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The amount of self-acceptance you have could be linked to how bully-proof you are.

If you look back at bullying experiences that you have overcome, what would you say has changed? For example, when i was at school, people used to make fun of a mole on my left cheek. However, i grew to appreciate it as I got old and now no one could bully me about it and no one ever tries. If they did I would be able to laugh them off.

Therefore, it is a good time to give yourself a self-acceptance MOT. Acceptance and confidence are not the same thing.

In terms of bullying in the workplace, here is an article with a few tips, but mostly about a book by Aryanne Oade.

What is the difference between acceptance and confidence?

Acceptance is anything you do not want to change. We do not need to change our faults as they are part of what make us a human being. It seems as if confidence gets all the press, while acceptance works away behind the scenes. Acceptance is allowing things to be how you are. If you look at the word acceptance it has the word accept in it meaning “to receive” or “to take” or something having access. It is allowance and letting things go as they want to.

Confidence is the ability to say whatever you want to say without worrying about what other people think, or seeming to. We all show confidence in something we are good at, no matter what people say. If you look at the word, it contains “to confide” in it, showing that people will give you information. As the expression goes “information is power”. Information also breeds confidence.

Acceptance drives confidence.

Have you ever met someone who seems very confident but claims to have low-self esteem? Does this person ever talk about their flaws or their faults? If they seem confident, it is very likely that they will do. Also, they will not try and be perfect or to hide any part of themselves from you.

How can someone learn to accept themselves? This seems particularly difficult when someone keeps pointing out your faults or criticizing you? However, why do they do that? If you can more information about someone it give you more confidence. They might have lost someone they loved or received bad news.

This doesn’t help with regular bullies, though. That is what we can now dissect.

A personal account

As a young person I felt very wrong. It seemed as if I had to try harder than everyone else but i still got all the flack. The harder I tried, the more I felt like a scapegoat for everybody else’s problems. This drove me on a quest of self improvement. No matter how much I read or learned, it still seemed as I would be picked out for attack from others.

The result of this was that I got very anxious when speaking in groups of people. This could easily be attributed to being hard of hearing as I found it extra difficult to hear what people were saying in groups. Having one to one phone conversations was always much easier.

As I read books such as The Power of Now to be in the moment, or Daring Greatly to stop trying to be perfect and be more open or Men’s Search for Meaning to find a life purpose, I still got anxious with lots of people around. It seemed as if people didn’t really think about what they were saying. Communication was becoming like a minefield and traversing it was increasingly hazardous.

Isolation to Acceptance

One thing that makes it hard to imagine accepting oneself is feeling different or alone. If we lack confidence expressing ourselves, it becomes much harder to give people information about what is going on. This leaves us feeling unsatisfactory, unacceptable, ridiculous or just plain wrong.

To me, it felt as if life was very unfair. There seemed to be one set of rules for me and a different set for everyone else. Job interviews became increasingly difficult, the more I needed to earn a living so I had to do something. I took up stand-up comedy.

Attempting comedy in front of a live audience certainly helped with the job interviews. However, when listening to other comedians, I still felt different and wrong. No one seemed to really understand so I could never talk about. So I went to see a therapist.

Surprising Results

In all the reading, thinking and changing approach and attitude, I still felt very anxious when speaking in front of a group of people. When the anxiety totally consumed me, it all went awry. There didn’t seem to be anything that would cure it.

However, the therapist i went to see was also a hearing aid wearer. She could see the point of view of someone who could not hear easily and provided me with many pieces of information that I had never found before. These were about why people behaved as they did, how people worked and about boundaries.

Understanding how people worked led to me speaking up more, which yielded positive responses, which encouraged me to speak up more often. I noticed that people who respected me stuck around and people who took advantage of me didn’t like it and walked away. What stopped happening, which I was most scared about, was upsetting people unintentionally and them cutting me off without explanation.

Speak Up for Myself

The result of the silent snubbing was that I tried harder, said what people wanted to hear, listened to other people’s problems and didn’t speak up for myself. However, that steel exterior didn’t hold forever and every so often I had a complete meltdown.

The result was that I learned to accept myself much more. I understood people better, found it easier to see things from others’ points of view and this was very revealing. It led me to feel much less alone, different, wrong and isolated. Looking back, this year of therapy from Alison led me out of isolation and blaming myself for everything to learning how to accept many things about myself.

