Interview On Acceptance
Q: What do you mean when you say "accept yourself"?
A: I'm saying that it's very beneficial when you love yourself. Accepting something is kind a like awareness with love. Accepting yourself is giving your consent. It's an openness to receive. It's a very different feeling than resignation.
Q:How is acceptance different than resignation?
A: When I think of the times I've been resigned to something, it had a feeling of hopelessness and despair attached to it. Like I was powerless in my life to create what I wanted. Acceptance has a very different feeling. It's powerful and self affirming.
I'm not talking about giving lip service to the word "accept", but to really truly believe that the thing you're accepting is okay. That's different than resignation which is thinking something is bad, being unhappy about it, yet accepting it as reality you are powerless to change.
Q:Are you saying I should accept even the parts of me I KNOW are wrong?
A: I'm not saying you SHOULD do anything. I'm saying if you'd like to be happier, self acceptance is a step in that direction. "Accept" means to receive with consent. I don't see how it's possible for someone to be happy while loathing aspects of themselves. It's difficult to experience happiness and hatred at the same time. In the very same moment of time.
And just because there are things about yourself you'd like to change, doesn't necessarily mean that aspect of you is "wrong". It's just not what you want to be. There's a difference.
Q:What's the difference between saying "this is wrong" and "this is not what I want"?
A: The difference is in the intention. One is judgmental, the other is not. Saying "this is wrong" implies there is a "right" way to be before you can truly love yourself. If you judge something about yourself as wrong, you're implying whether consciously or not, that you have to be a certain way before you can be loved. I don't know of any "right" way to be. There is only you being you and what you want.
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Q:Well society thinks there's a right way to be.
A: I think you'll find once you get clear about who you are, what your personal principles are, and truly accept ALL of yourself, that society isn't all that interested in how you behave as you might think. Society has laws to curb behavior we've decided we don't want, and you may have some implied social norms, but you'll be surprised how little it cares about how you live your life.
Besides, society isn't living your life, you are. In the end, your becoming more accepting of yourself will immediately cause you to be more accepting of others, which only enriches a community of individuals. When you focus on accepting, loving and being happy with yourself, that state of mind spreads to all those around you.
"Everybody says it is good to meditate,
and so you feel bad if you don't do so.
The challenge of loving the self is to step aside
from every thing you are told, and ask,
"Does this fit me? Does this bring me joy?
Do I feel good when I do it?"
It is ultimately your own experience that counts."
Q:Okay, well how do I go about accepting myself more?
A: I think it's useful to know why you don't accept yourself in the first place. Knowing your motivations can give you insight and sometimes eliminate any ill feelings you have towards those parts of yourself.
Q:What do you mean by motivation? Like why I want to accept myself?
A: No, I'm referring to why you DON'T accept yourself. There's a reason, always a reason, for the things we do and feel. Each person will have a different reason for why they don't accept themselves. I've found that most of the time though, it has to do with believing that if they were happy with themselves, they wouldn't change, grow, or do anything.
Many people use unhappiness as a motivator to "get" themselves to do something. They believe it's natural, or instinctive somehow. Which is not true. Most times all it does is make us feel uncomfortable, unloving, and unaccepting.
We use a myriad of uncomfortable emotions to motivate ourselves. Anger, frustration, guilt, depression, anxiety, all with the hope that it will motivate us to change.
Q:Well, isn't that true though? Why would I change
something if I was happy or accepted that part of myself?
A: Just because you are loving, accepting and happy with that part of yourself, does not mean you stop WANTING. Wanting is a much more powerful tool to use than say, using guilt to get yourself to change. You can be perfectly happy with yourself, I mean really feeling great about who you are, and still want things, experiences, qualities, etc.
Q:Yeah but if I want to be different, I'm not going to be happy until I change.
A: Again, I think that's simply using unhappiness as a motivation and it's not necessary. We use our unhappiness combined with our wanting, believing it will make our wanting more powerful or stronger. It actually weakens our ability to achieve. We don't have to make ourselves miserable until we get what we want. We CAN be happy in the pursuit of what we want, and it doesn't lessen our motivation one bit. I know this because I've done both, and being happy while pursuing what you want is sooooo much more powerful, you just wouldn't believe it! When you feel good you have lots of energy. Feeling bad depletes and saps your energy.
I've found that if our desires are coming from inside ourselves, and not from exterior elements (parents, friends, spouses, etc.), that you don't need unhappiness to make your desire bigger or more important. Its simply a natural process of moving towards what you want. You don't have to "get" yourself to watch TV, or enjoy close friends, or play. You naturally move towards those things. Its only those things we think we "should want" that we use unhappiness to get. The wants that come from happiness are easy to pursue.
Q:What do you mean by inside me or from exterior elements?
A: There are times we want to do certain things because we believe they will please someone else, or we'll be more accepted if we do them, or we've been told we "should" want this, or that it's the "right" thing to do. If you take on those outside influences, you're wanting is not coming from inside you. Outside circumstances and or people are influencing what you say you want.
One way to find out what you really want verses the "shoulds" is to have an Option Method dialogue on it. I know I have been truly amazed by what I have come to learn about myself, my motivations, and my desires.
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Staff, H. (2008, November 29). Interview On Acceptance, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, March 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/creating-relationships/interview-on-acceptance