Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 7 Learning To Accept Yourself

Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 7 Learning to Accept Yourself

You can find the earlier posts in this series at the links below. In the last few posts I’ve asked you to start thinking about emotions. I’ve explained how identifying your troublesome emotion helps you gain control and make sure things turn out more positively for you in the future. As well as that, I asked you to think about what is most difficult for you, then I asked you to set some goals.

In the last post we thought about challenging and beginning to change those core beliefs we all carry. They get in the way when we want to make a personal change that will improve our lives. Now we are going to think about developing self acceptance.

Everyone who has ever lived has had problems.  Having problems doesn’t make you a better or worse human being – nor does it make you different.  In fact it makes you truly a human being – someone who makes mistakes and sometimes suffers misfortune. You are not what you do or what happens to you.  You are you, and one of us, the vast human race.  But it is great that you want to change or improve something about yourself!

If you accept yourself with what you see as flaws, it means you can concentrate on problem solving.  If you can’t accept yourself you can very easily be distracted by shame and the time you spend putting yourself down.

There is a great way of illustrating self acceptance.  It is called the big i/little i diagram ( Lazarus 1977)

If you look closely you will that this Big I (the self) is made up of lots of little Is. The little I’s are all the things about you; “I’m tall”, “I’m short”,” I’m fat”, “I’m thin”, “I’m good at sports”,” I’m hopeless at maths” etc.  Or they might be things that you have done; “I failed my exam”, “I hurt someone I loved”, “I give to charity”, etc.  Anyone of them may be true.  But none of them makes up the whole, wonderful complexity of you, yourself.

Now, if you can’t accept yourself, you might find this idea difficult to accept as well. But think about it.  And think about what I said in the last post about how to test self beliefs.  Think of all the evidence there is that you are complex with many aspects and experiences.  Then think about how you see other people in their complexity.  Now, think about which is the more helpful way to think about your self.

So suppose you see the things that you need to change as little Is, that you can work on.  They are not the whole big I that is going to do the work. Start to recognise yourself as complex and multi dimensional.

You could draw a large I diagram and then start to put into it all the little Is about you.  The good and the bad – make sure you are even-handed.  Now, circle some of those good Is and really concentrate on them.  Then, think about the things you want to change and let that complex, wonderful Big I you, start to make plans.

Remember, self acceptance doesn’t mean you become complacent and stop trying to make changes.  Self acceptance changes how you see the changes you want to make.  It helps to makes those changes manageable and achievable.  It means you do not waste precious time on putting your self down and feeling bad.

Self acceptance doesn’t happen over night it takes work.  It takes a little time every day thinking about the Big I and focusing on your goals to make the change you want. Work on it because the benefits of self acceptance, in terms of happiness, mental health and achievement, are huge.

The next post in this series will about strengthening and re-enforcing your new self-helping outlook.

I know you can learn how to develop self-esteem and to develop self acceptance and I would like to help you.  Email me now to arrange a free half-hour taster coaching session by Skype.

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with professional women who want to make that jump to senior level while having a life outside work. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR. She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at and find out more at

Coming shortly – Getting There With WiseWolf, the Career and Personal Development Programme – if you would like to know more

Earlier Posts in this series

    • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 1 Admit A Change is Needed

    • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 2 Be Clear About The Change You Want

    • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 3 Be Clear About What Is Troubling You

    • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 4 Identify what is most difficult for you

    • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 5 Select Your Goals for Change
    • Be Successful -Making A Personal Change – Part 6 Change Your Core Beliefs

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