How would your life improve if you accepted yourself, exactly as you are today?
Regardless of whether you identify as spiritual or religious, you've probably heard or read the Serenity Prayer at some point (short form below).
"[Higher Power,] Grant me the serenity to
accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things that I can,
and wisdom to know the difference."
Consider the word "acceptance": What does acceptance mean to you?
To me, acceptance means not resisting the past or present. It entails recognizing that I cannot control or change other people, just as I cannot erase my past mistakes or forecast the future. An acceptance mindset increases my feelings of peace and serenity.
People usually struggle with the concept of acceptance, misconstruing it to require liking bad behavior or harmful situations. That is not acceptance. Acceptance does not mean you must condone, embrace, or otherwise approve of the person or behavior.
Let's clarify with an example below on self-acceptance. (Tune in next week for more on accepting others.)
As you may know, I have not consumed alcohol since September 2018, and all of the internal healing and work I've done during sobriety has taught and enabled me to make countless improvements to my mindset and life.
When I hit my "bottom," I was burdened with numerous regrets, fears, and resentments - many of them about my past actions, relationships, and situations outside of my control! Examining, learning from, and moving into acceptance of them was critical for me to create a happier (sober) life.
Even though I accept/no longer regret my pre-sobriety shenanigans and misadventures, that does not mean that I like, condone, or approve of all the things I said and did back then. Rather, I accept that I cannot change my past, and I know that I can make better decisions today. I'm human and will err along the way (and frequently do), but I can look back and see slow but sure progress along my journey.
In addition to accepting my past, I regularly review my current actions, trying to improve gradually one day at a time. When I miss the mark, I ask myself what happened, whether I need to adjust my approach or goal, and attempt to learn and move forward. I call on my coach, mentors, and close friends for guidance, and I do my best to stay present instead of ruminating on the mistake.
Practical application: Integrate a dash of self-acceptance into your week
Consider and respond to one or more of the below prompts/questions (pen to paper is best!).
What is something I do not accept about myself (or my past)?
What is something I can learn from this characteristic, behavior, or action?
How can I apply that lesson this week?
How can I return to the present when I drift into self-judgment or regret?
Remember: Acceptance is a practice.
Repetition strengthens and confirms.
You are exactly where you are supposed to be.
Let me know how it goes!
Questions, requests, or comments? I welcome them all! Contact me directly or schedule your complimentary Clarity Call!