Why It�s Ok to Say �I�m Not Ok�

Self-acceptance is the key to embracing all emotions...


It’s a world of constant comparison in a digitally connected space. Self-acceptance and self-esteem are two areas that often take a beating in a seemingly perfect world. But, is everything as perfect as it seems? Is it ok to say, “I’m not ok,” and accept our emotions as they are?

Self-acceptance is important at every stage in our lives. Self-acceptance is about accepting the agreeable and the not-so-agreeable part of self while loving self without conditions. That doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? Yet, we tend to ignore our deepest emotions and disregard them while putting on a mask of “Being Ok” and silently judging ourselves. We, at Tava-Mitram, have observed that people can be reluctant to completely embrace their feelings and emotions. Plummeting self-esteem only results in a lack of opportunities while prohibiting a person to enjoy a life they truly deserve.

The good news is, it doesn’t always need to be this way. You can create unconditional positive regard for yourself while being mindful of your thoughts, behavior, and actions.

Why do we struggle to accept the self?

The belief we hold goes right down into our childhood days. As difficult as it may seem to comprehend this, one’s level of self-acceptance is largely dependent upon the treatment given out by parents or parental figures. Our sense of self is formed based on the messages we’ve received from our parents. Highly critical parents who conveyed many behaviors as ‘unacceptable’ often became an identifying factor for the growing up child.

The first 5 -8 years are crucial in the development of one’s behavior patterns. It’s unfortunate when messages that are conveyed include sentences such as, “You’re not good enough,” or “You are not bright enough”. This often creates issues of self-acceptance in the growing up child. The adult who grows up finds it difficult to accept the self unless they behave as per the conditions set by parents or parental figures. A child being raised in a constantly hurtful environment may lack the awareness of being highly accepting towards self as an adult. When a person carries this cloud of negativity bias in later life, he or she may face self-doubt and find it difficult to acknowledge emotions and ‘approve of the self’. The adult is therefore constantly seeking ‘approval’, a behavior so deeply ingrained since childhood days. He or she may never feel safe in their own imperfect self.

 Self-acceptance is about accepting the agreeable and the not-so-agreeable part of self while loving self without conditions.

So, what next?

To be able to accept ourselves completely and acknowledge our emotions requires a little work. Ask yourself, “Do I honestly like myself?” Think deeply and use the following points to begin your journey towards self-acceptance.

6 Ways towards the Self-Acceptance Process


1. Know your Strengths

We often celebrate our strengths during the good times. However, we may struggle to accept emotions and go on a negative spiral downwards, particularly during difficult situations. Understanding and reminding yourself about your strengths is about setting the intention of how you perceive the self, and how you ‘allow others’ to perceive you. It’s about recognizing all the good you are made of while welcoming yourself without judgment towards the current situation.

2. Know your weaknesses and forgive self

You cannot accept the self if you continue to beat yourself up for every mistake you’ve made. Mistakes are stumbling blocks and you need not be harsh on yourself throughout your life. Forgive yourself just as you would forgive someone else. Journal and learn the lesson from the mistakes you’ve made. Ensure you wouldn’t repeat them and begin the process of loving yourself.

3. Open your mind and the heart

It’s important to be open to experiences. Denying your negative emotions would only mean you are hurting yourself further to deny a part of yourself. Know that you are open to all types of emotions. Acknowledge that you are human and give yourself that loving light. Glow in the warmth of this light and share the goodness with others.

4. Own your story

By connecting deeply with yourself, allow yourself to understand your experiences in life. Analyze the reasons behind any unfulfilled goals, and note down what is holding you back right now. If there are painful memories, explore how you can move ahead from them. By being responsible towards yourself, you take control over the chapter of your life story. Your growing confidence will open the doors to create more self-acceptance and gentleness towards self.

Self-acceptance of our emotions begins when we work on our internal programming with greater kindness and compassion towards ourselves.

5. Develop the right attitude, let go of perfectionism

An optimistic attitude is important towards self-care. Negative emotions create a lack of self-acceptance and it is important to remind yourself regularly that ‘you matter’. Affirmations that are said daily or written down and displayed at a corner where you can see them daily is a great way to begin. This reduces the critical inner voice and supports you to let go of the habit of perfectionism. You no longer associate the self with a perfect goal, rather, you use opportunities to move close to goals with consistency in your attitude. 

6. Face your fears

We have fears which are sometimes deep-rooted in the beliefs we hold. It can be a person who has hurt us or an experience that went sour. There is a constant resistance to change as it feels safe to be in a familiar space. It’s important to explore the internal self to know what fear one holds, how to move forward, and be more accepting towards self. One can take smaller steps towards their goals to gain the strength for living a more accepting life. 

It’s interesting to note that the writings of psychologist Carl Rogers mentioned the need for a safe environment in one’s growing-up years. He mentioned how important it is for a child to be viewed with unconditional positive regard. His works outline the ability of every person to have all the resources they need for their internal growth. His works also mention the need to hold unconditional positive regard particularly among those who had no support in their earlier life which led to the formation of negative self-beliefs. This concept is used in counseling, Coaching and therapy to support people to grow by being more accepting towards themselves.

To become more self-accepting, remember to -

  1. Explore what makes you guilty

  2. Re-examine your thought processes through journaling

  3. Notice if you put yourself down too often

  4. Find out how you can heal yourself

Self-acceptance of our emotions begins when we work on our internal programming with greater kindness and compassion towards ourselves. It’s about holding that unconditional positive regard towards self, and knowing that you’ve often done your best at that time with the resources you had in some difficult situations. It’s about transforming the way we think and feel while creating a larger space for imperfections and areas of improvement.

So, if you are feeling sad today, remember, it’s ok. If you are confused about your goals, it’s ok to feel that way. What’s not ok is considering this to be a permanent state of mind. It’s ok to give yourself time to heal and do the things that bring you comfort. It’s ok to feel negative emotions and take the time to move forward away from them.

We, at Tava-Mitram, are constantly working to build emotions and strengthen people from within. If you’d like to join as a participant, sign up for our free group coaching sessions. If supporting and coaching people inspires you, fill up the form to join us as a Mitra Coach or volunteer. We’d love to hear from you! You can always access the “My Mental Health, My Priority” free certification program to build your emotions and strengthen self. You can also view Tava-Mitram's “Mental Health Matters” videos.


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