Today is Day 2 of my 31 Days of Self-Love posts to celebrate Self-Love Month with suggestions for jump-starting your own self-love and joining The Self-Love Movement™.

I remember the days when I couldn’t accept me for who I was. All I saw was what was wrong with me. I was always trying to improve before I could love myself. I really did want to love me, as most people do, but I didn’t feel worthy enough and put it off with the mindset of waiting until I improved myself. So many of us believe that we need to be perfect in order to accept ourselves. That usually never happens since perfection is impossible. If you don’t accept yourself with all your shortcomings and things you’d like to change, self-love can’t grow.

When you don’t accept yourself as you are right now, you tend to compensate by being a people pleaser to get acceptance from others. That was me when I was a DoorMat. I couldn’t accept who I was so I looked for acceptance by doing things for others. I couldn’t imagine that they’d accept me as just me, without the perks, since I couldn’t accept me. I thought I was too big, and my hair was too unruly to be attractive. And people seemed to like attractive people the most. This belief kept me in DoorMatville for many years.

What I later recognized is that buying acceptance by doing favors and being agreeable and overly accommodating didn’t really get ME accepted. People liked what I did for them, not me. It wasn’t until I began to love me that I acknowledged this, even though it was obvious. I endured many years of dancing to other people’s tunes to gain what I thought was acceptance. Thankfully I woke up to the reality that I needed to accept myself before other people could in order to liberate me from living in DoorMatville and the need to conform to what others told me to do and be.

Self-acceptance frees you to live in your own light, not in the light of others. It allows you the freedom of choice based on what YOU want, not on what others want for or from you. Most important, self-acceptance frees your soul and opens you up to being able to love yourself. Until you accept yourself in your own imperfect skin—right now as you are—it will be a dark shadow over your ability to love yourself.  I had to accept myself, along with cellulite and other qualities I’d rather not have to for my self-love to grow. But I accepted myself from the inside out, instead of looking at the outside and ignoring the rest.

The bottom line is that you can’t trade yourself in for a new one. The YOU you are right now is who will always be with you. You might lose or gain weight. One year might be less lucrative at work than another. But it’s still part of you. Hating yourself for having flaws makes you unhappy. Aren’t you still a kind, ethical person? Do you have a good heart? Are you friendly to people? Those are all the kinds of qualities to feel good about but we let what we don’t like overshadow them. Accepting yourself as you are from the inside out allows you to appreciate and accept yourself more. That helps self-love to flourish.

When you start to accept yourself, you can also start to make your own choices and stop going overboard to please others. When I began to accept me, I felt excited, like the world opened up and my possibilities were endless. It didn’t happen overnight but slowly I began to accept me more and more and life seemed brighter. It was delightful to think about what I wanted instead of always worrying about the needs of other people. Self-acceptance opened my eyes to how good life could be. I changed my style of clothing since I wasn’t trying to be who others wanted me to be. I tried new hairstyles and nurtured enough self-love to get a ticket out of DoorMatville.

Self-acceptance allows you to live on YOUR terms, not those that others dictate for you. The stronger mine got, the more I actually liked myself. It became MY life! I was no longer just passing time. All of a sudden life felt wonderful. Begin to accept yourself with love by paying attention to all the wonderful qualities that make you who you are. And every day, as often as you can, affirm, “I accept myself as I am right now.” You may not believe it when you begin but if you say if a lot, it will begin to sink in. Making the effort says, “I love me!”

“I accept myself as I am right now.”

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Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 2012 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

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