Sometimes there are features/aspects of our personalities and/or bodies which we may have trouble accepting. This lack of acceptance can make living in a conscious way almost impossible; as it is difficult to do so when we live focused on all our challenges.
Learning to teach ourselves to escape this vicious cycle is going to take time and lots of patience–in this day and age it seems we are more willing to be patient with others than we are with ourselves. If we truly desire to permanently escape the old way of thinking, we need to be willing to focus on accepting ourselves; the good and bad.
In today’s society we are so focus on wanting to portray our life as if it were perfect. None of us are perfect, hence our lives cannot be so. We seem to be blinded by this irrational idea of perfection, thinking it will make us unique. How could it possibly make us unique when everyone is trying to do it? To be unique and beautiful we have to accept ourselves for who we are, not for who others would want us to be. There is a beauty in imperfection which surpasses any “perfect” personality/body out there.
We are so focused on fitting into a cookie cut version of perfection that we miss most of life’s beautiful moments. There is a freedom on being you, it allows you to relax and to attract others like you, who will understand and love you for who you truly are. So what if you are not perfect? For me I went from fully accepting myself to distrusting myself and my choices (due to personal history); it took me a long time to accept myself again…the more I embrace the process of healing and my own quirks, the more I am falling in love with my own uniqueness. I am an imperfect human, I get angry, I am a hopeless romantic, I am opinionated, etc. I express my emotions as they are. Sometimes the way I express love can be considered by others too “teenage like” or too “romantic”…who cares? It makes me happy. I know my uniqueness lies on the fact that despite my history, I have managed to salvage the magick of wonder from childhood, the idealism and romanticism from adolescence and the strength and wisdom of adulthood–why should I feel ashamed of characteristics of mine which do not hurt anyone? It is beautiful to be able to relax and just be me, to express my emotions in a way which makes my heart and soul soar and to know those who know me and love me get it. Why should I be concerned about the opinion of people who don’t have a clue as to who I really am as a person? Likewise, why should you be concerned with what some stranger thinks of you?
Society mostly teaches us to hide anything that does not fit the norm, so how do we go about accepting those aspects/features of ourselves which we have been taught not to like, in a complete and unreserved way? Well there are many ways, all which start with doing some work on ourselves. This may mean seeking the help of someone else to help us revise our wounds, our past, our present and the circumstances which has brought us to this point in our lives. Another way is to make positive affirmations part of our daily routine. Canadian Psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden recommends we daily repeat the following affirmation to ourselves: “I accept myself completely and without reservations, regardless of any defects and imperfections”. Changes won’t happen right away; we need to be conscious that years of bad programming will not be erased overnight, but if we commit to accepting and putting ourselves first, positive changes will happen…more and more we will feel free and loved.
By accepting all aspects of ourselves does not equate to liking, promoting or enabling that which might be detrimental to ourselves, neither does it mean we are not wishing and willing to make the necessary changes. Accepting simply means accepting the reality of who we are without any denial or self rejection; when we do this, we surrender to our “true” reality and only from there can we move forward, overtime feeling more comfortable with ourselves.
When we accept ourselves with all our light and darkness, our strength increases as we no longer have to constantly be battling reality. Our fears, defects, darkness will not disappear because we shout or hide, pretend or reproach ourselves. If we open ourselves up to experiencing both sides of us with and attitude of acceptance we give way to change. Over time, sincere acceptance tends to erase any negative attitudes and behavior we may have. Here is an example I found to illustrate what I’ve just said: Let’s pretend you know someone who is usually afraid. If when triggered you simply tell that person to relax and stop being afraid, your advise will be of no use; that person is already triggered and will not know how to transform your advise into behavior. If instead you show that person acceptance, hence teaching that person to accept self with all fears, you are more likely to get a positive response.
Instead of telling a person to just relax, advise the person to breathe softly and deeply. Ask the person to imagine how she would feel if she was not afraid; if she can, ask her to describe her feelings during a time when she was not afraid. When you do this you are proposing something executable, something that feels within the person’s control, something that person has already experienced. Doing this can help the person give herself permission to accept the fear, to open up to it, to understand it and finally face it. There is an old proverb which says “That which we resist, persists. Only when we begin to accept it, the situation changes”.
Accepting ourselves does not mean we do not want to evolve or that we think various aspects of our lives where change is needed should not be improved upon. All acceptance does, is focus on what we love about ourselves while at the same time being aware of what we do not like; by doing this we can start to evolve and produce permanent changes/improvements on negative thoughts/behavior.
Self acceptance is the precondition for change. Only when we accept who we are entirely and what we feel, we give ourselves permission to be conscious of our choices and actions. When we accept ourselves for who we are, we accept what we think, feel and do as expressions of our “I” at the moment they occur. Keep in mind one cannot overcome something which one chooses to deny. Let us keep in mind that when one fights against a blockade it does not weaken, instead it becomes stronger; however when we recognize it and accept it, it begins to disappear.