We have connected relationships, thriving families, and awesome lives because we love and accept ourselves not the other way around.
Often, when I get started with my clients and they accept that to get what they want, they need to love and accept themselves, they ask me…”Umm, ok….so….how do I do that?”
You will hear about this again from me because I happen to believe that the path to blissful and peaceful living is the road called self-acceptance and self-love. I wrote about this at the end of last year as well.
Time to set our GPS to the intersection of Self-Acceptance Avenue and Self-Love Lane. Ready? Let’s go.
First, let’s explain how we got to where we are:
As young kids, we were either told explicitly or were smart enough to figure out that the way we would get acceptance and love from the “big” people around us was to modify our behavior – be more of who they want us to be and less of who they don’t want to us to be. Some of this is pure survival – we want to be accepted and belong. And some of this has gone too far and encroached into the space of us living our lives for the approval of others. As we get older, the parts of us that we rejected in order to be accepted by others sometimes start finding their voice and create the discomfort of us realizing that we are not living a life that is true to ourselves. Sometimes we find ourselves highly judgmental and critical of ourselves, sometimes of others, and sometimes both.
This awareness is the catalyst for us to take action. The first response is to stuff those feelings down and just keep busy. But the only path out of those dissonant feelings is to acknowledge, accept and ultimately love those parts of you that you rejected over the years. It’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. In fact, it’s really the path to personal freedom which is something most of us think we have, but very few actually do. Imagine what it would feel like to feel less blame and victimhood and more empowerment and freedom of choice. Imagine what it would feel like to be kinder to yourself and cut yourself slack instead of feeling so much pressure.
Alright, so if you are genuinely interested in knowing how to fully love and accept yourself, here goes.
Below are two resources for you to read that will help you really find your OWN way. I could tell you what worked for me, but the truth is, you will do better if you read through these articles and find a couple of things that resonate with you so you can commit to those first.
Okay, okay, since you probably want to know, I’ll tell you how I got started. My first few focus areas where to:
- Practice self-kindness – to talk more kindly to myself (I literally switched out my words from unkind to kind)
- Cut myself and others more slack (this was hard because I am tough on myself and mostly tough on my husband)
- Be gentle (I still put my hand on my heart when I feel like I need some gentle kindness and love – it’s my reminder)
- I also worked with an amazing therapist who helped me to do Byron Katie’s inquiry work to help me to discover all of the areas within me where I was judgmental and rejecting of myself. I highly recommend this work if you really want to experience personal transformation. It’s actually called The Work. This was the beginning of more deeply knowing who I really am in a more holistic way.
Before you start, you might want to do this Self-Acceptance Test on the Oprah website.
Now it’s time for you to discover how you will learn to love and accept yourself. Read these:
“Self-acceptance is an invitation to stop trying to change yourself into the person you wish to be, long enough to find out who you really are. Robert Holden has a 10-day plan to help you figure out who this self is that you’re supposed to be accepting and how to say yes to your life. True self-acceptance is motivated by the possibility of knowing what your true essence—the Unconditioned Self—is really like. ~ How Self-Acceptance Can Crack Open Your Life by ROBERT HOLDEN
“We’ve lived our lives with negative images of ourselves, from childhood on, and we’ve built upon those images, and built upon them, and they became very heavy weights. You know what I do? I love my thoughts to death.” ~ Being Kinder to Yourself by RAM DASS
Perhaps you can take a moment after reading through the 10 day plan and the Being Kinder to Yourself article and select 2-3 things you will focus on to be kinder, more gentle, more accepting and more loving towards yourself. It’s worth the effort. Please take a moment and post below – it sort of seals the deal with your psyche when you write what you are up to. And I want to know you better.
Much love to you as you find your way back to fully loving and accepting yourself.