by Muhammad Luthfi Adnan
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
The current era of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us into a time of uncertainty. Many plans have been hampered or even failed to achieve due to the current pandemic period. This pushes people to get frustrated and depressed by the soaring expectations they are trying to achieve. This condition then leads them to reject the existing reality and deny what is happening now. As a result, they are prone to mental health problems, reject the existence of COVID-19, and even believe in conspiracy issues rather than scientific information that can endanger their lives.
This pandemic programmed us to accept the situations that have occurred, a situation that has been normalized. Rejection of the current conditions will not change what has happened, an irreversible painful reality we must face. If we are always in a state of constant rejection, we will be trap in misery, anger, sadness, and other negative emotions. Every time we try to reject the current condition, we fall back into negative emotions, and it becomes a vicious circle. Because to break the vicious circle, self-acceptance is an important step. Self-acceptance is a must.
Self-acceptance differs from self-esteem. Self-esteem describes feeling good about yourself. Self-esteem is inconsistently felt because we don’t achieve goals or positive experiences all the time; therefore, self-esteem is only temporary. Meanwhile, when we can accept ourselves, we also accept all the shortcomings and goodness that we have. By and large, self-acceptance also corresponds to being at peace with ourselves. Accepting ourselves as what and who we are.
Self-acceptance needs us to undergo a complex process and practice to master its knowledge. It requires energy to be able to move on and face the existing reality courageously. When we learn to accept ourselves completely, it can eliminate the feeling of judgment between our strengths and weaknesses or between things we did right and wrong which oftentimes serves as our excuse to deny our condition. Self-acceptance can help us to assess ourselves for what we can do with the resources we have to further our personal development.
To accept ourselves as it is thoroughly, we must be able to accept the real circumstances as they are. Maybe we will feel angry, disappointed, or sad, but all these emotions will pass and not last forever. We can practice self-acceptance by self-talking, relaxing, or practicing mindfulness techniques to focus on our entire self (body, mind, spirit) so that we can achieve self-acceptance. We must be able to resist inner criticism, the inner self that judges and reminds us that we are not good enough to achieve self-acceptance.
Self-acceptance is the key to happiness in life. In a survey conducted by psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire with about 5000 respondents, self-acceptance emerges as one of the indicators of life satisfaction. Achieving self-acceptance is always an enormous challenge, due to the pressure from society’s culture to succeed and often being compared with others. Therefore, the process of self-acceptance needs to be trained, to be acquired, to be gained. So that we are not only able to face the COVID-19 pandemic but also can face various difficult situations in life and beyond.
As the English writer George Orwell said that “Happiness can exist only in acceptance”, self-acceptance is hence the way to achieve happiness in life. Self-acceptance is a difficult thing to do in difficult times like the current COVID-19 crisis, yet self-acceptance is an important thing to achieve happiness and fulfillment in life and must not delay.