I’ve had the honour of being part of three really special, authentic conversations today, and one theme that has recurred in these conversations has been that of self-acceptance.
In my experience, the path to the authentic self can only be followed by accepting all of your other selves first - the ones you identify with, the ones you reject, the ones you project and the ones you disown.
The other element of self-acceptance is compassion. There is lot of truth in the old saying that you can’t expect to be loved if you don’t love yourself. You may yearn to be completely accepted for who you are but what chance is there of this happening if you don’t accept yourself?
Lack of self-acceptance is at the root of unhappiness. When you unconditionally accept yourself as you are in this moment, without judgment or attachment, you cease fighting reality. Infuse this acceptance with compassion and you can access the power of compassionate self-acceptance.
This not the same as self-pity or resignation. Accepting yourself allows you to devote time and energy to taking positive action rather than beating yourself up.
We often find it easier to feel compassion for another person. Our hearts respond to their pain - compassion means “to suffer with”. In these moments we realise that we are all flawed human beings and that suffering and failure are part of the human condition.
So why do we find it so hard to be compassionate towards ourselves? Why do we tell ourselves we’re a failure when we make a mistake or that we should pull ourselves together if we’re upset? We would never say that to a friend in need.
So I’ll leave you with this: honour and accept your humanity with compassion and embrace your beautiful imperfection.