Suggestions for students who struggle with self-acceptance

Written by: Omer Fallah Sarmast – Contributor and photographer at VASA OSUN


Art is a very powerful tool. It can help us express our emotions in different situations. In the recent years, concepts such as Art Therapy, expression of feelings through arts have become more famous. In this article we will discuss how arts can help is in self-acceptance and self-expression. In this article, we have also included some suggestions for students who might be struggling with self-expression and self-acceptance.

Before we jump into the question of how can we express our own feelings though arts or how can we accept ourselves through arts, let’s take a look at the arts produced by different artists. On a daily bases, we hear different types of music, see different paintings, photographs, graffiti, sculptures and other artistic things. If we take a look at the art and then study the artist, we can get an idea about the artist, his or her feelings and maybe even get to learn about their personality through the art that they produce. For example, most of the times if the songs of a singer is sad and if we see the interviews of that singer, or learn about his life background, we might find out that they have been through some difficult situations in life. For example, the American Singer (XXXtentacion), if we listen to his songs, he is talking a lot about sadness, depression, the use and abuse of drugs, not having enough help and many other topics that are concerning. This shows us how artists express themselves through art. Psychologists suggest that expressing feelings are always important for mental well-being. The more we share about our uncomfortable feelings, the better we feel and the calmer we get.

Moreover, expressing our feelings through arts can help us accept ourselves as well. How it works is basically, when we are no longer feeling shy about expressing our feelings truly and through art, we are sharing that feeling, whether it is just with ourselves or with public as well. When we draw a painting, when we write music, make beats, do some drawing, and we are showing our emotions in what we produce: this shows two things:

  1. One, that we have accepted and identified our feelings and that is how we feel
  2. Two, we are now self-expressing and sharing those feelings in an artistic form.

This can be very helpful in different situations. That is because, instead of continuing to think about the emotions that are making us feels stressed, anxious or sad, we are taking action. We are noticing how we feel, we are giving it a shape (the art forms) and we are expressing that or letting it out. It may not be as helpful as speaking with a therapist or speaking with a friend, but it does help us emotionally.


I personally learned a lot about these topics and ideas since I begun my studies at Bard College in Berlin. Before coming to BCB, I was not really aware of these kinds of ways of thought or self-expression and self-acceptance. However, as soon I made friends here I learned more about myself and about my interests, my likes and dislikes and learned more about my feelings. Sometimes people just don’t want to think about anything, they just want to get rid of their emotions by using drugs, getting aggressive, saying bad words and so on, but this is not the way to get rid of our emotions or feelings. We can’t suppress and ignore our feelings, because they will come back to us stronger. Instead we can write down our feelings and then we can make a song out if it, we can use a pencil and a piece of paper and draw our feelings. A person who always listens to sad music, He/she is a person who accepted that they are sad, and they are not trying to change it, because the accepted that this is who they are and how they feel and they have made peace with it. And, that is also a form of self-acceptance until they move on from that state. Thus, we can also describe self-acceptance as: It’s about knowing ourselves better. When we accepted who we are, we can find the real happiness in life, because we will know that what makes us happy.

At end, it is very important to first accept ourselves and then express our feelings otherwise we will face a lot of difficult situations and we might be in conflict with ourselves for a long time. A few quick tips for self-acceptance and self-expression is the following:

  • Embrace the unique person that you are. Everyone is different and that is why we are each special in our own ways. Don’t try to be someone that you are not. Instead, celebrate your quirks, flaws and be proud of who you are.
  • It is very important to let go of the things that you cannot change. Trying to control something that is not in our power will only make us exhausted and nothing will change.
  • Know your powers and weaknesses. Try to understand your feelings and notice them. Don’t force to change your feelings and don’t suppress your feelings.
  • Take some time to figure out what are your strengths and use them to make yourself and your life better and better.
  • Set SMART goals for yourself. You can start by small goals and move on to the bigger ones. This will give you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Take time to start working towards your goals, take breaks if you needed to. Don’t work too hard to have burn-outs.
  • Take care of yourself. This means, eat healthy, get enough sleep and have some kind of physical movement. When you take care of your physical and mental health, you develop a sense of love towards yourself.
  • Spend time with people who have accepted you as who you are, people who are supportive of you and your ideas.
  • Try to avoid negative self-talk. Instead embrace whatever feeling you have and work towards making your peace with it.
  • Most importantly, seek help and support whenever you feel the need for it.

That is all for this article. Until next time, take care and be well.

Note – If you would like to provide feedback and comments or ask questions related to the article, please feel free to contact the author:

Omer Fallah Sarmast: