Accepting Yourself is Your Life's Work
Updated: May 27, 2019
At the beginning of the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, he describes the story of his son's inability to flourish socially, athletically, and personally. As parents they decide the best thing for him was to learn perseverance and strength, and gain more experiences in life, so they enrolled him in more activities that other kids his age enjoyed. One such sport was baseball. As with many of these activities, they fought him to go, they pushed him to participate, and they watched him as he struggled with his lack of skill and lack of interest.
Stephen realized that by pushing his son to meet the status-quo and be like other kids, he was actively not accepting who his son really was on a deeper level. He was not seeing his son as a fully unique and perfect human- instead he was trying to shape him to fit a mould.
When he came to the realization, he started allowing his son to lead and move toward what he was inherently aligned with. This shift changed everything and helped his son blossom into a uniquely amazing and confident teen and man, with the full support and acceptance of his parents, no longer focusing on areas that were weak, but celebrating what was strong.
I loved this story because it hit home for me- for me personally, for our society, for how we were all raised, and how our parents were raised and how we are taught to fit a mould and communally judge ourselves and others on what we lack versus celebrate our uniqueness and the areas where we thrive.
That said, I understand that it's hard to accept the parts of us that don't meet the norm. It's hard to struggle with our lacks and differences- how we've not met our own standard, or how we have emotional struggles that we assume others don't have, how we struggle with our weight or finding love or knowing our purpose while we watch movies and flip through magazines showing examples of the goal.
It's tough to accept ourselves. Self-judgement is the innate tool we have to keep us within acceptable behavioural range set by our community, so we're not outcast and left to survive on our own. Self-judgment had important use in the past when it came to survival, but is now a mis-match in our modern society where fitting in no longer equates to thriving. Self-judgement is the way we try to fit in the mould instead of realizing who we are on a deeper level- what we value, what we want, what feels true for us.
So our work is to accept ourselves like Franklin Covey accepted his son to such an extent that his son transformed. Our work is to give ourselves that same gift. How would your life transform if you no longer spent time trying to fit the mould and instead accepted yourself? How would your thoughts transform if you decided to see yourself as already whole and perfect, not needing anything to be different in this moment? Who would you become if you believed that you are 100% acceptable and worthy as you are?
Practice this mantra throughout your day today- "I accept myself as I am right now."
Contrary to what you may think, not accepting yourself is not the fuel you need to inspire you to make change. Trust me, many have tried before you.
Change is made from fully accepting all that we have and who we are at this moment now, and from there stepping into the untouched territory of freedom in front of us that is without a mould, where you can be anything you want to be.
When you accept yourself with all your all your imperfections, you are free.