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Self-Improvement vs Self-Acceptance: what’s the goal?

How do we find the balance between self-improvement and self-acceptance? Can both exist at the same time?

This is a question I have pondered often — both as I work with clients and in my own personal journey.

🔨 The self-improvement mindset asks that we “be our best self” and continually try to change ourselves for the better.

💝 The self-acceptance mindset tells us that we already are enough, just as we are.

In my experience, these two mindsets can co-exist. Both can be true at the same time.

To embrace and balance these mindsets, we must practice a thought process called radical acceptance.

“Radical acceptance rests on letting go of the illusion of control and a willingness to notice and accept things as they are right now, without judging.” - Dr. Marsha Linehan

There are some things in life that we have no control over—like genetics, loss of a loved one or chronic illnesses. There are just some things in life that we are unable to change. And when we refuse to accept these realities (i.e. “why me,” “this isn’t fair” or “things shouldn’t be this way”) it can cause great suffering and loss of self-acceptance.

By seeing reality and accepting reality without emotion or judgement, we can find self-acceptance in our current circumstances.

And by accepting reality without emotion or judgement, we can make plans to move forward for self-improvement.

We can both accept ourselves for who we are while wanting to become better version of ourselves.

👉🏻 If you’re finding yourself continually stuck chasing the self-improvement side, try practicing some radical acceptance to balance these two mindsets.

You might just find the middle ground you’ve been longing for.

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