Are Self-Growth and Self-Acceptance Mutually Exclusive?

We have to accept ourselves and our situations in the current time as being the best we can be and doing the best that we can do.  However, if we aren’t trying to grow, usually we can’t accept ourselves when we’re not doing what we can to become what we think we should be.  Self acceptance is a current thing, because we are in the “now” and doing the best that is possible;  we shouldn’t accept our “now selves” as a forever thing, but keep striving to be a better person and that helps us to have self acceptance and to lead a balanced life.  You can be satisfied with the progress that you have made but still be striving for a better person in the future.

I’m very big into self-growth, and sometimes people ask me, as a professional coach and lifestyle mentor, how I can promote both self-acceptance and self-growth. If I accept myself, they say, I don’t need to grow, and if I need to grow, how can I accept myself?



What I believe is that we have to accept ourselves now as doing the best we can and being the best we can. But we cannot accept ourselves fully unless the self we’re expecting is trying to grow and improve.

Boy, that sounded complicated. Let me break it down so it makes a little more sense.

1. We are doing the best we can.

2. Given that we are doing the best we can, we need to accept ourselves in this moment.

3. Part of doing the best we can means striving to grow and become who we are meant to be.

4. If we are not growing, we are not doing the best we can.

5. Accepting ourselves means accepting who we are now, and accepting that we’re doing our best to grow and striving to be more.

Looked at in this way, self-acceptance is very much a “now” thing. We accept who we are now, because we’re doing the best we can now.

But self-acceptance is also very much about self-growth, because if we’re not growing and striving to improve ourselves, we’re not doing our best now.

So it’s very easy to put self-growth and self-acceptance together into one balanced life. I don’t think we can have a balanced life without it, in fact, because we must constantly be looking at where we’re going and where we are now.

I guess some people would say we shouldn’t accept who we are now because it’s “not good enough.” Frankly, I think it’s the best we can do now. We shouldn’t accept it as the end product. But we should accept it.

For me, self-growth is not about today not being good enough. Self-growth is about tomorrow being better, and to do that, I need to make the best of today.

This may all sound like a lot of psychobabble from a professional coach, but that’s not what I intend for it to be. What I want to get you thinking about is the idea that you can be satisfied with your progress so far, and still have goals for the future.

It’s like when you take your baby to the doctor and they measure his growth. They are happy that he’s grown an inch since his last visit, but of course they don’t want him to stay 26 inches tall.

Self-acceptance is about being pleased with and content with your growth to this point, and self-growth is about growing in the future, and they have to work together.

How can you accept yourself in the now while planning to grow in the future?

• Understand that you are doing your best now.
• Keep planning your future growth.
• Take the time to connect your current situation with your plans for the future.

Thanks to for including this post in the Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog Carnival, to The Tall Poppy for inclusion in the Living a Real Life carnival, and to Brain Blogger for featuring this post in the Brain Blogging blog carnival.

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