1. I am acceptable primarily when I do well. When I do poorly, make mistakes, or error I am a bad person, less worthwhile, or less good.
2. I must do well to accept myself.
3. My personhood or essence can be rated, it should be rated, and it is good to rate it.
4. When I do well I must be anxious because I may stop doing well and then I will rate myself as bad, less worthwhile, etc.
5. Others must approve of me in order for me to feel worthwhile. I need external approval.
Unconditional self-acceptance rests on the idea that a person has worth that cannot be rated. The person chooses worth that does not change based on performance. When one does poorly, makes a mistake, or errors the act is rated but not the person who committed the act. The person is responsible for the error and will rightly feel sorry, displeased, remorse or other healthy negative emotions about what they did but not what they are. The individual rates the action not his personhood. This is a very practical philosophy as you will do well today but as a fallible human you may error tomorrow. Unconditional self-acceptance as a philosophy allows you not to believe you have to be anxious about future performances. You have a sense of confidence that if you error you will still have worth. You will strive to avoid errors because even with unconditional self-acceptance you are still responsible for your errors and therefore will try to avoid errors in order to have greater pleasure in life. Here are beliefs consistent with unconditional self-acceptance:
1. I am acceptable when I do well or poorly but there are many advantages to doing well so I will strive to do well. When I do poorly I will acknowledge my error but never rate my dynamic "self". My self is too complex to rate and it is ever changing and evolving. No one deed can validly be a measure of the worth of my “self,” my personhood, my essence.
2. I want to do well but can accept myself even when I do not do well.
3. My personhood or essence cannot be legitimately rated, and it is smart to not illegitimately rate my essence based upon arbitrary standards like good performance, moral behavior, or traits. Fallible humans will exhibit poor performance, immoral behavior and undesirable traits and these things never make us sub-human.
4. When I do well I will not feel anxious that I must continue to do well to feel good about me as a person because I now see my worth as a person is not defined by any single performance or set of performances. I will strive to continue to do well but as I do so I acknowledge that as a fallible human I may do poorly in the future. I will have sensible and healthy concern for my future acts but never define myself based upon my future acts.
5. I want others to approve of me but when I gain their approval that does not make me more worthwhile. When I lose others approval that is bad but it does not make me less worthwhile. What others think of me does not determine my worth. It is fine to strive to have others approve of me as when they do there will be benefits to having gained that approval. However, if I believe I absolutely need another's approval I will be prone to anxiety, depression, shame and guilt and will sometimes cover up my mistakes to avoid losing the approval I desperately "need."
Developing unconditional self-acceptance takes work. First think about the advantages of it and how it is more practical than conditional self-acceptance. Then consider the philosophical arguments for the validity of humans having unconditional self-acceptance. Finally, rehearse rational beliefs that lead to unconditional self-acceptance. Most importantly act in ways that reflect unconditional self-acceptance. Do not despair if it is difficult at first. Just work on giving up self-rating and strive to replace it with rating of your deeds, performances, and other components of the dynamic, complex self. Strive towards unconditional self-acceptance knowing that as a fallible human you will move in the direction of unconditional self-acceptance but never perfectly obtain a state of unconditional self-acceptance.