Self-Love: Acceptance

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In attempting to write about self-love, I have offered my thoughts on the idea that loving yourself can come with a stigma of selfish arrogance making it difficult to even consider the concept (see post Self-Love: Stigma), and I’ve offered my thoughts on the potentially detrimental judgments we all use to make decisions on anything and everything in our lives (see post Self-Love: Judgements). Loving one’s self can be a difficult, subjective, emotional, rocky and sometimes convoluted concept – at least until you feel it for yourself. I feel the key to finding a way love yourself is by first learning to accept yourself and everything about YOU.

 

Part 3: Learning to Accept Self

 

When I reached early adulthood, I struggled with the realization that I needed to like something about myself (at least a little) in order to have something worthwhile to offer others in friendship. It took many years before I was able to truly grasp the concept of “unconditional love.”

 

My parents meant well, but even when they said “you can do anything you want to do” it came with exceptions. It wasn’t a silent “but you’re not smart enough”, it was the “but you have do it this way…” that I heard. I felt “of course my parents love me, but there’s always a but…” I realise now that the “but…” was followed by well-meaning advice because they didn’t want me to suffer unnecessary difficulties. Though to me it always seemed like “I won’t love you as much if do or don’t do what I think you should.” And since I rarely succeeded in fulfilling whatever that well-meaning advice was suggested, I concluded I was a continual failure to everyone who cared about me. I had nothing to offer a world that expected so much better than just “me.” I recognized everyone else was also subjected to the similar expectations, no one could really be “good”, so how could any of us realistically expect anything better than a mediocre life? Even people who seemed to “have it all” were miserable, so what chance does an ordinary person have?

 

Well, trying hard to please, please, please didn’t seem to be doing the trick. What else did I have? What do others like about me that wasn’t contrived to get their approval? Anything? This lead me to the perplexing issue of dealing with compliments.

 

How do you feel when you receive a compliment? Do you feel good, flattered? Recognition and acknowledgment of something you appreciate in yourself or maybe your work ethics? Does a compliment make you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed as though you don’t deserve it no matter the apparent viewpoint of the person complimenting?

 

How do you react to compliments? Do you say “thank you” and mean it, or do you brush off the compliment like it’s pointless? Do you pass off the compliment to others as though others are in fact responsible, such as “oh, it was all so-and-so’s idea, I just helped” thereby negating you had done enough to deserve the compliment? Or, “oh, these boots were on sale” thereby negating the person’s appreciation of your fashion choice? Or, how about “oh, I get my hair from my mother” thereby negating any value in a simple beauty you were born with?

 

Try this quick response test – just be honest with yourself in your very first, split-second, gut reaction. I want you to say these words to yourself, out loud or in your mind, either way will do – say “I love me.”

 

Did you smile, frown, smirk? Was there a niggling doubt about the validity of that statement, embarrassment, maybe even guilt? Did you feel the warm acceptance we might feel when hearing “I love you” reciprocated from someone we deeply care about? For that matter, when you hear “I love you” from someone you care about, how does that make you feel? Good, warm and fuzzy? Does it feel like it doesn’t mean anything because they really love you out of obligation, it’s expected (like from a family member)? Does it feel like relief, validation, or even vindication that someone out there is actually willing to love you?

 

If your immediate responses to compliments and “I love you” is anything besides the simple pleasure of being appreciated, you are struggling with the concept of loving yourself. It’s certainly not any easy concept if you weren’t raised to understand it. I believe it begins with self-acceptance, though even that can seem as difficult as pulling teeth from a rabid bear. Once you begin, though, I swear it will get easier and feel less awkward.

 

Self-acceptance frees you to live in your own light, not in the light of others. It allows you the freedom of choice based on what YOU want, not on what others want for or from you. Most important, self-acceptance frees your soul and opens you up to being able to love yourself. Until you accept yourself in your own imperfect skin—right now as you are—it will be a dark shadow over your ability to love yourself.  I had to accept myself, along with cellulite and other qualities I’d rather not have for my self-love to grow. But I accepted myself from the inside out, instead of looking at the outside and ignoring the rest.  – by Daylle Deanna Schwartz, The Self-Love Movement, “Self-Acceptance: The Freedom to be You

 

You have to start somewhere and that somewhere begins right here, inside you. Ever felt stuck between two decisions that feel equally difficult or scary? Then, once you finally make a decision which path to travel, the relief is palpable as though a physical weight has lifted. Some anxiety and fear over the choice may still be present, sure, but the agony over indecision is gone and you’re left with a sense of determination because at least you now have a direction to go, a path in front of you. Deciding to accept yourself is the same way. Just decide you accept yourself no matter what and see what happens…

 

I  ACCEPT  ALL  OF  ME!

 

Some doubts may rise up. That silly, inner doubting voice that says, “but what about…? What about…?” Decide to accept all of yourself and many judgments will just drop away. Many because they were never really yours to begin with but were instead judgments from others you adopted as your own.

