It’s funny how easy it is to accept certain aspects of ourselves, but not others. I’ve learned to accept living with stage IV cancer and commit fully to taking care of myself. But I don’t always accept my wrinkles—or my temper.
As a recent example, I was sitting by the fire the other morning, supposedly preparing my mind for a productive day. But inside I wasn’t. I was future tripping and brooding over all the ways that I needed to improve myself. As I caught myself thinking like this, I started feeling like a real phony as I remembered all the wise things I said about acceptance during my SuperSoul Sessions talk for Oprah.
I talked about how acceptance isn’t about giving up or amputating our ambition—it’s about owning our self-worth and loving ourselves, no matter what. That regardless of who comes and goes, or how our life unfolds, we never abandon ourselves. Especially in our times of need. Acceptance doesn’t mean that we stop growing, it means that we seek from a place of wholeness (knowing that we’re already enough), rather than a place of lack.
At this point, I realized that for the good of my mental health I needed to give myself a good talking to. It went something like this…
“For someone who yammers on about the power of accepting yourself, why are you constantly thinking you’re not good enough? It’s exhausting! What if you took your own advice and really accepted yourself? Like, ALL of yourself?”
As I thought about this, my shoulders relaxed, I took a deep, cleansing breath, and felt myself get off my own back. While this may not qualify as positive self-talk, it got the job done. Don’t you love it when you get messages from your soul?
Acceptance Isn’t About Settling
Acceptance isn’t about settling; it’s about owning your power—even when you feel powerless. The truth is we can’t be our best selves all the time. We’re flawed human beings, and life is our spiritual classroom—in all its messy, magical, uncertain, beautiful, tragic glory.
What if you stop trying to be better, and just be you—the real, foxy you? Still drink your green juice, but don’t be so obsessed about it that you miss your joy. Still seek, but don’t forget what’s already healthy and healed about you. It’s essential to our mental and emotional well-being that we practice the unconditional self-acceptance of our authentic selves.
Realize, as I did, that by accepting yourself more, rather than constantly rejecting yourself in an endless quest to be better, not only would life be sweeter, but you would be better able to accept others too.
The Importance of Our Faults
Accepting ourselves means knowing all parts of ourselves. That means, we know our strengths and weaknesses. This is uncomfortable because we are taught, practically from birth, to avoid our mistakes. Our mistakes lead to negative thoughts and feelings of shame and incompetence.
Unfortunately, when we avoid accepting our mistakes, we can’t identify our faults. And if we don’t identify our faults, we are missing out on opportunities to grow.
- If we don’t identify our faults, we don’t know what we need to learn to grow and improve.
- Without acknowledging our mistakes, we can’t empathize and feel compassion for others who make mistakes.
- We gain strength by overcoming our mistakes. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.