When you practice self-acceptance it doesn’t matter if you’re not accepted by family.
It would be wonderful if each and every one of us was fully accepted by our family for who we are, what we do, and what we believe in (even if they don’t agree). But unfortunately, many parents and siblings feel they have the right to judge, criticize and advise family members who stray from the path according to their world view.
It’s as though they fear that their world will crumble if the rest of the clan doesn’t act, think, and feel the way they do. Yet in reality, it is our uniqueness that makes us special and creates richness in the world. When family supports us to be our authentic selves, forgives us for our mistakes, and loves us unconditionally, we feel accepted.
So what can you do when you feel unaccepted by family? You can practice self-acceptance. Accepting yourself and your life choices even when others don’t is imperative for living a life of joy and freedom. Without self-acceptance, other people’s opinions become bigger than you; taunting, shaming, or swaying you to make decisions that aren’t a natural fit. When you honor your values, beliefs, gifts and talents, you speak your truth, follow your dreams, and allow others to do the same.
Self-acceptance leads to acceptance of others, which creates a ripple effect into the world. So begin by accepting yourself and your life choices. Here are suggestions on how to do this.
Trust your heart and soul. If you listen to your heart and soul for guidance on what path to follow you will never be led astray. Know one knows what’s best for you except you. When your mind becomes concerned about others’ judgments or rejection, tune into your higher self and trust your heart and soul’s truth.
Refuse to take on invalidation. A person will only feel the sting of invalidation if they take it on. Don’t take your family members’ opinions personally. In reality their judgments have less to do with you and more to do with their own beliefs, programming, conditioning, fears, regrets and insecurities. Stand firm in your life choices and let others deal with their own triggers and reactions.
Stay amused and in a state of non-resistance. What we resist persists, so the minute you tense up against another’s non-accepting tone, comment or behavior, they’ve got you. In order to be bigger than your family’s judgments it helps to be in a state of non-resistance and amusement. Stay relaxed, see the humor in their small mindedness, and remember what’s truly important to you.
Recognize what’s behind others’ judgments. Instead of being hurt or offended by a family member’s judgment of your lifestyle, beliefs, talents or career choices, look at what’s behind the judgment. Judgments come from fear not love. A man raised in the depression era who frets about his children’s financial security will discourage his son from pursuing a career in arts or entertainment. A woman may criticize her husband’s growing interest in a new hobby because she’s worried it will take time away from their relationship. A woman may snicker at her sister’s personal growth journey because she’s concerned they’ll drift apart. Recognizing others’ fears will bring out your compassion and ease the pain of judgment.
Surround yourself with supportive people. Cultivate friendships with people who can see and honor who you really are. Spend as much time as possible in the company of others who have high self-esteem, follow their dreams, and encourage you to do the same.
Love yourself unconditionally. When you fully love yourself, flaws and all, it’s less painful if others don’t accept you or your life choices. Find ways to express love to yourself on a daily basis. Nurture yourself, honor your emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs, compliment yourself regularly, and focus on your strengths and accomplishments. Even just saying the simple phrase, “I accept myself” feels healing.
What else can you do to practice self-acceptance when you feel unaccepted by family?