I wrote this piece about “radical self-acceptance” for My Everyday Magic 3 years ago. Even though I’ve integrated the information fully now, it was truly a revelation for me back then and it’s been a work in progress ever since.
I think maybe, just maybe, I have figured out the secret to a peaceful, joyful existence: Radical Self-Acceptance. What does this mean? It means accepting myself AT ALL TIMES, even and especially when I don’t live up to my perceived “ideals.” It means I let go of judgment of what is “good” and “bad.” It also means that I honor myself in ALL my moods, even my grumpy ones ~ and I stop feeling guilty for being grumpy! (My beloved hubby often reminds me that my anger is not as destructive as is my GUILT for feeling angry.)
One of my long-time favorite expressions is: “We’re not human beings having a spiritual experience, we’re spiritual beings having a human experience.” Well, if I truly believe that then I have to embrace the fact that we came into this existence WANTING to experience the WHOLE range of human emotions, even the ones that are uncomfortable and ugly.
So in light of RADICAL SELF-ACCEPTANCE, I’m giving up guilt, shame, blame and regret. I’m giving up “shoulding” myself and even “shouldn’ting” myself! I’m going to stop critiquing myself, my choices, my feelings, my mothering. And when that little critical voice pops up (as it inevitably will) I will instead tell myself:
“I love myself ~ ALL of me!
I honor my choices.
I accept my feelings, I accept myself.
I realize there is a part of me that needs to feel this way and I embrace it.
This is all part of my journey and I’m doing it perfectly!”
I’ve been doing this for a few days now and the feeling is…..indescribable! Talk about lightening the load! Radical self-acceptance is not only changing my relationship with myself it is changing EVERYTHING around me ~ I can feel the ripple effect palpably! Because when you practice RADICAL SELF-ACCEPTANCE, it also becomes so much easier to accept OTHERS and THEIR CHOICES too!
And perhaps most magical is the unseen changes….because I KNOW that the vibration around the things I used to critique is CHANGING. I can FEEL it! Things that used to be a source of guilt, like letting my children watch “too much” TV or not feeding them enough of the “right” foods are being totally disarmed and dissipated! I truly believe it’s not the TV watching or the food that is the problem, it’s the FEELINGS around them.
Last night I was lying in bed feeling so peaceful, content, and happy…and not because I was living a perfect existence but because I was accepting ALL parts of my existence as perfect already!
Just for one day, give it a try. When that little voice comes up telling you you “should” be doing something differently, replace it with that higher voice and say: “I love myself! I accept my feelings and my choices! This is all part of my journey and I’m doing it perfectly!”
Radical Self-Acceptance doesn’t mean we’ll never be angry again. It doesn’t mean we’ll never experience challenges or negativity again. It simply an HONORING….an HONORING of our HUMAN existence that we CHOSE to come here and experience. It’s an HONORING of our path (and the paths of others).
And I just KNOW that when we HONOR our choices, our feelings, and our paths NO MATTER WHAT that life becomes a whole lot more peaceful, joyful, healthy, and beautiful. This has been my experience for the past few days…..care to join me? 😉
Just like all things, there is an ebb and flow. Some days it’s easier to practice radical self-acceptance than others. The key, I think, is being gentle and loving with ourselves…even when we’re feeling judgey and self-critical. Treat ourselves as we would treat our best friends. As I said, it’s a work in progress but over time it becomes a new habit. Then one day…boom! We realize we really, really, really love ourselves.
Happy Magical Monday. ♥