We tend to think about self-acceptance as this giant breakthrough, like you’ll turn some corner and or have an amazing epiphany and you’ll finally be capable of self-love. But most self-acceptance comes from cultivation over the course of many years. We have to slowly and somewhat tediously remind ourselves that we’re doing great, even with all of our flaws, until that feeling becomes less effortful.
Happiness is 60 percent good habits, 30 percent deep understanding of yourself, and 10 percent blind faith. You have to wake up in the morning and instead of thinking, “I don’t want to get out of bed. I hate my life,” you think, “I’m going to get out of bed and make some tea and think some good thoughts, goddamn it.” You have to get on the train and instead of thinking, “Don’t touch me, you angry thoughtless sexist racist blind fucks,” you think, “Look how hard we all try, to be good enough, to be loved, to feel at home.” You sit down at your desk and instead of thinking, “Oh fuck, I can’t do this today,” you think, “I am going to try and reach for the sublime, and the spirits of the dead are going to rally to my side and help me realize my full potential. Today, I am going to shine.”
The more gentle and kind you are to yourself, the more gentle and kind the world is to you. The more passionately you believe in yourself, the more passionately other people will believe in you. People say this shit all the time and it’s easy to think, “Whatever, dude. HOW DO I GET THERE?” You get there by crawling. You crawl and even though you’re very low and very slow, you say to yourself, “I am moving forward. I am making progress. Every day.” You say, “Look how hard I try, to be good enough, to be loved, to feel at home.” And even if you can’t love yourself for anything else, you love yourself for that.
Ask Polly: How Do I Stop Hating Myself?