How To Find Self-Acceptance

Taurus ivory ball vintageHi Elsa,

I understand how you talk about recovery of a pain or loss vs. resolution. I have lived a life (my childhood and teenage years) where I look back and cringe. I can not accept the person I was then. I can not accept the fact I was geeky, lame, said the wrong things and had a bruised ego that tried to be cool. I was bullied a lot when I was a kid, but can’t help to think it’s my fault.

How does someone look back at their past self and come to terms with it? Find self-acceptance? I’m pretty much the guy who was the geek who doesn’t want to acknowledge that. I guess that’s why your post about resolution got to me. I admit I do not have good self esteem. Maybe one day I’ll find it (I have an 8th house taurus north node after all).


You definitely sound stuck!  But that’s okay because sometimes stubborn problems are the easiest to solve.

Reading this, what comes to me clearly is there’s a lack of forgiveness. You just won’t forgive yourself and I don’t know why.

I don’t know so much as one soul who did not act like a jerk as a teen. Not one! It’s a struggle to mature.  People with so-called easy childhoods may think they’ve never been a jerk. They’re deluded.  Every single one of us does something to someone, does something wrong, stupid, cruel, embarrassing…

We go through phases. We try on different personas.

For example, when I was fifteen, I wanted to change the spelling of my name to, “Else”, with the same pronunciation. I thought this would make me interesting. It never occurred to me I was already interesting,

Now think of how crazy it would be for me to be stuck on this; embarrassed by it, decades later. This is what you are doing. You can’t forgive yourself for not being perfect, when “perfect” doesn’t even exist.

Life is a process. This may be the one thing that the overwhelming majority of people would agree with, in this era of constant strife and bickering. Why torment yourself over the fact you’re human too?

We have all done things that are excruciating in hindsight. We’ve said stupid things, acted like we knew more than we did, farted on a date…I just don’t think your core problem is a lack of self esteem.

Think hard about how you might forgive yourself for progressing through life. If you can do this, it will liberate you so that you can do other things that will improve your self-esteem.

Example, if I was still hung up on the thousands of stupid things I have said and done in my life, I would never be able to write and maintain this blog.

I’ve always said, you have to earn your self esteem. Your energy is spent lamenting things you can’t change. This prevents you from building a solid core.

Please, please consider forgiving yourself. I am many times more vile than you – I am sure of this. If I can let go, so can you. Once you do, the future’s right there, waiting.

One more thing! Nobody likes a “perfect” person. It’s the quirks and flaws that have the potential to charm us.

Do you struggle to forgive?

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28 thoughts on “How To Find Self-Acceptance”

  1. Recovery vs Resolution, got my attention. Boy do I need to address this in my life right now. Thanks Elsa. I have been struggling with myself since a car accident last year. Head injury has changed my life in every way. I’ve been told I need to let go of who I use to be and what I use to be able to do. Be happy with who I am now. Easier said than done. I am now at a point where I need to resolve this for myself. I can’t keep looking back. I have been bitter and that is getting me no where. I have Sagg Sun combust Saturn in 10th, Pisces rising. Pushing 60 and learning something new. You’re a wise soul Elsa.

  2. Who are you Elsa, that you are so tuned in to our needs? This blog post really clobbered me on the head! Thank-you for allowing us to see who you are and then, hopefully, see ourselves. You are wonderful!

  3. I have felt like this before and I agree that some self love and forgiveness is what is on order. What did it for me was finally going back to the place that I grew up and talking to people I knew then. I was sure that they all remembered the stupid things I did — me at my worst moments. To my surprise they remembered me kindly, and reminded me of things I had completely forgotten about but which actually spoke well for my character. I don’t know if that’s possible for this guy but might be worth a try.

