We've all heard of self-love, but most people find it hard to even accept themselves fully. We are immersed in a culture of feeling "not enough." Yet, it is this very quality of self-acceptance that’s the foundation of inner peace, confidence, and even success, however you define that for yourself. The question is how to get there? Here are 3 pathways to self-acceptance.
1.Make Yourself a Non-Judgment Zone
Write down 3 things you like about yourself, and three things that bother you or make you feel bad. Take a moment to take in the things you like – really feel into it. These are usually easier to identify. Let whatever traits you appreciate fill you with a warm glow.
Next, the harder part. Take a page in your journal and split it down the middle into 2 columns. On the left side put the 3 things that bother you, and then on the right side, let’s go deeper.
For example: you might say it bothers me that I’m a procrastinator.
What you’re really saying is I love myself (even if self-criticism pops up.) From that place of self-acceptance, and holding yourself tenderly, it neutralizes the charge that would keep you stuck, Remove interference, and self-acceptance can move in. Then there’s much more room to ease into what is calling you forward.
MIndfulness -> Awareness/Insight -> Self-Acceptance
2.You are not a failure
Most people, especially those who seem to have it all together, have danced with failure. I love the quote by Arianna Huffington, “Failure is no the opposite of success – it is part of success.” In order to make any sort of progress, going from here to there, we have to, have to, have to GROW! Sometimes growth is easy, you feel like you’re in the flow, and sometimes it is rough. Everything you try doesn’t work as you’d imagined it. If you know that from the start, you will be much more resilient.
I can remember doing a new initiative for Project Happiness called the “Global Race for Wellness,” where we had people from all over the world walking, biking, swimming whatever to support our mental health curriculum in scholarship schools. It was so exciting to see all the participants, and all the prizes and materials we were able to give away. But at the end, I was devastated – I thought it was a failure; I felt like a failure too.
But people are not failures; it’s situations that may not work out. In this case, because we didn’t meet the fundraising goal I had in my mind, I could not even see all the great things that had happened. So what’s the lesson?
YOU, the essential you, your true nature, your soul is so much bigger than who you may think you are, bigger than any successes or failures you’ve experienced, bigger than the stories you have grown up with and have been socialized to believe. There is a part of you that is incredibly strong, peaceful, knowing, and full of love. Our work is to see through the limitations that would keep you small, feeling less than others, and not accepting the parts of you that feel scared or angry or sad. The irony is that once you can embrace all of your sides, the ones you are proud of and the ones that make you uncomfortable when you can look at them like a scared little kid part of yourself that just wants to know they are loved no matter what – that is when you will forgive yourself for not being perfect. You’ll melt into self-acceptance, and open into your expansive, strong and beautiful true nature. That is what I want for you, so accepting all of yourself is probably some of the most important work you can do.
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