Are you happy with yourself just the way you are? Do you accept yourself with all your shortcomings? Most people don't. For several reasons.
For instance, society holds certain standards that by their very nature are almost impossible to live up to. You're supposed to strive for the perfect job. The perfect home. The perfect family.
The perfect relationship. The perfect body.
When we compare ourselves to this mythical 'ideal person' - it's no wonder we lack self-acceptance!
We live in a society that demands comparison and contrast and competition. But we'll never measure up to the ideal standards of perfection; the ones set up by the unspoken rules of
society. Thus we can never accept ourselves. It's a no-win situation:
1. Here's the perfect/ideal person...
2. You must compare yourself to this image...
3. Perfection, by definition, is impossible...
4. Therefore, you lose!
What makes it even worse is that we rarely - if ever - question this situation. We've bought into the lie. We accept that we're unacceptable without ever really stopping to evaluate why.
Which is one of the main reasons we stay stuck in our present condition. Because if you don't accept yourself, what will be your motivation for change? Anger? Ridicule? Derision? Self-loathing?
Is that really the fuel you want to use to better yourself?
Here's another reason so few people have self-acceptance:
We forget we're ALWAYS a work-in-progress. Because we're stuck in time. We tend to see ourselves as standing on a pinnacle, or a plateau, or sadly maybe even a trough. No matter the image, it still seems to be somewhat of a 'concluding statement' about ourselves.
"I am the sum total of all I've been."
True. But that's also going to be true next week, next year, next decade. Because while we can look around us in the present, and we can remember the past; the future seems so unknown... so elusive... so unreal. We tend to believe the future doesn't exist. And it may never exist. All we know is the present and the past.
I may never change because "This is where I've ended up in life."
Guess what? You never end up anywhere in this life. Life is a process. Not a destination. It's not about your 'place' in life - because your place is always changing. Or it should be. It better be. Life is like a river. A never-ending river.
Remember when the sixth-graders looked so big? Then you got to the sixth grade. Then it's the high school kids who looked so big, so cool, so mature. We compare ourselves to others who are more than we are. Without realizing we're on our own path to becoming more.
Self-acceptance makes it much easier to grow and change. Why? Because it gives us something positive to push off from. It gives us something solid to stand on as we reach for more.
The problem is, we often confuse contentment with complacency. We confuse satisfaction with settling. If I'm content and satisfied with who I am and where I am right now (which means I'm accepting myself) then I'm in a stronger position to achieve more.
If I'm complacent; if I've settled - then I'm not likely to do much of anything to change. And this state can be confused with self-acceptance, rather than what it really is - self-resignation.
Admitting who and what you are, admitting your accomplishments, and taking responsibility for them - strengthens you.
"Yes, I want more. Much more. But I'm willing to pause and reflect and be responsible for all I've done up till now."
Do that, and you'll be one step closer to accepting yourself. Plus, by looking for the good, you'll find and create more of it.
Self-acceptance does not come easy. You're up against a lot of negative programming. But reflecting on your accomplishments can be a starting point. Even if you used to be on a peak, and now you're in a trough, there has to be some sort of silver lining. At the very least, you have a greater awareness of life.
Maybe you're ready to accept yourself on a deeper, more profound level. Maybe it's time to love yourself a little more and judge yourself a little less harshly. Maybe today is the day you begin to embrace self-acceptance.
Nobody else can stop you from accepting yourself.