A Personal Exploration
Imagine lacking gratitude for who you are. Imagine always pressuring yourself… onwards, for ‘more’, and for ‘better’. Imagine always finding fault with, or rarely encouraging. Well, loving and accepting yourself is NOT doing that…
Love and Acceptance: Introduction
Hmm, to love and accept yourself. It sounds such a natural thing, doesn’t it – self-love and acceptance – and it is, it is a natural thing to do and to be. So why, then, is it simultaneously soooo hard to actually practice?
Hmm. Let me think about that for a moment…
The Problems With Love And Acceptance
Well. It’s probably okay for you and I to accept what we think is wonderful about ourselves (though some may struggle even with that). But what’s really hard is accepting our failings, our flaws, ESPECIALLY when we can’t see them so clearly, but others can!
THIS, then, is the struggle, I believe, with self-love and self-acceptance; this is why we find it such a difficult a place to live:
- It means us being okay that we are nervous, sometimes; being okay when we feel lonely
- It means being okay when our symptoms of low self esteem rear their ugly head, as they will always do (from time to time)
- It means being okay with ourselves when we find some social situations difficult, whilst others seem to glide right through them
Self-acceptance and self-love means being okay even when we’re not, actually, feeling okay.
And this is even harder to do, when you bear in mind our almost masochistic tendencies to compare our ‘worst’ behaviour (thoughts and feelings) with others’ best. Naturally, it doesn’t make comfortable viewing that particular always-on TV channel!
“What’s to love and accept about that?” we think to ourselves.
Hmm, I’m starting to see why this self-love and self-acceptance gig – how to love and accept yourself – is not the easiest job in the world!
Still, You CAN Love And Accept Yourself!
All is not lost, though, when it comes to loving and accepting yourself fully.
Well it’s all about this little when-then combination, see! WHEN…
- When we let ourselves have good days AND bad days,
- When we relax into who we are fully being in the moment – warts and all
- When we’re okay with listening to what people really think about us – good, bad, and indifferent
- When we can make mistakes, when we can fail, and when all that’s required of us is to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, and carry on regardless
- When we can accept that we are flawed human beings, and our flaws are likely to show up from time to time
When all that, THEN…
- Then we are much more likely to give of our best, more of the time, to take part, to ‘play to play’
- Then we relax into ourselves more – we smile, we giggle, we stop trying so hard
- Then – much more importantly – then we will be loving and accepting ourselves…
HOW: Know This About Yourself!
So, okay, what sort of person is completely at ease with what others say about them, you might ask.
Well – good question! – here’s the thing about that particular brand of human interaction, that feedback-cum-criticism-cum-“only telling you this because it’s true!” routine.
Here’s the thing. It’s my belief that we never value other people’s opinions of us more than our own. We just think that we do. Truth is, if someone says something ‘horrible’ about us, AND (deep down) WE BELIEVE IT TO BE TRUE, too, then it ‘hurts’ us!
And so the amount we don’t think it’s true at all is the amount we can genuinely be curious as to why someone would say such a thing.
(Even better – if what they’re saying is true – you could be curious as to why you would behave this way! Be curious, be acknowledging, and that’s it!)
So, these people are actually doing you a favour, because they’re shining a light on what you think about yourself. This is what I believe, anyway. (I talk more about being grateful for such feedback in this previous post: welcome your suffering.)
HOW: All Anyone Need Do… (The Antidote!)
Well, and I’m nearly done encouraging myself here (because I always write these posts with ME in mind, first), ALL that anyone has to do, ever – no matter where you find yourself on this journey called life – is to love and accept ALL of who you are.
Then your life will be so much more liberating – it will be filled with so much more possibility – and you will be happier because of it …
Then you will notice, miraculously so, how you start to love and accept others.
Then any ‘personal change’ you might still need to make will come naturally to you, because you no longer feel the need to hold onto negative, defensive, limiting patterns of behaviour.
That’s what I say, anyway; so much so, that this is the only ‘personal change’ I’m looking to create for myself now. I want to open myself to living life fully:
- Which means sometimes making mistakes,
- Which means sometimes looking foolish,
- Which means sometimes ‘failing’,
- Above all, though, it means LIVING!
And it also means being myself as much as I am able, and fully embracing all that life will offer me as I open up to it. That is:
- Letting new love in,
- Letting new friendships in,
- Letting new business possibilities in, too…
- LETTING LIFE IN!
After all, life is – to say the very least – a truly fascinating experience…
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