8 Ways To Happiness: Acceptance
"Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration of another's personhood."
- Karen Casey
3) Accept Yourself As You Are Right Now
Self acceptance is being loving and happy with who you are NOW. Some call it self-esteem, others self-love, but whatever you call it, you'll know when your accepting yourself cause it feels real good! Its an agreement with yourself to appreciate, validate, accept and support who you are at this very moment, even those parts you'd like to eventually change. This is key...even those parts you'd eventually like to change. Yes, you can accept (be okay with) those parts of yourself you want to change.
Motivation Behind Lack of Acceptance
If acceptance feels so good, then why don't we accept ourselves? Motivation. Motivation to get us to do, not do, be, and not be. Many people believe that if they accepted themselves as they are, they wouldn't change or that they wouldn't work on becoming more of who they want to be.
We hate ourselves for being fat to get ourselves to diet. We berate ourselves for mistakes to make ourselves more attentive. We feel guilty to make ourselves do what we think we should. We judge ourselves unfavorably with the hope it will motivate us to change. We hope if we feel bad enough about ourselves, that maybe that will motivate us to change.
Does this work? Hardly. All it does is...well, cause us to feel bad and feeling bad just saps your energy you might have used to make changes. It works exactly counter to what you wanted to do.
"Acceptance allows change. The "acceptance mode" includes everything, even my judgments. It allows me to be okay now, even before I reach my goals."
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"When you begin to accept yourself the way you are right now, you begin a new life with new possibilities that did not exist before because you were so caught up in the struggle against reality that that was all you could do."
So if it doesn't work, why do we keep doing it? Because we HOPE it will work. And if you don't know any other way to change, what options do you have? We've been trained to believe that in order to change, we need to first feel bad about it. That if we're accepting and loving of that particular quality, that we won't do anything to change the situation. Which is not true! You don't have to be unhappy with yourself to know and actively change those things you'd like to change about yourself. Acceptance is actually the very first step in the process of change.
What if you were to drop your value judgments and simply saw "what is" then identified what you wanted and why. It could totally transform your experience. What are the ramifications of doing so? Perhaps you would find a well of love for yourself and others that you never knew existed. Perhaps you'd notice the less you judge yourself, the less you judge others. And maybe, just maybe, the experience of acceptance would give you the solid foundation to move forward in creating yourself and your life the you've always dreamed.
Staff, H. (2008, December 17). 8 Ways To Happiness: Acceptance, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 9 from https://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/creating-relationships/8-ways-to-happiness-acceptance