What to do when you’re feeling not-so-great about yourself

Japanese acceptance and the kindest thing you can do for yourself

Kaki Okumura
5 min readFeb 15

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We all have tough weeks.

And sometimes bad things just feel like they coming wave after wave. Setbacks we could usually accept with compassion, sometimes begin morphing into a tsunami of self-loathing.​

Why did I do that?

I’m a terrible person

I’m so stupid, everyone thinks I’m incompetent

It almost seems silly writing it out like this, but in the moment those mean voices can feel so real.

Learning from Japanese values of acceptance

Being told to just “be positive”, while well-intentioned, can be considered its own form of rejecting our negative feelings.

Ironic as it is, sometimes the pressure to be positive can morph into its own form of criticism when you aren’t able to take on that optimistic outlook.

Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

Contrary to that, when it comes to managing life’s challenges, Japanese culture is often not about being positive all of the time, but takes on the perspective of acceptance, or ukeire.

You don’t need to see the bright side in everything, but first, try finding acceptance in it. Allow yourself to be as you are, and relax in that peace. Let it come, let it flow through you.

Applying self-care when you’re hurting

Like how we don’t ignore the pain and start twisting ourselves when we hurt our back, instead of letting negative thoughts run rampant, you want to calm it down.

Interrupt the negative thoughts, but in a way that is accepting of how you feel.

1. Text or call trusted loved ones

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Kaki Okumura

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: www.kakikata.space 🌱