Accepting Ourselves

Sure, accepting ourselves is an easy mantra to repeat over and over in any self-help script. But, what the hell does it mean? What does it feel like to accept myself? What does it act like? What does it sound like? These are the real questions that come up when I think of accepting my Self. And, I suppose, until one practices long enough with the intention to accept their Self, they will only be feeling out what it is and isn’t in varying moments.

Something that I experienced that brought my mind to a deeper awareness of what accepting myself is like, came during a conversation with my sister. Simply put, she said, “instead of working so hard trying to accept others, spend that energy accepting your Self.” The thought is profound. In many non-western spiritual lineages the teachings stress the idea that there is no Other, there is only the Self. So, here we go again, accept the SELF. Accept it how it is, rather than wondering why there is such difficulty with how you fit in the world around you.

I have a habit of unknowingly abandoning the Self. Every time that I believe that I am wrong, and fight endlessly with conflict around me, believing I am not accepting others enough, or understanding/loving them enough, I am essentially abandoning my Self. I am saying my needs and feelings are not as important as trying to figure out what ways I can sacrifice my Self in order to meet people half way. The truth is, there is no need to fight myself. I can accept that my beliefs are valid and appropriate based on my own experience. It is a fine line between close-mindedness and protecting the Self. However, in all reality, decisions will always be made.

Living in this modern world, we are slammed up against each other. People share tight spaces at home, at work, and in community areas. It isn’t until we can “escape” to the country, mountains, remote beaches that we can find solitude. In this, we are subjected to others’ ideas about how to live daily. Our boss decides what cubical we sit in or what music is played in the shop. There is a highly refined process we are participating in, and it is always our choice to accept or reject what is in place. It is inevitable — whether it is conscious or unconscious. Certain things are more valuable to us than others. It seems that denying ourselves from what we value only creates more disharmony in our lives. And when we believe that someone else holds the power, or is the source of our suffering, we are denying our Self happiness. How we attain this happiness is not by someone else’s pathway to resolution. It is through compassionate acceptance of ourselves, knowing that we know what is best for us — and that we are the only one responsible for insuring this process to be a healthy, reflective one.


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