 

I  ACCEPT  ALL  OF  ME!

 

Good and bad; fat and fit; elegant and awkward; depth and fluff; beauty and ugliness; light and dark; rational and irrational; reasonable and unreasonable; right AND wrong! These are all judgments that serve only to break you into little pieces of ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’.

 

I  ACCEPT  ALL  OF  ME!

 

It’s all a part of you, your self, your whole self. Everything you like and don’t like, it’s all you.

 

I   ACCEPT  ALL  OF  ME!

 

All that you are and all the decisions you have ever made. The good choices and the mistakes. It’s still you and there’s nothing wrong with you. The past has helped make you who you are today, so don’t obsess over what you can’t change. We all have regrets, mistakes we wish we hadn’t made. The trick is to learn from those choices and consequences you don’t like so you can choose differently for the future.

 

I  ACCEPT  ALL  OF  ME!

 

Once you have finally decided to accept yourself, a lot of the stress over trying to meet others’ expectations melts away. It really is okay to be exactly who and what you are, just as you are.

 

I  ACCEPT  ALL  OF  ME!

 

You are not bound by others’ views and what they think you should/shouldn’t do with your life. When you discover something true about yourself, you are free to change it or not as YOU decide. You are the one who has to live with yourself. The cycle of inevitable disappointment when trying to live based on someone else’s view of your world is an exhausting, endless, downward spiral of defeat.

 

I  ACCEPT  ALL  OF  ME!

 

That means I can make my life better in accordance with what I want. Most of us who have struggled with the concept of self-love and self-acceptance will probably continue to struggle against those old doctrines to some extent. You can teach an old dog a new trick, but it’s damned hard to UNlearn and old trick.

 

I  ACCEPT  ALL  OF  ME!

 

Now that you have decided to accept yourself, you can more clearly evaluate aspects of your true self. What is truly you versus what other people think is true of you? The fact is that not everyone will like you, no matter what you do. Fact of life. Since we are all different with different preferences, we have to learn to accept rejection is a part of life too. It has no bearing on your worth as a person.

 

For me, learning to improve on what aspects I don’t like about myself and creating a better me, one I’m happier to live with, has made me a much happier person overall. Learning to like myself, despite what others may think, is far more satisfying – what a shocker! It’s actually satisfying to like myself!

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One more thing – have to move our emotional “buttons” so that random people can’t hurt us so easily by pegging an insult on an aspect we’ve already struggled to overcome. Maybe it isn’t even true, or maybe not true anymore, but it can still hurt if we haven’t chosen to accept ourselves fully and instead allow that aspect to continue to be sensitive enough to harbor a metaphorical bruise. Move the “button” so others can’t push it anymore. What does that mean? Decide their opinion on it doesn’t matter. It’s easy, actually, because it doesn’t! You have accepted all of you so you get to decide whether to accept pain from others’ views of you and your life. An insult thrown at you is made for only one thing – to hurt you. And it really speaks of only one thing – that person’s problem. It’s your life, you live it.

 

As with anything we decide to do, it might take a hundred failures before success, but in the end it’s what we learn along the way that really matters, and no one else can know you as well as you can know you. Just decide. Accept yourself. Like yourself. Enjoy yourself. Before you know it, “I accept me” becomes

I  LOVE  ME!

LoveMe

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5 thoughts on “Self-Love: Acceptance

    insanitybytes22 said:
    April 10, 2015 at 8:14 PM

    Great post! We are wonderfully and fearfully made, in the image of our Creator. That’s practically a commandment to love ourselves 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    adamjasonp said:
    April 11, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    Unfortunately, I didn’t feel much at all saying “I love me.” There are things that are seriously wrong, and I accept my responsibility, but I can’t for the life of me do enough.

    …I still have issue with getting complements for posts I’ve written for the matter of lacking in quality. (“You enjoyed that??”) Ha. But enough about me.

    Good & necessary post, thanks.

    Like

      knightwitch responded:
      April 11, 2015 at 12:40 PM

      It would help to view it AS enough instead of “never enough.” You ARE enough. Your work is enough. When someone appreciates it, allow yourself to be appreciated (don’t worry about the inner critic, they can’t hear him). It’s all okay just as it is. THEN if you want to change something just for you, it becomes a bit easier. The stress of desperately thinking/feeling you need to do something different is counterproductive. You are good enough. You ARE enough. Decide to be okay with it and see where that takes you. You might be surprised.

      And for the record, I like what I’ve seen on your blog, though I don’t always comment (sometimes lose connection so my comments don’t always post either). Your work is appreciated. You don’t have to understand it. 😉 So just accept it.

      Like

        adamjasonp said:
        April 11, 2015 at 1:11 PM

        I agree with the point, but respectfully disagree where it applies to me.

        Like

        knightwitch responded:
        April 11, 2015 at 2:04 PM

        That’s ok too. It’s your choice no matter what so no problem.

        Like

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