Self-acceptance or self-reproach?


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Self-acceptance, or self reproach?

One pushes us forward, spurs us on to be better, but can also lead to damaging feelings of low self-worth.
The other teaches us to love ourselves (and from there perhaps to truly love others instead of coveting them and their attributes) but must also be the end of ambition, the end of us pushing ourselves to be and do more.

Or am I missing something?

To me self-acceptance has more to do with accepting who we are as we are and doesn't need to come at the end of ambition, which to me is a life-long endeavor. I think a healthy approach is to say "I'm perfect just the way I am but I could be better." That's not something that could be said without the second half. It's not to say, "I've perfected everything about me. There's no more work to be done." It's to say, "This way that I am now in this moment is perfect, is the way I'm meant to be in this moment. In future moments I'll have refined myself further but in this moment I can be as I am right now without blaming myself and feeling guilty for who I am right now."

To use an example, let's say someone has an eating problem. They just got back from eating out at a restaurant and ordered cheesecake after a big meal. If they beat themselves up over it they'll just feel worse and it might lead to a downward spiral. But if instead they say, "I ate the cheesecake but that's okay. I couldn't find the self-control I needed today because I'm not there yet. But I'm on the path to greater self-control and in future moments I'll be able to resist. This is where I am right now and that's okay." I think that type of approach is healthier. There's still a pull forward but there's less looking back and feeling terrible about the past.

I guess for me self reproach is necessary and a good thing, but not exclusive to self-acceptance and that with self-acceptance our self-reproach can be an affirming activity that heals us and makes us stronger. Self-acceptance without self-reproach can destroy our momentum and make it difficult for us to grow.

I think there are a few things to consider, is the reproach legitimate or is it the voice of family/society/culture/experience.

Imo acceptance doesnt mean to condone whatever is lacking or deficient.
The other angle is to differentiate between your identity and worth, and your behaviour/actions.:)

My 2p.