by Robert Morgen
Self Acceptance is about accepting yourself completely, exactly as you are RIGHT NOW. For most of us this isn’t as easy as it should be. We’ve been taught that we have to achieve certain things or be certain things, and that we shouldn’t feel satisfied with who we are until we’ve done so.
In reality we’re NEVER finished as there will hopefully always be more to learn and new ways to grow. So when, exactly, are we supposed to feel good about ourselves?
Popular culture would have you believe that all you need to feel good about yourself is the right car, or the right clothes, or the right beer. In fact many of our culture’s self-esteem problems are intentionally created by the media and the businesses that advertise there. How often have you seen an ad and thought “I really need to update my style”, or “I really need a new car”? Do you really? Hey, maybe sometimes we do. I have to admit that my habit of wearing sweatpants, t-shirts and sandals wouldn’t go over well when making advertising sales calls for the videos or magazine, and I do in fact, really need a good car.
As usual the question in our society is ‘how much do we really need’? For instance, I don’t need Armani suits to sell advertising for a holistic magazine, and I can get by very well with a reliable older car.
The difference here is the word ‘need’ versus the word ‘want’. We’re taught that we ‘need’ certain things to feel good about ourselves, and that’s the key issue. I don’t care if you buy a new Mercedes 3 times a week if that’s what you want to do and you can afford it.
However, if you feel like you ‘need’ to buy or do anything in order to feel good about yourself then that’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
Self Acceptance is about FREEDOM. It’s the freedom to be happy with who you are and not be a slave to the ‘needs’ that we’re taught to believe in. It’s the freedom to look at yourself in the mirror and love and accept the person you see looking back and the freedom to be happy to be in your own skin.
True self acceptance is one of the transformational moments in our lives. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you’d like to change, or have new directions you’d like to grow. It simply means that you’ve accepted yourself, with all your warts and ugly spots, and now you can start moving in the positive directions needed for your life.
It’s also the key to having the freedom to accept others exactly as they are. The most important person that you can love is yourself. Have you ever seen someone who gives up their entire lives to help others, yet destroy their own health and welfare in the process? Everything is connected and One, which means that anything that you can see, feel or imagine is a part of you also, with all the balances apply.
For instance, a person who only takes care of himself, with no regard for others, is no less imbalanced than someone who devotes his entire life to care for others at the expense of himself. The key here, once again, is the word NEED. It’s all about the motivation that drives them.
Some of those so intent on ‘self-sacrifice’ are driven by ‘need’. They need to help others to make up for their own inadequacies, or to make up for the bad things they feel that they’ve done, or whatever other reasons drive them. Yet if they truly accepted themselves then would they feel the need to ‘sacrifice’ themselves in order to help others? Wouldn’t they see helping others as an extension of helping themselves, rather than as a way to make themselves feel better about who they are?
A balanced person sees helping others as a normal, compassionate thing to do, rather than as something to do to make up for their own lack in some area. It’s the Law of Reciprocity again, by helping others we help ourselves, by encouraging others to grow we also grow in the process. By accepting ourselves exactly as we are, we can also accept others exactly as they are, and that’s the beginning of unity.