      1. This is such a thoughtful and nurturing thread, Elsa. Forgiveness is something some of us heard about when we memorized prayers, as kids, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those …”. But the lesson of forgiving myself is one that came with living decades, learning to be human.

        astrocurious, I appreciate your experience with going back home: I had a chance to do that too. Some of the phantom issues and faces of my childhood and my family proved to be mostly within me and I would need more time make peace with myself; fold that into my self-worth.

        I didn’t have grandparents who had traditionally served that role of telling stories to make ‘self-forgiveness’ a value worth living. But, Elsa, is someone who lived with her grandfather Henry just across the desert. We benefit from this hybrid community of blog-internet and Elsa dishes up Henry-infused grandfather wisdom. I feel lucky to benefit from ‘unseen’ forces.

        Good luck stuck!

    1. Avatar
      Warped by Wuthering Heights

      All the kind opinions in the world from others have no effect on me — it’s only my self-opinion that does. I’ve often disappointed myself and not lived up to what I believe I was capable of, from early years to present.

      People try to console by saying, “You did the best you could in the given moment.” Maybe, but I’d have done far better had I not been hampered by fear or laziness or pride or weakness or selfishness or any number of character flaws present in me at the time. That “humanness” is what’s harder to forgive in myself than others — it’s self-betrayal, resulting in self-resentment.

      It’s even harder to forgive when you fail to learn and repeat stupid mistakes, or compound one with more in trying to undo the first.

      Thank you, Elsa, for this great post. Not sure I can forgive, but trying to accept mistakes and “humanness” as lessons I was required to learn. Perhaps the whole purpose is to both humble us and strengthen us to increase our capacity to forgive and accept the human frailties in others?

  4. I think a great question is “what’s in it for you to hold on to your non-forgiveness?” So, ok, fear, laziness, pride, weakness, selfishness (quoting WWW above) sure factors in. Maybe even lingered up until *yesterday* (or a reasonable facsimile). But— what’s the point of beating ourselves up with GUILT, which really has never done anyone anywhere anything good. I like the word “remorse” because it implies that a true change is taking place. When someone is remorseful, they avow to not behave in such a way again, and I think that is where true self-forgiveness can take place. Remorse carries a tone in it that is soul-changing; guilt is self-flagellation and more about woe-is-me attention seeking which implies no change is really forthcoming.
    The beauty of forgiving ourselves our “humanness” is that it makes us just like everyone else who we certainly would extend forgiveness towards. Someone once asked me “who do you think you are that you won’t forgive yourself? Are you better than others who you say deserve forgiveness for what *they’ve done* but noooooo, you get to carry your guilt and whine and moan about how unforgiveable you are?”
    That was a sponsor in Al-Anon that said that to me. It was like a cold smack across the face, and at that moment I learned that there was a payoff to my not forgiving myself.

    1. Avatar
      Warped by Wuthering Heights

      Well, other than on here, I don’t whine and moan to others — who would listen! It certainly doesn’t feel like a payoff, and I don’t even like attention, especially the “there, there” variety.

      I doubt many of us who carry the black cloud of regret around do so by choice, it’s simply ever-present, triggered by memories, etc. It’s like living with a twin we blame/resent, joined at the hip 24/7, no avoiding it.

      I expect more of myself than of others because I have to live with myself. I’m the one I’ve hurt by my mistakes. The only good point is humility — I’m trying to “give it to God” and hope He will guide me and help me to “forgive those who trespass against us,” even when the trespasser against me is me.

      1. I know that “black cloud of regret” and it has caused a lot of depression in my life. Truly a “parasitic twin”….

  5. No one’s perfect. We are all are a work in progress. I don’t think that’s condescending comment. But perfectionism is just a miserable road to be on. No solace ever. To be perfect means to hide and keep secrets. Only keeping the acceptable experiences. That’s a lot to push down. Some people close to you may travel down that path. Ok. That’s their choice. Leave them alone. Don’t hang around people who want that. In fact, Run! Its easy to forgive and live when you know that everything you experience is growth. Attitude. Its all the way you look at it. …Just ranting.

