Monday, June 8, 2015

it's time to accept yourself.

Well, my friends: here is your wake up call.

It's time to accept yourself.

It's time to stop judging yourself for where you are, and time to start just plain loving yourself exactly where you are at. So you're not perfect. No one is perfect. And we're called to love them anyway. 

Love yourself anyway. 

Image here.
We all have our frustrations--the things about ourselves we want to change. Perhaps your career isn't taking off the way you'd like. Maybe you wish you were prettier. Maybe you wish you had more money or more time or more spirituality or more whatever. 

I invite you to take a deep breath, and let these frustrations go as you exhale. It's time to accept yourself exactly as you are, right now. It's time to take an honest look at your own Self, your positives and your negatives, and stop hiding from them and stop resenting them. There is no need to resent Truth. We can only grow when we accept it.

It doesn't mean abandoning the need for change

Thanissaro Bhikkhu, a Buddhist monk, has written (emphasis mine):
Many people think that self-acceptance means celebrating what's there already: that you're good enough, that you don't have to make any changes. That's not the case at all.

Acceptance means accepting the fact that you're responsible for a lot of your experience right now. You can't blame anybody else. And ultimately that's a good thing. If other people were ultimately responsible for shaping your experience, what could you do? You'd have to go around pleasing them all the time. But the key fact is that you're shaping your pleasures and pains here in the present moment. Some of your experience comes from past actions, but a lot comes from the way you shape things with each present intention. 
So learn to be open and honest about the role you're playing in this moment.

Honest and open about the role you're playing in this moment. Exactly. The fact is that we all shape our realities, and when we resent different aspects of our Selves or our realities, that resentment is rooted in a lack of self-acceptance--a critical absence of holding ourselves accountable for our own experiences.

This blogger explains it well (emphasis mine):
Whether we’re talking about facing our own difficulties, or those of our loved ones, or of the whole world, “acceptance” boils down to the same thing. To stand firm and be willing to look reality in the eye. To face our fears and doubts. To quiet our impulse to run away or distract ourselves in hopes they’ll go away. 
Image here.
As I think about all this, it seems like this teaching is pointing us in a similar direction as the famous serenity prayer from the Christian tradition: 
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. 
So “accepting what is” is not about passivity at all. It’s about clear seeing, and the “wisdom to know the difference.” Paradoxically, it’s when we take responsibility for our own failings and difficulties, or those of the world around us, that the real process of change can begin to take place. I see it as an essential starting point for anything we take on in life.
Self-acceptance is about understanding who you really are--it is about facing even the darkest part of your heart, and acknowledging it for what it is, and taking responsibility for it. It's about facing the reality of You without fear, and without resentment--instead, facing that inner Self with understanding and compassion, ready to help that Self heal and change. 

The world's acceptance

So many of us yearn for external acceptance. We crave the feeling of acceptance from friends, from parents, from siblings and spouses and children, from random people we pass on the street. The feeling of being unaccepted leads to the feeling of being unacceptable, and that is a feeling no one wants to experience. This need to be accepted leads to all sorts of negative situations. Have you ever compromised a personal standard in order to feel accepted by the external world? 

And yet, the world's acceptance can never be whole. It can never be true. Because the world can never know the inner You like you can, like God can. It can never see the inner Self, and because of that, it can never validate that Self. It is simply impossible. Any acceptance that is gained at a worldly level is a false acceptance--because it is based on the external self. The only acceptances that are real are yours and God's. 
Image here.

God's acceptance

God accepts us as we are: He understands the reality of our inner workings even more than we do. He sees us for exactly what we are, exactly where we are, and He accepts us and He loves us. His acceptance does not mean automatic salvation, by any means, but rather that no matter where we are, He is ready and willing to meet us there. There is no sin so foul that God is not willing to meet us in that deep dark place and hold our hand there.


Accept yourself. Look at yourself for who you are. See the choices and behaviors, the attitudes and qualities that bless your life, and the ones that make it harder. And accept yourself through all of it.

This is to acknowledge reality; this is to become free.

Image here.

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