3 Powerful Benefits of Accepting Yourself and Your Differences


“Live your life for you not for anyone else. Don’t let the fear of being judged, rejected or disliked stop you from being yourself.” ~Sonya Parker

Our common culture is one that values acceptance from the group over self-acceptance. We base our self-worth on how we measure up against who society tells us to be, and our culture views those who are different as being anomalies that could bring the group down.

And yet deep in our hearts (and in the books that tell our collective history) we know that individuals who go against the grain are the ones that help society progress.

When my father died in front of me, my ability to go to college and progress into the next phase of life (adulthood) passed away with him. We didn't have the funds to send me to University, as I was now considered a non-resident and would have to pay more than the average Brit.

But that was the furthest thing from my mind, as the pain of losing the only person on earth who understood me and embraced my radical nature had just died abruptly in front of my nineteen-year-old self.

Months turned into years. I moved to the states and began living with my brother, who is also an artist. He tried to encourage me to continue my studies in some form or another, but at that time I was still paralyzed by sadness and confusion. I was basically unemployable and I knew this all too well, which furthered my feelings of inadequacy.

Eventually, I came to accept the two things I was struggling with.

In my soul I knew that Dad had been sick for years, treating himself poorly with toxic substances that eventually killed him. And I also knew that despite being different and perhaps undervalued in how I fit into the world, I had a purpose.

Slowly but surely, I began to embrace the fact that I was a third culture kid and writer. That was that. There was no changing the fact that I act like an absent minded professor (books strewn around the house and nothing in its place) and have a panic attack if I merely think about waking up at 7AM to go to a job.

I'm not skinny and will never be. And I have no interest in ever embracing that view of how a woman should be. In fact, I quite like curves and have accepted that a woman can have them and be healthy at the same time.

My inability to complete the I.B. program (equivalent to senior year in high school) or enroll in college is a thing of the past. I am a devoted life long learner, bibliophile, and polymath, and I happen to like self-education more than being stuck in a classroom.

If potential employers had an issue with my lack of diploma then they were obviously not the right fit for working with me.

I found and married my soul mate and we became parents to a little angel with curly hair and a voracious appetite for travel and adventure. Several years after her birth I finally embraced what my father had pursued himself: the role of entrepreneur.

My passion for travel, food, and culture mingled with my love of the written word and photography.

Living a dream-driven life is not easy in many respects. It requires courage and devotion, with a lot of trial and error. The most important thing for someone who wants to devote their life to their passions is to accept themselves just as they are, right here and now. 

Whether or not you improve your supposed flaws in the future is no matter.

Whether or not you get a new degree or network with the right people is of no matter either if you can't first allow yourself to be who you areThat may sound simplistic, but it's actually complex if you look at just how narrow the path we have been told to take really is.

That road is one of subservience to an idea or meme that may, in fact, not be healthy or even based in logic.

Empowerment occurs when we accept ourselves.

This doesn't denote we become egotistical or self-absorbed. Rather, we have now accepted that our path differs from that of others, and there is no need for us to judge ourselves according to the world's standards. When there is acceptance of who we are, right here and now, we find peace.

Freedom occurs when we accept ourselves.

No matter one's disabilities, dissatisfactions, or disturbances, we must accept ourselves in order live a passionate life. How can we accept others if we cannot accept ourselves?

No one can attain happiness if they are hung up on what is lacking; we must transcend the need to compare ourselves to others and let go of our apparent flaws and shortcomings. This frees us from self-imposed judgment and the need to fit into society’s standard of what we should look like, be, act, and do.

Happiness occurs when we accept ourselves.

We tend to judge our potential for having an enjoyable life on how much stuff we accrue or social statuses we have gained. Again, this is an illusion and denotes a lack of self-love, as all of the things we truly need to have a passionate life are inside of us, perhaps yet to be discovered.

Happiness can never be purchased and others can never designate it to us. It comes from within.

Sometimes I still get hung up on what I lack and what I could have done with my life had I made better decisions or hadn't had such a traumatic event happen in my teens. But this feeling quickly subsides when I recognize it for what it's worth (comparison to social memes) and count the blessings for all that I have within me and around me, no matter how small.

Photo by George Goodnight

About E. K. Bradley

Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley is a writer, Life Coach, and Social Media Strategist based in Thailand. She helps holistic entrepreneurs thrive online at Thriving Healer and coaches creative, dream-driven women who want to savour life at Savouring Simplicity.

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  • Awesome Post!
    Self acceptance is really the foundation on which happiness can thrive. we look outside for gaining happiness.. Other’s approval, Stimulation or even drugs!
    Real happiness comes from within.
    The way author has expressed her experience is very inspiring.

  • Great confession and great message taken out of it ! Thank you for post Miss Bradley 🙂

  • Mrs* 🙂

  • Thank you so much Nikola! 🙂

  • Thank you Vishal, and I agree! Approval really comes from within. And so many of us are seek it from without, only to be let down.

  • lv2terp

    Inspiring post!!!! Thank you for sharing this beautiful message! 🙂

  • T Hopkins

    Thank you, thank you, Ms. Bradley! Your words meant a great deal to me.

  • I appreciate you saying that T and am thankful to have helped.

  • Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Claudia Corriero

    Self-acceptance and gratitude and love towards whatever we have every day is the basis of everything 😀
    thanks for reminding us!

  • Great article! After reading through it I kept reading over your subheadings and they turned into a mantra I am going to take with me: I accept myself so I am free, happy and empowered.

  • Collin

    Nicely done.

  • That is an awesome mantra!! I am going to start saying that myself!!

  • ash

    I just turned 21 years old anf this post is helping me fearless of my future and let go of sad teen things. Its past me now I want to be happy and go for my dreams ! Thank you ♡

  • You are more than welcome Ash!!

  • You are very welcome 🙂

  • Kimberly

    Great post!! This is a great reminder for all of us especially nowadays people tend to lose self respect because we often listen to what society dictates us. We must learn how to love ourselves first without asking for other people’s approval. Let’s just live life one day at a time and just celebrate life. Lastly, focus on the positive aspect of life. 🙂

  • Rich

    The more I accept myself and my differences, the more I realise how disconnected I am from the world and how I don’t fit into daily life. While this creates temporary peace, the knock on effect of feelings of distance and isolation from others actually causes unhappiness as I feel that life is hopeless. That I can’t do any job (I’ve had loads and not enjoyed one) or continue the social facade for much longer. While I like the ideals of the post, in reality the practice of this daily can cause more problems than good. Is be interested to know your thoughts as it sounds like you battled with this issue?

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    Loved this blog…something that resonated with me in many levels; thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Well Rich I think the thing one has to realize in order to accept oneself is that all of us have flaws, which was what I meant by one’s disabilities, dissatisfactions, or disturbances. The thing is that when we accept our current state and our past, it is an act of love and forgiveness that can draw you closer to others.

  • Mark Strong

    I love this self acceptance article. I’m learning now to accept myself because, the world around me is so superficial, and I’m finally learning to embrace myself unconditionally and conditionally.

    Thank you