You have to love yourself.
Women hear this adage and they panic.
“But love is so big, so total, so absolute,” we think. “And sometimes I don’t really like what I did or what I look like. Doesn’t self-love just give me a way to let myself off the hook over and over again?”
“But I am so imbedded in hate that there is not even a road to self-love from here. If I cannot even see how to get there, there is no point in even trying.”
“I’ve lived in this place of self-loathing for so long that I know exactly what I get while living here. If I try to make a journey to self-love, I have to leave the familiar and I don’t want to venture into the unknown.”
And because we believe self-love is a liar or far away or too unfamiliar (really it is meant for those ladies on magazine covers and not for me), we just don’t even think about going there.
What if it didn’t have to be that scary or daunting? What if you could find a much healthier way to be with yourself?
What if you could just be self-accepting? Self-accept-what?
Self-acceptance is our decision to NOT have an adversarial relationship with ourselves.
Self-acceptance is a way of treating ourselves with respect and reacting to what we face in life with perspective.
Self-acceptance is being our own ally, our own advocate, our own coach.
Self-acceptance is a way of being in the world that honors our worth.
Self-acceptance is our refusal to pick ourselves apart, an awareness that our challenges are as much a part of ourselves as our strengths, a conclusion that everything we do and face is a unique expression of ourselves and a beautiful lesson.
Self-acceptance doesn’t allow us to beat ourselves up or build our confidence on a house of cards. Self-acceptance is grounded in authenticity. It is real.
And it is inherently, personally kind because it understands that to be unkind to ourselves is to undermine ourselves. Self-acceptance honors the fact that when it comes down to it, we are all that we’ve got, and it doesn’t want us to get lonely. It doesn’t want us to get off track, it doesn’t want us to get lost. It is a way for us to always be found.
When we are self-accepting, we see everything as information and we yearn to understand why we do what we do. We aren’t afraid to experience what is in front of us– we know that the pain is not meant to crush us but to teach us and that the joys are meant to feed us but don’t excuse us from anything. The change in our weight doesn’t add to or diminish our value. Neither does a tan, a hair cut, a college degree, a partnership. Self-acceptance means that our sense of ourselves doesn’t change because of external circumstances. Self-acceptance means that our internal parameters keep things more even because we are our own gauge.
The most essential thing in practicing self-acceptance is that by embracing this idea, we inherently want what is best for ourselves- which is not to say that we want what is best for ourselves at the expense of anyone else or ourselves. It is to say that we aren’t willing to disregard any part of ourselves as unworthy or not me or bad or a mistake and that we are willing to keep trying, to learn and grow. It means we see life and ourselves as a process and that we understand that processes are beautiful life affirming acts and not indications of weakness or unworthiness. Self-acceptance isn’t giving in or giving up. It is life giving. When we give it to ourselves, it changes everything.
When you hear the phrase self-acceptance, what comes to mind? What would self-acceptance look like in your life? How would living with self-acceptance inform your life?