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Walter J. Matweychuk, Ph.D.

Developing Unconditional Self-Acceptance

Self-Acceptance is the hardest to master REBT skill but may very well be the most important principal of REBT. Humans are so very inclined to measure themselves. Humans are inclined to measure their personhood. Some women or men may rate themselves if their husband or wife loves them and shows this love in specific ways. Some men rate themselves if their girlfriends or wives are “hot”. Some people rate themselves based on how many friends they have or how much money they make. Others use their body weight to rate their worth. Others yet still use a combination of things. One person might use this formula:

My worth = how well my children do in life + my body weight + how smart I am

Another person might use this formula:

My worth = how well I do at sports + if I am heterosexual + how smart I am

Yet a third person might use this formula:

My worth = the school I graduated from + how many books I published + how much money I make

Each of these formulas of worth is self-created and has no basis in reality. People are in a constant state of evolution. People have too many qualities to count and rate and sum up. People over a course of a life do too many things to rate and sum up.

Scoring or rating your “self” is counterproductive. It leads to depression, shame, guilt, and anxiety. Feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, worthlessness never help you lead a happy life and one in which you can meet all the challenges that come your way.

Therefore, if you have children and use their performance as your “score” your score will change over time. Similarly, if you use how many friends you have, your friends get married, and drift away your score will drift down. If you use your looks, you will age and unless you can afford great plastic surgery your worth or esteem score will drift down.

I hope I am showing you how senseless it is to rate yourself using ANY formula. REBT teaches that the road to emotional health is through unconditional self-acceptance. We argue never to rate YOU the person. When others criticize, you interpret that criticism as criticism of your BEHAVIOR even if they damned you and labeled you as they criticized you. The criticism of your behavior may be true or false. If it is true maybe, you will want to try to change your BEHAVIOR. However, changing behavior is hard. Humans do not change easily even when they want to change. Human behavior changes slowly and with great effort. REBT encourages you to see yourself as a fallible human. Do not rate yourself as good or bad, saint or sinner rate. Instead, rate your behaviors in the context of your goals and values so you learn how to change and improve your performances so you achieve your goals. Accept YOU as a person warts and all. Accept you with your strengths, talents, and blessings.

Keep in mind self-acceptance still enables you to be responsible. If you do something that is bad, wrong, mistaken, or illegal you and only you are responsible for the consequences. You cannot use self-acceptance as a defense. However, as you try to mop up your mistakes and face the music of your mistakes it helps if you do not engage in self-rejection. You will feel remorse or disappointment or even sorrow or concern for your bad, wrong, mistaken, or illegal behaviors but you will be in a far better position to make amends and change your ways if you are not self-rating, self-downing, self-rejecting YOU. If you want emotional well-being, then I strongly advise you to choose to accept yourself warts and all. Others may reject you but you NEVER have to reject you. Think about the usefulness of this.

Walter J. Matweychuk, Ph.D., New York
 Practice Locations
New York, NY 10016
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 Additional Information
Accepting New Clients:  Yes
In Practice Since:  1990
Sliding Fee Scale:  No
Prescribe Medication:  No
Evening Availability:  Yes
Weekend Availability:  Yes
Near Public Transport:  Yes
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Finding Happiness and Meaning Using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
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Developing Unconditional Self-Acceptance
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Last Modified: 12/31/2023  

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