Society and Acceptance

"Society has some rather bizarre notions about self acceptance. Its uncomfortable with it."

Like happiness, society has some rather bizarre notions about self acceptance. On the one hand we have psychologists telling us it's good to improve our self-esteem while at the same time, society says we shouldn't have too much acceptance and appreciation for ourselves. What a tight rope to walk.

We are encouraged to be humble and show humility. Do you know the definition of humility?

humility (hju:míliti:) n. the quality of being without pride || voluntary self-abasement.

pride (praid) 1. proper self-respect || a source of great satisfaction for which one feels some responsibility || a sense of satisfaction with one's achievements.

abase (ebéis) v.t. to degrade, to humiliate, lowered

Alright, I ask you, WHY would anyone value humility? Why would it be good to degrade and humiliate yourself as well as lack self-respect and feel no sense of satisfaction or responsibility for your achievements? How could this be beneficial for anyone? What is it about someone feeling "too good" about themselves that bothers us so? Yet our culture promotes humility as a desired virtue. It doesn't make sense.

"...the culture we have does not help people feel good about themselves. We're teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it. Create your own."

- Mitch Albom, "Tuesdays With Morrie"

Myths About Egocentricity

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Unfortunately, self acceptance (self-love) has gotten a bad rap over the course of history. Our society has labeled people who openly admit they love themselves as egomaniacs, narcissists, selfish, self-centered, and vain. No wonder we fear the very thought of self-love much less an outward expression of it with such incriminations. But lets look at that label and see if it's really accurate.

Do those we label as egomaniacs really love themselves? It's been my experience that those that are loud, overbearing, and go out of their way to show how important they are, are actually covering up a great deal of self-doubt, self-loathing, and fear. The greater the lack of self-esteem, the greater the show has to be to convince others as well as themselves of their own value and significance.

I also notice those who truly appreciate themselves feel no great need to make others know how significant they are. They're neither self degrading or depreciating, nor self promoting or excessively communicating their inherent worth.

When you feel a sense of inner acceptance and appreciation, there is no need for approval from others. When the question, "Am I a worthy/valuable person?" has been answered by your own voice with a resounding "Yes", one doesn't continue to ask that question of others.

next: What Is A Value Judgment?

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 2). Society and Acceptance, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Last Updated: August 6, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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