from your mistakes, make efforts to grown, and accept that you cannot change the past. When they told me this, it did not mean much to me at the time. But when I was going through this process of self-acceptance is when I reflected back on what they said and how important it was to me in that moment.
I learned that at the time the decision was made. It was made with the best information I had, that the decision or before behavior might have not been correct in hindsight, but it was the best choice at that time. Have you or are you your worse internal critic? I am.
This was the sixth step I had to look into. I had to learn to quiet that part of me. I had used it as my voice of reason for so long, that I thought of it as the truth. I started telling myself, you can do this, that I am only human. I am doing my best, and I make mistakes just like everyone else does. One thing I struggle with, is the fact that I have not fulfilled or may never fulfill all of my dreams.
Step seven for me was my dreams. No, I do not mean dreams you have when you are asleep! I am talking about dreams, when your child dreams of becoming a doctor, a scientist, an astronaut, etc. I had to reconcile those idealized dreams I had as a child, and not compare them to the reality of my life today. That does not mean I do not, and you do not have dreams, because we all certainly do. But I had to get past the ones that had not come to fruition for me. Something I did not think of through this journey, was the act of giving back.
This was my eighth step. They say, my generation, the millennials, want and need jobs that means something to them, and is giving back to their community. This might not be true for this whole generation, but it has been true for me. The need and desire to give back is exactly what I did. I went looking for a different job that would offer me this, and after a while, I found one. I also found volunteer opportunities to give back to the community, especially in the LGBTQ and trans community, that I am so passionate about. It is the main reason I started Transcaster Radio, giving back to people are vital to my own self-acceptance and own well-being. It might not be for you, but you need to find those things that are important to you.
My childhood was tumultuous, to say the least. It was a whirlwind of negativity, non-acceptance, and emotional torment.
The ninth step is still something I am working on. How I will get to the point where I can check it off the list as complete, but I am not quite there yet. Realizing that acceptance was not resignation was important. Acceptance is also letting go of the past and things we cannot control.
As a child, I had no control over my life, the adults did. But despite this, I hold on to it. I am trying to focus my energy on what I can control, which is empowering. Do you struggle with this? I think a lot of us do, and it takes hard work and determination to get through it. Through therapy is where I learned my next step.
The tenth step in my process, my therapist wanted me to learn to speak to my highest self. I remember asking he what the hell she meant by this. She explained that speaking to your highest self is demonstrating empathy, compassion, and love towards yourself. She had me do an exercise when I had to visualize my highest and best self that lies deep within me. I had to imagine that highest self, stepping outside of myself and my current situation. Then I had to ask myself, what do I want to advise myself to do? I thought this was silly at first, but I took my time, and did the task she asked me to do. It ended up being eye-opening and self-healing. Try it out and let me know what you think. Did it help you?
For my eleventh step, I asked myself, are you unkind? Are you kind to yourself? I know it seems like a silly question to ask, but there is something I was not very good at. I still struggle being kind to myself today. When I was kind to myself or thought about myself, I felt like I was being selfish, or was undeserving of it. But, the key to self-compassion is to understand that weakness and frailty, as part of being human. As part of the human experience. You must come to accept yourself, even with your flaws, not despite them. It is what I have done through my journey so far, and it is something I work on every day.
The twelfth and final step in this process was the saying, “Fake it until you make it.” I have heard the saying so many times in different facets of my life. Even if you are not at the point of self-acceptance, or you’re unconvinced you aren’t a worthy person, you must keep at it and not give up. That’s where the saying, faking until you make it comes into play. Do not lose hope in yourself, because no one is perfect. Finding the acceptance and receiving acceptance takes time. Just remember not to qui and love yourself, because at the end of the day, you must account for only yourself.
All right Transcasters, that is all I have got for you this week. Thank you for listening and make sure you tune in next Tuesday for another great episode. So, remember, until next tie, love life, live authentically, and as always, rise up!
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End: Thank you for listening to Transcaster Radio! Be sure to visit Transcasterradio.com to access the show notes and discover awesome bonus content.
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