Why it’s best to accept yourself as you are

Don’t blame yourself when things aren’t good, simply accept and love yourself for who you are.
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This time last year I hadn’t yet moved to California, so was still living in the UK and frequenting the local Caffe Nero for my morning coffee.

Over a couple of years I’d got to know the manager. Chris and I would always pass the time of day, and every so often have a longer chat – sometimes in the coffee shop’s back room, which was a kind of storage space and office. Talk about shabby, though.

Naturally enough, the shop itself was pretty well fitted-out. Nice furniture, decently decorated, clean and tidy, that sort of thing. But this back room was something else. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t dirty or anything like that, it was just that it had clearly escaped the eye of the painters and decorators when they’d fitted out the shop.

And actually there’s nothing too surprising about this. Very many businesses have the part which is seen and frequented by the public, and the part that definitely isn’t. The difference? Well let’s just say the former is generally a good deal fancier than the latter.

Of course the great majority of people never get to see Caffe Nero’s store room, so their impression of the premises is the one the business wishes them to have.

I wonder if something similar happens when you and I compare ourselves with others? You know, I think perhaps it does.

For instance, when I met a friend for coffee last weekend she said it was good to see me looking all shiny and happy, but the truth was that inside I felt anything but.

I think many of us do this. We look around and imagine everyone’s happier than us, less anxious, more content, better adjusted. But that’s simply because we’re comparing our insides with other people’s outsides, and more often than not this delivers a strictly one-dimensional view.

If you’re someone who, like me, struggles with low mood now and then, I think it’s pretty common to imagine it’s only you who feels this way: the rest of the world is full of the joys of spring while you (and only you) are withering on the vine.

But of course this simply can’t be true, can it? After all, depression and anxiety are two of the most common triggers for visits to the doctor’s, and around one in four people will be formally diagnosed with a mental health problem during their lifetime.

Battling with low mood is hard enough as it is, but blaming yourself for it is the ironic icing on the cake.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to accept yourself as you are.

Even better? Love yourself for who you are.

6 thoughts on “Why it’s best to accept yourself as you are

  1. That line is really useful, Jon :” I can’t stress enough how important it is to accept yourself as you are”. I too have been going around pretending to be cheerful and sunny these last ten days or so. It is tiring!

  2. Such a useful blog to think about and adopt. I sometimes imagine everyone I encounter has some sort of problem which s/he is hiding and with that in mind, it makes it easier for me to interact with them. Thanks Jon. (I will order your Wellbee cards on my return to the UK! Sorry for the delay)

  3. I canvassed on the streets years ago for a political party and soon got to realize that everybody has something in there lives that can and will pull one down if we are not careful. I realized back then that I was very lucky not to have some peoples problems as I felt sure that I could not of coped. Since then I have met a lot of people that say they could not of coped with how my life has been. Funny how we only seem to get what we can handle at that time.
    These days I have mirrors in my place, more than most people, but they are there for a reason and that is for me to meet and greet and get to know me every day. I look at myself first thing in the morning, I watch myself when talking to someone on the phone and yes I talk, smile and laugh at myself. I like the person that I see every day. I think I have a lovely smile and I laugh a lot which is something that people have always told me but I didn’t realize until I got to see myself face to face. Try it it really works.

    1. I love the part about your mirrors and appreciating your own smile! More people, including myself, should do this– and the younger we are and the sooner we do it, the better.

  4. Thanks, Jon. Just been listening to ‘Mind and Soul’ on Premier Christian Radio about the Church and Depression. Sadly (in my view), many fellow Christians still believe that mental illness is still caused by demonic possession and that depression is sinful. Any thoughts on how we might challenge this view?

  5. Thank you Jon. I always try to hide my down moods to other people (unless they are the pits kind and just cannot), then get slightly irritated – even quite irritated when they have not picked up the marsh beneath the mask. Now how rational is that???

    How did you come to the conclusion to move to the States??


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