When I work with people one-on-one or in groups, the topic of acceptance often comes up, especially acceptance of self.
How does self-acceptance help us on the healing journey?
First, let’s consider for a moment what is really going on when you are *not* accepting yourself. What do you imagine is happening energetically?
If you guessed some form of rejection, you are correct. When you are not accepting some aspect of who you truly are, then you are rejecting some aspect of yourself. In other words, some part of you is presented to your awareness, and you do not receive it. You are, in a sense, dis-integrating to some degree, at a structural and energetic level.
Dis-integration goes hand in hand with dis-ease.
Lacking acceptance of yourself leads to less vital life energy when and where you need it. And this is the case whether it’s a conscious choice or just an unconscious default to what your culture tells you to do. Either way, it’s a problem that you can actively overcome through effective and appropriate use of your will.
You have the power to choose self-acceptance in the face of all opposition.
You may be wondering at this point, why would you NOT fully accept yourself from the get go? If you cannot or do not accept yourself, who else can or will? What gets in the way?
In a word, fear.
The mind swoops in, in a last-ditch effort to save us from pain, and tells us things like the following:
• If you accept yourself, you’ll never change!
• You’re not worthy of acceptance.
• You can’t handle it.
• If you accept yourself, you’ll be rejected by others. Banished from your tribe or family.
It’s best to not underestimate any of the above. They are each powerful adversaries that often operate at the unconscious level. But the good news is – you don’t have to analyze them or figure out which ones are holding you back. All you have to do is choose to accept yourself, and practice it on a daily basis.
Isn’t It Selfish to Focus on Self-Acceptance?
This is another trick of the mind. Just because the word “self” is there doesn’t mean it’s selfish at all. What you are doing is showing yourself compassion and practicing forgiveness. If you cannot do this for yourself, how can you do it for others?
We are all mirrors for one another. Acceptance is a form of compassion. It is a form of recognition. What you do for yourself will naturally flow out to others, and the same is true in reverse.
The world is in great need of genuine, heartfelt compassion. This is a far cry from what you might call “mental compassion”, or the idea of compassion. This false version shows up when we *think* we need to do good by others so we hand a homeless person a few bucks, or donate to some charity. It’s like checking off a task on a mental to do list. Not inherently a bad thing by any stretch, but is it a practice or expression of genuine compassion?
As an empath, one of the most painful feelings I have come across living and working in a big city is when I experience a bit of what someone on the street feels when they are standing there, maybe asking for change, and feel completely invisible and ignored.
You see, because so many of us live in such crowded, densely populated spaces – we have come to forget the fear that banishment has over us at a very deep level. Whether we identify with this or not, we are social creatures. We understand ourselves in relationship to others.
So when a human being is in need, and standing invisibly in the middle of hundreds of other human beings, there is a profound pain there.
This is a variation on a theme that plays out in many people’s lives on a daily basis, whether they have money or not. Whether they have family and friends or not. Trust me when I say this – it might be surprising to know just how many people are walking around feeling lost, alone, and invisible – walking an unconscious tightrope fearing some form of primeval banishment if the wind blows the wrong way.
Is this your fault? Is it their fault? Is this just their karma? Is it God’s or Satan’s fault?
Better yet – what if fault doesn’t matter in the moment? What if solutions and money don’t matter in the moment?
What if all that matters in the moment is that when you cross paths with any other human being, you open yourself up to the possibility of recognizing their humanity first and foremost? If you feel too weak or too busy to do this on your own, own up to it and call on a higher power to assist. The key is to make the effort to break through the numbness that seems to be programmed into our daily lives.
The effort is what counts.
When you practice accepting yourself unconditionally, you begin to soften to the world. You become more vulnerable. You may feel things you haven’t felt in a long time. And yes, that can be a bumpy ride. All the more reason to have a daily practice of some sort to help keep you on track!
And if you need help along the way, know that you’re not alone. I and others like me are here to assist.