A distinctive feature of the approach I favour in my psychotherapeutic work is the promotion of unconditional self-acceptance. On the surface, this seems like a simple concept to warp one's head around and may be a bit sickly sweet for the hardcore resilience pushers. In client sessions, however, I find myself struggling to support arguments to promote self-acceptance, and so my healthy frustration has oriented me to look deeper into this elusive construct.
More often than not these days I find myself recognising the complexity behind the generalisations made in psychological theories, unconditional self-acceptance is no exception. It is a philosophical idea which asks us to assess our value from several perspectives. The first and arguably most fundamental I will begin to tackle today.
What is our value to ourselves? Fundamentally, as the unique human being that we are, are we being human? If we are being human then we are of worth to ourselves. If we are being a table or a computer, or a martian, when we are in fact a human being, then we would have little worth as a table, a computer or a martian. Being a table, or a computer or a martian when you are a human being is a ludicrous idea.
Are we being human when we fail, worry, have great talent, have little talent, are fat, are thin, are in a job, or have lost our job? We are. We are fulling our definition of being a human being and as the philosopher, Robert Hartman states a thing is good if it fulfils the definition of its concept. In our triumphs and failures, we are being human beings, and that's good because that's what we are.