Being compassionate and tolerant of oneself does not mean turning a blind eye to the outside world and giving up when things become hard. Instead, it means accepting who we are and the challenges we face. To love oneself unconditionally, you must occasionally act in the other way. It may include choosing the more challenging path when doing so serves your best interests. It is refusing to kick yourself while you are down or indulging in self-loathing, and instead using every ounce of strength to pull yourself back up after a fall. The difference is that when you strive, you do so from a place of love and contentment rather than from a place of fear and scarcity.

Failing to make an effort to cultivate self-acceptance sets us up for a life in which we may need constant reassurance, get trapped in jobs we hate or relationships that cause us harm, or find ourselves living with resentment.

So, how do we start developing self-acceptance?

It may seem easy, yet a lot of individuals live their lives without giving any thought to the behavioural patterns they exhibit that affect how they see the world. To build self-acceptance, we first need to understand who we are and who we want to be. That comes from practising self-awareness. We become self-aware through self-reflection. Keeping journals, going to a therapist or talking to friends can all help us to reflect on ourselves and our experiences in a way that enables us to learn more about who we are and why we do what we do. Self-acceptance involves listening to our own needs and meeting them. If we are not paying attention, we don't always pick up on the signs.

During that process, it's crucial to pay attention to the aspects of ourselves that make us happy and proud, as well as the aspects that we perhaps would rather ignore—the things we dislike, feel anxious or guilty about, or wish to change.  But if we are to learn from our reflections on the more challenging aspects of ourselves, we must approach them with the empathy of an observer.

When your inner critic has been a close, but unwanted companion for most of your life, it is almost impossible to simply decide to remove them. That well-practised action means those neural pathways are easily accessible to your brain. So that voice will speak up from time to time. What we need to do is provide ourselves with a new, healthier and more helpful voice, and then start practising.

Seeking therapy might be beneficial if thinking back on challenging situations causes strong emotions that interfere with our ability to think rationally.

Hypnotherapy sessions are solution-orientated and can help you paint the picture of self-acceptance. As with most changes, the action comes first and the feeling comes later. So living a life in which you feel a sense of self-worth means making it a life practice. The work is never done. You never arrive. You do the work every day to live in line with unconditional self-acceptance.