Today’s post comes from the oh-so wholehearted Mara Glatzel. I am wild about Mara’s energy and wisdom and am so excited to share her insights with you. Enjoy!
When I was younger, self-acceptance always felt a little broad and abstract to me. It was the thing that I put on my bucket list year after year, always shuttling itself to the end of the list out of my frustration over where to get started with it.
When I lived my life in a cloud of self-loathing, my days felt like they were planned and dictated by someone else, as if I was a remote controlled object relegated to completing the tasks of others. I desperately wanted the things that I saw around me – relationships worth having, occupations that were immersed in excitement and adventure, and a connection with my body that was effortless and natural.
Instead, I had a body that I didn’t understand and a life that I didn’t enjoy.
I wasn’t able to access any my understanding of self-acceptance, because I was trying to follow in the footsteps of those before me, instead of listening to my heart to guide my path.
I thought my self-acceptance needed to look like Geneen Roth’s or Tara Brach’s, or any other of the authors that I devoured page after page in an attempt to free myself from myself.
Because I didn’t think that I was worth much, I assumed that my thoughts and beliefs weren’t worth much either. Instead of trusting the voices emanating from my heart, I searched tirelessly for someone to fix me.
I was operating under these beliefs: I am broken, possibly beyond repair. It would take a full-blown miracle to transform myself into something worth loving. As a broken, fragmented object, my thoughts and intuition must inherently broken too.
I struggled, because I was trying to transform myself into something worth accepting, instead of starting where I was and moving from there. For years, I put off beginning my work with self-acceptance, because I was waiting for the miracle to come and save me from my life, to magically transform me into this beautiful and deserving person. That person would be worth loving. That person would be so effortlessly wonderful that the loving would come easily.
While I struggled, I never got there, because that person wasn’t me.
We are all lovable and deserving, each and every one of us, exactly as we are. When we set out on the grand task of cultivating our own definition of self acceptance, it is crucial to begin by digging into the material of our own lives, those parts of us that we know are good, and allowing our self-acceptance to take hold in those truths.
Our truths. Our beliefs. Our values. Our hidden talents. Our idiosyncrasies.
Your self-acceptance may not look like anyone else’s, because it is inherently about YOU – your life, your history, your uniqueness. When we begin to reframe our understanding of ourselves in this way, we are able to see that there are some things about ourselves that are deserving of love and care. Allow your self-acceptance to take root there, blossoming over time.
Allow your self-acceptance to be just as unique and colorful and beautiful as you are.
For today, think about those moments during your life that have made you feel genuinely good. Those moments that you look back at and feel a warmth and light in your body, as you recall feeling proud and beautiful and happy.
Those moments are the building blocks of your self-acceptance.
Today, whip out a pen and paper and consider these questions:
- I am at my best when…
- I feel brilliant, competent, and courageous when…
- People compliment me on my ability to…
- I really love ____ about myself.
Allow these moments, compliments, and talents create the backbone of your own personal definition of self-acceptance, rooted deeply in who you are and what you have to offer the world. This is your roadmap into the best parts of yourself. Dig in.
Then: When you’ve written out answers to these questions, go back and highlight or underline the sentences, memories, and sensations that stand out and truly resonate to you as important. Copy them out onto a fresh piece of paper to create YOUR definition of self-acceptance, those things about you that represent the best of what you have to give yourself and the world.
Bonus activity: Create a visual representation of your definition of self-acceptance, using whatever medium strikes your fancy. Employ quotes and words and colors that make you feel powerful and excited about your life. Hang it somewhere in full view, so that you can call upon your own power when you need it. Allow yourself to engage your deepest, most heartfelt creativity here. What have you survived? What are you grateful for? If you think of yourself as a house, what makes up the beams and support structure?
Permit your mind to wander: how might you be able to become more concise, more pared down, more closely aligned with your personal definition of self-acceptance?
1. What did you realize about self-acceptance today and this month?
2. What is your definition of self-acceptance?
3. How can you live with more self-acceptance in your life?
Remember, sharing your experience here in the comments get you entered for the final giveaway (a Karina dress!)!
Mara Glatzel is a self–lovecoach+ author of BodyLovingHomework: WritingPromptsforCultivatingSelf–Love. She works with women who are ready to create the lives they want — and deserve. Her blog —MedicinalMarzipan — has inspired thousands of women to heal their relationships with their bodies, and treat themselves with relentless compassion. Catch up with her on facebook,twitter, or join her body–lovingmailinglist for secret swapping and insider news.