Jul 31, 2015


Define and Design Your Path to Self-Acceptance

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There have been so many times in my life where I’ve been my own worst enemy. I’ve kicked myself when I was down, I’ve beat myself up over things I couldn’t control, I’ve been more negative than positive, and I’ve been my own worst critic when I should have been my number one fan. I’ve even tried to be someone I wasn’t to fit in or be accepted. Bottom line is: there have been moments in my life where I haven’t loved myself enough and, truth be told, we all go through these moments. What it all comes down to is that when we’re busy putting ourselves down, we neglect to focus on building our self-value, self-confidence, self-belief, and self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance is loving yourself unconditionally, accepting yourself for who you are, embracing your differences and flaws, recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, forgiving yourself for your mistakes. Self-acceptance is a habit that we must practice every single day, because how we view ourselves will ultimately make or break us.

Self-acceptance is a step-by-step process that begins with making the right choices about your perspective. Perspective is key in building up self-acceptance because we must create our own definitions for the things most important to us.

For example, there are many standards and definitions of beauty, perfection, accomplishment, wealth, love, etc., that have been embedded in our minds by society, the media, and sometimes our friends or family. Many of us have  grown up with misleading, unrealistic and harmful ideas of what we’re supposed to look like and how we’re supposed to behave.  So what must we do? We must change our perspective by redefining and tailoring these standards for ourselves.

Lets take the misconceived meaning of beauty as an example. When many of try to define beauty, we typically conjure up images of movie stars, Victoria Secret models, or even Jennifer Lopez.  Sure, all these women are beautiful, but sometimes we start comparing ourselves to these women and even begin to wish that we looked like them. I know I’ve been guilty of this on several occasions. However, it’s something I work on everyday. Often times, I say to myself:

 “You’re not beautiful like them, you are beautiful like you.

Saying this gives me perspective. I’ve shifted the power to define beauty from the media to the that woman I see everyday in the mirror: me. I am beautiful because no one will ever–or could ever–look like or be like me. I must accept myself completely, with flaws and all, because that is the first step towards self-acceptance; that is a choice only I can make.

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Cindy Cabral

Cindy Cabral

My name is Cindy Cabral, a Latina born and raised in New York City. I graduated from St. Johns University with a Bachelors in Hospitality Management and a Masters in Women and Gender Studies. I currently work for The Art Institute of New York City as a Residence Life Coordinator as well as a current writer for La Femme Latina. In college, I worked for a non-profit organization that allowed me to really tackle my passion of helping others deal with body image and self-esteem issues through the facilitation of workshops and the creating of activities that empowered young women and men.

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  1. I love this!! I have gone through some serious transformations over the past 3 1/2 years. I have had my setbacks from time to time but knew all along that I had it within me to come out of it. Why? Because I have two beautiful children who gave me the strength necessary. I have loved and I have lost just the same but I gained more than I ever thought possible. I have a new sense of self and independence that I never knew existed within me. I am a proud Latina that lets no barrier come between me and my goals. I am currently getting an education while raising two children by myself and keeping a full time job. It is not easy but the payoff in the end makes it all worthwhile. Por nuestros hijos luchamos contra viento y marea!

  2. Hi Cindy, thank you so much for sharing this piece. This was exactly what I needed on a day I spent kicking myself around mentally. My favorite line is: “Self-acceptance is a habit that we must practice every single day, because how we view ourselves will ultimately make or break us.” Loved it!
    Again thank you and I look forward to reading more of your writing. Abrazos, Sofia

  3. Hola Cindy, I have struggled with this all of my life. I think the worse thing is that I am constantly preaching self-acceptance to every important female in my life-mother, sisters, daughter, close friends. Yet there are times when I have such a profound dislike of so many things about myself, my perceived lack of accomplishments, my body, past mistakes. This article is reminding me to stop the nonsense and give myself some props. Soy fabulosa!

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