  6. There again, semantics. Remorse versus guilt. its well worth contemplating.but some acts do feel in excusable. Really too much. Great topic for this eclipse. Oh so very Virgo/Pisces.

  7. Been thinking quite a bit about something I read here once: Venus square Uranus as “the victim.” Had more than my share of intrigue and obsession in relationships, wrong men/extreme men, baby daddy problems, chronic singleness.

    Part of my process of forgiveness is to be able to exist with others for whom none of this would ever be an issue, and say: Well, now, I know how that can work to my detriment. If all energy is neutral until directed, how can I use that Venus Square Uranus well? I have it, after all… That has taken much self-forgiveness for me to be able to see. I’m still not sure how to use it, and boy, I can still feel it and see how it wants to manifest disruptively, even today (turn on self-forgiveness tap, which frees up the energy to see differently, and choose differently).

  8. Oh yes my high school years are cringe worthy too! The most important thing is when you know better do better.

  9. Without our flaws, errors in judgement and action, and insecurities we would truly be superior to all others. Our flaws allow us to have compassion for others, and ourselves.

  10. Yeah but how is forgiveness actually accomplished. How many times have I resolved to forgive and then realized I was still angry. I almost am to the point where I don’t believe in forgiveness.

    1. Check out EFT tapping. It’s awesome for clearing guilt and shame. You say something like … “even tho I feel awful about ……. I deeply and completely love and accept and forgive myself “… while you tap on key points on your body. It’s very effective and feels so good!

  11. Avatar

    Needed to hear this, wow… I think once you start being kind to yourself for all your flaws, you love others better too. But, yeah. I relate. It’s hard to… forgive myself sometimes for the past, and my little pay, up and down career trajectory.

    I think… if only I were a better worker: smarter, faster, more capable, stronger, tougher, more professional, more perfect, if only I earned more money for everyone else, if only I turned in all my homework on time back in school, if only I were impervious to all painful things at work, I would deserve this love. But how untrue this is.

    Talking about my insecurities of a first real relationship, I said to a friend: He’s going to find out stuff. Like, I’m clumsy.
    She said: But that’s cute!
    I didn’t occur to me that anyone would find something genuinely embarrassing about me, cute haha. But, over time, I’ve found what she said was true.

  12. Try starting with a little compassion for your own humanness. If you work on accepting yourself fully for whom you are right now you will be amazed at how one day you think back on the kid your were and see yourself as just that a kid … without judgement or condemnation just a kid doing the best you could at the time. To get to forgiveness start with compassion.

  13. anonymoushermit

    You have to suck out the snake venom first, you can’t repress your anger and deny it. I know that’s not the end all and be all of self-healing, but it’s a step.

    Thanks Elsa, for your writing the past week. You’re on a roll.

  14. Avatar

    So many juicy bits, from now on self-acceptance is forgiving myself for being a work in progress and not a finished product. Me likey!

  15. I feel like God loves me. And who am I to argue with God?
    Also, a rupaul quote:): if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?

  16. Also just realizing that you can’t change the past. Ever. All you have is the present. The past is gone. The universe gives us a lifelong chance to be who we want to be. There would be no point to life if we were born perfect.

  17. I wake up every morning and tell myself “you have done nothing wrong, and you have nothing to be ashamed of” and it’s true. Oh sure, I’ve done some stupid things, regrettable things in the past when I was young and foolish. But I’ve never deliberately gone out of my way to hurt anyone. I’m not malicious. I’m human. Another good one is to start all your thoughts with “I love myself, therefore….” Often it is difficult to follow that with a self-defeating thought. How can you love yourself and beat yourself senseless with negative emotion at the same time? You can’t. Self love is not selfish, having it helps you be closer to others because you are vulnerable and compassionate. Perfectionism and bereating onself for perceived past errors separates you from others, because you hold yourself to an impossible standard and feel worthless when you don’t achieve it. Good luck, Stuck!

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