Self-love and acceptance often elude us first because we tend to focus on our failures instead of our successes. By focusing on our failures we forget to appreciate ourselves first. When we don't accept ourselves first, life is a constant challenge. The key to self acceptance is forgiveness. Namely, forgiving ourselves for our past failures.
So, here are the steps to self forgiveness and thus, self acceptance:
1. Recognize that we often hold onto our past failures, which run over and over like a tape on replay in our minds, and then they sabotage our future success. Yes, we do it to ourselves. No one is holding onto these failures but ourself. The past is the past and the future is unwritten. You have many opportunities every day in which you can and probably already do succeed.
2. Stop judging your past experiences. The past has taught you a lot and has made you a stronger person today. Are you holding onto some little event in your past that only you remember?
3. Allow yourself to fail. Remember that failure is the first step to success and that every successful person has failed a bunch of times!
4. Don’t buy into the shame. This is basically Don't believe the hype. We choose to believe certain things, negative things, shameful things about ourselves, and by believing it we make it true.
5. Pinpoint the shame, remember a shameful event and write it down. This is the most important step. Just acknowledging an embarrassing shameful event can be healing.
6. Forgive and accept yourself. You can say it aloud, "I am now forgiven."
See if this works for you. And repeat this exercise often.