Guru, God and Self are One ~ Ramana Maharshi
Self- acceptance is an inner quality that acknowledges and embraces personal strengths and flaws as equal parts of your being. When you are able to look at all aspects of your behaviours, habits, and personality and use that knowledge to consciously grow and improve, self-acceptance can become your own personal superpower.
Not fully accepting yourself has its roots in the disapproval and judgments you received as a child from parents, siblings, peers and educators. Maybe you heard that you were selfish, not attractive enough, not smart enough or you were too angry or too stubborn. What you were told about yourself became your shameful, guilt-ridden, self-blaming story. Despite your essential desires to be open, vulnerable, joyful and connecting with others, you suffered from the false belief that “something is wrong with me”.
When you are perpetually at war with yourself, you treat yourself harshly, you feel unworthy, you fear that you might fail and thus sometimes miss out on opportunities for positive evolution and you can be deeply convinced you do not belong and will never be as good as anyone else.
You build a cage of self-criticism and negative emotions. Your inner dialogue comes from an inner judge who declares you are stupid, lacking in attractiveness, unable to speak intelligently, not deserving of being loved by another, etc. You are sentenced to a prison without realizing that the key to our freedom is in your possession.
What would your life be like if you stopped trying to fix yourself? Geneen Roth
Here are 4 steps you can take toward seeding the power of self-acceptance that can break you out of the lies and judgments that keep you trapped:
Become aware of the judge’s voice within you and consider how you can step back and find ways to appreciate yourself even within the framework of the criticisms. For example: Maybe you are self-criticising for failing, appreciate that at least you tried and learned from the experience.
Take time in quiet (meditation), to identify the source of the negativity you hear. Whose voice it is – mother? Father? Sibling? Teacher? Understanding the source helps change the context of the story and disconnects you from the effect of it. As an adult, you are not subject to the old narrative any longer.
Consider how you give compassion to others – caring, holding, helping, support – and give the same to yourself.
Appreciate the difficulty and suffering of your life path and let your heart respond with warmth, sympathy and kindness.
Accept that you are human and as such are imperfect and vulnerable just as everyone else on earth. Feel the comfort of knowing you are not alone.
Allow whatever negative feelings are in your experience to be evenly expressed as an awareness of their existence without creating drama or minimising them. Use the breath to bring clarity and loving awareness to every one of your experiences without exception.
As you breathe in cherish yourself; as you breathe out cherish all beings ~ Dalai Lama
Ram Dass asks us to learn to see ourselves like individual trees in a forest – each one unique. Trees adapt their growth to find the light and nourishment they need for their survival. Each one grows differently in response to their circumstances. None are better or worse than another – they are simply different.
It is reassuring to know that you can move through any circumstance in life and emerge intact. Despite self-doubt, pain or suffering, when you fully accept yourself you set yourself free to embrace your strength, resilience and superpower.
The human spirit is as expansive as the cosmos. This is why it is so tragic to belittle yourself or to question your worth. No matter what happens, continue to push back the boundaries of your inner life. The confidence to prevail over any problem, the strength to overcome any adversity and unbounded hope – all reside within you ~ Daisaku Ikeda
Recommended Reading: Radical Self-Acceptance by Tara Branch, PhD
Visit www.johnstamoulos.com to find out more about the healing power of your breath through the profound process of Breathwork