In any given moment, we are either accepting or rejecting ourselves. It is that level of self-acceptance and our feelings about our own worthiness that determine how happy and whole we feel.
Acceptance is one of those things most of us struggle with. Perhaps we did not experience a supportive environment in our childhood and as a result grew up believing that we are just not good enough, that we don’t deserve much anything. Or maybe it is our refusal to forgive ourselves for our mistakes or limitations that blocks us from being able to accept ourselves fully. Whatever our story is, we often doubt our intrinsic goodness, our worthiness, our lovability. We judge ourselves harshly, subconsciously denying ourselves love, compassion, and, ultimately, acceptance.
But what if you started believing that you are worthy of love and belonging just because you exist, because you were born into this human family and therefore belong by your very nature? What if you adopted a belief that you’re lovable, beautiful, and amazing simply because you are you? Yes, you! You are not broken, damaged, or lost. You don’t need to be fixed – there is absolutely nothing wrong with you!
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”~ Sharon Salzberg
I truly believe that inner peace, happiness and wholeness starts with developing a loving friendship with ourselves. Being present and accepting ourselves unconditionally gives us inner strength, a home base we can come always come back to. And it’s the fist step to deeply loving and caring for ourselves and others.
Self-acceptance means that we embrace all of ourselves – the positive parts we’re proud of, but also our weaknesses, limitations, deficiencies. This is never easy, but unless we consciously practice self-acceptance, we’ll perpetuate self-rejection & self-abandonment.
Acceptance heals. Rejection hurts.
Self-judgment, self-criticism, perfectionism, self-blame, approval seeking, people pleasing – all of these behaviors are self-rejecting, moving us further away from our essence and away from self-acceptance. This self-abandonment disconnects us from our dreams, desires, needs, deep love. We constantly say no to ourselves. Our lives are full of self-doubt, anxiety, indecision, playing safe. We search outside ourselves for validation, approval and authority. We end up living in our head, feeling disconnected, alone, helpless, incapable, defeated, disembodied from our true nature-our essence.
“Spiritual awakening is the process of recognizing our essential goodness, our natural wisdom and compassion.” ~Tara Brach
Once we accept that the good in us exists alongside the not-so-good, we can start transforming our lives. Just as we care for our bodily wounds, we can care for our emotional wounds & destructive habits, in a healing attitude of kindness and compassion. We grow and change not because we want to “fix” our inefficiencies, but because we deeply care for our well being.
Mindfulness can help us find our way to unconditional love and acceptance. With practice, we learn to accept and allow, and always come back home, to ourselves. No matter what thoughts and feelings come up, we practice having the courage and compassion to stay with our own discomfort knowing that it will pass, and that we have the inner strength and wisdom to overcome and start again.
If you’re struggling with acceptance, try to visualize your highest and best self (your inner parent, healer, enlightened being) that lies deep within you and ask him or her for guidance. Tap into that wisdom that already lies within you, feel it wrap you up in healing energy and comfort. Be still and listen in. This is your home. Your refuge you can always come back to.
The Path to Self-Acceptance
- Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses
- Appreciate how far you have come
- Cultivate self-compassion
- Let go of guilt & shame
- Learn to forgive yourself
Self-acceptance deeply affirms our true essence, allowing us to show up more fully in our lives. The more we accept ourselves, the stronger we become – we understand that we are powerful and capable of facing everything. We believe in our intrinsic goodness and okey-ness. We accept our limitations seeing them as opportunities for growth. We’re not afraid to show up, expose our vulnerabilities or sensitivities. We are willing to ask for help, listen to feedback, depend on others, take risks, open our hearts, live fully.
Our worthiness is our birthright. We don’t have to earn it or do something to deserve it. Our natural worthiness – our essential, innate goodness – is already inside us. It can be our foundation for being truly present for our lives, riding the ups and downs of experience, without being consumed by it, giving us tremendous freedom and inner strength.
We have a deep capacity to heal and grow, so come back to yourself often and let your inner goodness wash over you!
You’re worthy of putting yourself first!
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