I wrongly thought that I completely accepted myself. However, there are always better to have those golden moments of self-discovery to look forward to.

In 2011 I moved to Cornwall and by chance ended up working for a local art space and making a new friend, who seemed very confident, open, ability to be vulnerable, accepting and funny. I went from being resentful towards my family for not supporting and encouraging me in my creative pursuits to starting to open up and say things I had never dared reveal about myself before.

Reality Better Than Inside our Heads

Some of the worst bullying, brutality, criticism, judgement, unfairness and unkindness happens inside our own heads. We can all have negative thoughts sometimes. Perhaps with a hangover or when our plans have been thwarted or after hearing bad news.

Escaping a bullying voice inside our own heads is a crucial first step to self-acceptance. However, it is the hardest and the biggest step. It is definitely leaving our comfort zone permanently and never going back.

If you search for “self-acceptance” online, it is very likely you will find preachy articles telling you to do what you know to do but haven’t discovered how. However, there are some very helpful articles out there, which I found that provide some seldom spoken secrets to self acceptance.

This article on the Tiny Buddha website by Francesca Harris introduces the one difference she made to her life that led her to complete self acceptance.

Part Self-Acceptance Can Hide the Truth

There were signs that other people could see and tried to point out to me that I didn’t completely accept myself. But these were in my blind spot. I had decided that stage fright was because of my personality and had given up trying to find out what caused it.

Not accepting myself completely was actually not accepting myself at all. Whenever someone asked me why I exhibited so many anxious behaviours such as drinking lots of alcohol in social situations I didn’t know what to do. I thought it was because most people were too selfish or thoughtless. Naturally, when an argument occurred with a friend, I could not see how I was responsible. I thought because I had done loads of work on myself, read books, gone to therapy and as I accepted myself, it must be their fault.

Without realizing it, I had given up my quest for self-discovery. I had stopped looking into my lowering self-esteem, erratic stand-up comedy performances and drinking more alcohol around certain people to ask why. I had mistakenly accepted my lifelong idiosyncrasy, winding off-topic and going around the houses as something that I couldn’t change.

Complete Self-Acceptance to Become Bullyproof

The last step before the realization that I could choose not be bullied required the uncomfortable realization that there was one aspect of me that I didn’t accept. Therefore, it felt as if I was being bullied when this aspect was revealed. A friend could not understand why I reacted to her more than to another friend. I struggled to explain that the other person was coming from a place of acceptance. I tried saying it was tone of voice, but that wasn’t it.

Firstly, I felt that I got caught in a vicious circle of lack of confidence. In other words, in group situations, I lacked confidence in the conversation – something I had worked on to improve but never accept. I felt as if people, friends, my father, step family and brother could all dominate me when I lacked confidence. I felt manipulated, but here’s the interesting thing: I was manipulating other people to try to get them to understand my point of view without seeing theirs.

This was the thing I most despised: I was asking for “special treatment” whereas this is the one thing that hides the truth from us. I thought that because I lacked confidence in certain situations that people could be more kind and understanding as that was my strategy to try and stop people pushing my more sensitive buttons. I was protecting my Achilles Heel.

The Final Realisation

As was very wisely written by ancient Persians and since, “others are merely a mirror of you’. This is interesting as I always forget I see the mirror before I see me. Every time. Therefore, I saw that another person didn’t accept themselves and then the realisation came: that I didn’t accept myself. I may have accepted many things about myself, but there was a core part of me that I didn’t accept.

Therefore, to become completely bully-proof I had to choose to accept myself completely, even things I didn’t like about myself. I had never admitted before that I didn’t like, and got very annoyed with myself about, not being able to express myself well sometimes.

After remembering a friend saying that the things that annoyed them about me were what annoyed them about themselves, I came to the final realisation that I hadn’t come to accept myself completely. Therefore, I still experienced bullying when the part of me I didn’t accept emerged to the surface.

Here are the changes that could happen to your life in areas that you accept according to Lifehack. That is why they say “resistance is futile” or “what you resist persists”.

In terms of bullying in the workplace, here is an article with a few tips, but mostly about a book by Aryanne Oade.

Here is a website all about becoming bullyproof

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