Skip to main content
Log in


The present article will focus on the cognitive theory of mindfulness and its importance in achieving unconditional self-acceptance. The goal of the mindful perspective is to increase cognitive flexibility and to thereby increase behavioral flexibility and the ability to adapt to one’s current environment in a meaningful manner. Empirical evidence spanning four decades attests to the beneficial effects of a mindful vs. mindless perspective. The article will focus on the following aspects of mindfulness as they apply to self-acceptance: the importance of authenticity, the tyranny of evaluation, the benefits of mistakes, the mindlessness of social comparison, the trap of rigid categories, and the acceptance of self as a mindful choice. The article concludes with a number of mindfulness applications geared toward enhancing self-acceptance.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Carson S., Langer E. (2004). Mindful practice for clinicians and patients. In: Haas L. (ed.), Handbook of primary care psychology. London, Oxford, 173–186

    Google Scholar 

  • Chanowitz B., Langer E. (1981). Premature cognitive commitmentJournal of Personality and Social Psychology 41: 1051–1063

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • DePaulo B. M., Kashy D. A., Kirkendol S. E., Wyer M. M., Epstein J. A. (1996). Lying in everyday lifeJournal of Personality and Social Psychology 70: 979–995

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gutierres S. E., Kenrick D. T., Partch J. J. (1999). Beauty, dominance, and the mating game: Contrast effects in self-assessment reflect gender differences in mate selectionPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25: 1126–1134

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ho, D. (1999). Alexander Fleming. Time Magazine, 153, 117–119. March 29, 1999

  • Hussain M. S., Langer E. (2003). A cost of pretendingJournal of Adult Development 10(3): 261–270

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Isen A. M. (2000). Positive affect and decision making In: Lewis M., Haviland-Jones J. M. (eds). Handbook of emotions. 2nd edn. New York,Guilford Press

    Google Scholar 

  • Kawakami C., White J. B., Langer E. J. (2000). Mindful and masculine: Freeing women leaders from the constraints of gender rolesJournal of Social Issues 56(1): 49–63

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Langer E. (1989). Mindfulness Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley

    Google Scholar 

  • Langer E. (1997). The power of mindful learning Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley

    Google Scholar 

  • Langer E. (2005). On becoming an artist: Reinventing yourself through mindful creativity. New York, Ballantine Books

    Google Scholar 

  • Langer E. J., Janis I., Wolfer J. (1975). Reduction of psychological stress in surgical patientsJournal of Experimental Social Psychology 11: 155–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Langer E. J., Moldoveanu M. (2000). The construct of mindfulnessJournal of Social Issues 56(1): 1–9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Langer, E., & Pietrasz, L. (1995). From reference to preference. Unpublished manuscript: Harvard University

  • Langer, E., Steshenko, Y., & Cummings, B. (in preparation). Mistakes as a mindful cue

  • Lockwood P., Kunda Z. (1997). Superstars and me: Predicting the impact of role models on the selfJournal of Personality and Social Psychology 73: 91–103

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roth D. L., Snyder C. R., Pace L. M. (1986). Dimensions of favorable self- presentationJournal of Personality and Social Psychology 51: 867–874

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shapiro, A. (2003). Scared straight! DVD, New Video Group

  • White, J., Langer, E., Yuriv, L., & Welch, J. (in press). Frequent social comparisons and destructive emotions and behaviors: The dark side of social comparisons. Journal of Adult Development

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shelley H. Carson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Carson, S.H., Langer, E.J. Mindfulness and self-acceptance. J Rat-Emo Cognitive-Behav Ther 24, 29–43 (2006).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words: