The Practicality of Self Acceptance

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Accepting yourself is acknowledging, without judgments, the realities of your inner and outer environments. Just like store owners take inventory to see what they have, we can take inventory of our life. What we find is what and where we currently are. If we refuse to work with our inventory, we have nothing to work with.

A store inventory will reveal items liked and disliked. It does not matter; everything goes on the list. Taking a self-inventory you will find qualities liked and disliked, maybe loathed. It does not matter; it all goes on the list. For example, your generosity gets listed, and so does your impulsive overspending.

When a store inventory is completed, owners can decide what to do next, because they know what they have. The list may not be stellar, but it is accepted as the truth about what is in the store.

Self acceptance is not a feeling. It is the truth about your life so far, and a practical tool for personal development.

“All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was.  I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory.  I was naïve.  I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer.  It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with:  that I am nobody but myself. ~ Ralph Ellison (from Battle Royal)

Accepting that you are no one but yourself, warts and all, makes life lighter. Life tends to expand when we release negative thoughts and feelings about ourself. This also does wonders for the capacity to show compassion. When accepting yourself, it follows to accept others.

Acceptance does not change the fact that each of us takes on different roles. Teachers, clerks, landscapers, or dentists are all roles that people play. Our roles require us to accommodate others, meaning we cannot always say and do what we would like. For example, a store clerk might think the shirt you are buying is ugly enough for the dumpster, but to stay employed, they stay mum.

Self acceptance is about your relationship with yourself, about being honest with yourself, whatever roles you play.

“Learn to... be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not.”  ~ Henri Frederic Amiel


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