By Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT
When you have self-acceptance, your soul shines through. Your soul wants to fully express itself, and that requires openness and confidence. Self-esteem and self-acceptance provide courage and allows you to be authentic and take risks. You gain presence that conveys self-esteem and self-acceptance.
Signs of Presence
It’s said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. When you cultivate being present, people notice and pay attention. Presence reflects integrity and mindfulness. People can tell and are drawn to you. You nonverbally communicate your self-worth, that you matter and expect to be respected. What are the signs?
- You make eye contact.
- You’re not self-conscious but are fully focused in the present.
- Yet, you’re connected to and aware of your feelings and bodily sensations.
- With another person, you’re able to fully listen without an agenda.
- You accept yourself and are not controlled by fear, shame, or your past.
- You don’t try to fill silences, impress anyone, or seek their approval.
- You’re authentic and don’t hide who you are or your thoughts and feelings.
- You feel equal and connected to others.
- You know who you are and your needs, thoughts, and feelings are separate.
- You don’t react to or defend yourself from others’ opinions.
- You take responsibility for your feelings, words, actions, and triggers with “I” statements.
- You expect to be treated with respect.
- You protect yourself courteously when you feel your boundaries are crossed.
- Your communication is honest, direct, and assertive.
How to Be More Present
You can practice presence throughout your day:
- Accept your thoughts, sensations, and feelings without judgment.
- Throughout the day, replace negative with positive thoughts.
- Notice whether your thoughts and feelings are related to the present.
- Ask yourself, “Where is my breath?” Is it in your chest, throat, belly? Bring it into your belly.
- When you feel pain in the present, don’t reject it. Accept it, and let it pass through you.
- Connect to your senses. Listen to and honor bodily needs and impulses.
- Practice gratitude.
- Speak to yourself kindly with encouragement and gentleness as you would a young child.
- Practice mindful meditation.
- Set an intention each day and before starting an activity or meeting.
Self-Acceptance is a deeper level of self-esteem. (Read “How Do Self-Love, Self-Esteem, Self-Acceptance Differ?”) Meditation and self-love help us practice presence and self-acceptance. There is evidence that high levels of mindfulness correlate with higher levels of self-esteem and more secure self-worth. In a meditative state, we can notice and disregard our self-judgments. We can practice presence in that timeless state and learn that moment-to-moment we can accept everything just as it is, including ourselves. This is liberating to us and anyone we encounter.
However, it’s not easy to always function at that level. Without years of practice and healing our past, we soon return to our habitual ways of being. We react and have expectations, frustrations, disappointments, fears, and anxieties.
Being authentic requires that we’re vulnerable. There are many uncomfortable feelings, needs, and states that are part of the human condition. It can be a challenge to be open and accept them all, especially if we have internalized shame. Practicing a loving presence with ourselves enables us to accept and allow whatever we’re feeling to flow through us without attachment. Doing so can heal us, as our habits and past conditioning wash away. Practicing self-acceptance also helps us to accept and not react to others.
We have opportunities throughout each day to accept, allow, and affirm our real self. That also means we may express ourselves, make requests, and set boundaries. We’re neither hiding nor emotionally reacting.
Get the Self-Love Meditation.
© 2021 Darlene Lancer
This article was originally published here, and is reprinted with the author’s kind permission.
Darlene Lancer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and expert on relationships and codependency. She’s the author Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You and Codependency for Dummies and six ebooks, including: 10 Steps to Self-Esteem, How To Speak Your Mind – Become Assertive and Set Limits, Dealing with a Narcissist: 8 Steps to Raise Self-Esteem and Set Boundaries with Difficult People and Freedom from Guilt and Blame – Finding Self-Forgiveness, also available on Amazon. Ms. Lancer has counseled individuals and couples for 30 years and coaches internationally. She’s a sought after speaker in media and at professional conferences. Her articles appear in professional journals and Internet mental health websites, including on her own, www.whatiscodependency.com, where you can get a free copy of “14 Tips for Letting Go.”