Updated: Apr 29
Humans! Have you ever seen a more imperfect bunch: big ears; crooked noses, protruding eyes and odd mouths too?
And that is just between the chin and the eyebrows.
As imperfect as we are, you might think we would easily accept the imperfections of others, that we would be open hearted and open armed.
But the exact opposite seems true. The more imperfect someone is—deformed, physically ill, old or odd— the more some of us turn away, tighten up or act overly cheerful and friendly.
How many of us are relaxed and natural?
The real problem is that we have the same negative reactions to our own imperfections.
I know a man who feels angry at himself for going bald, and a woman who hates the width of her hips; personally, I have felt embarrassed at the size of my nose, disgusted when I carried extra weight and dismayed at my rounded shoulders.
We do not like these negative feelings, so of course we work hard to ignore, cover, pretend and rationalize our imperfections.
And generally, we are very good at keeping ourselves blinded; but, those times we catch a glimpse, we feel a rush of negative emotion.
We feel even worse when we catch someone else staring at our imperfection.
The point? We cannot stop this pain until we stop rejecting (a part of) ourselves; in fact, the more we accept ourselves, the more we increase our sense of wholeness, inner strength and quality of life.
So, let's do that
The only reason we reject a part of ourselves is because we hate the negative feelings that go with it; so, the way to free ourselves is by weakening, and then eliminating, those negative feelings.
And this happens every time we step up to a mirror and look directly at that part of ourselves. After a number of times, it can feel like we are getting use to the feeling, but in reality the emotion is growing weaker just as we growing stronger.
Stronger? Facing what we do not want to face, feeling what we do not want to feel, always increases inner strength.
And we can speed this process by letting go of the tension. Any negative feeling automatically tightens the body and restricts the breath (to keep us from feeling too much of it). Breathing out that tension with each breath allows us to feel more and release faster.
In short: releasing that awful feeling increases self-acceptance and inner strength permanently -- bit by bit. So, go ahead, look, and feel (embarrassed, angry, ashamed or whatever).
And then later look again. And ...
More Self-Acceptance? Behavior
The only time we can more of our behavior is when we do not want to, when we are feeling the most unacceptable. I mean, it is easy to accept ourselves when things are going well, when our behavior is up to par.
What’s not to accept?
No, the time to increase self-acceptance is when we feel embarrassed, ashamed or in some way weak.
Imagine you have just made a mistake that is causing a big problem for those around you; and they are not happy. How do you feel?
If you are like most of us, you are drowning in negative emotion and doing everything you can to stop feeling that way: your body is tight, breath squeezed and your mind full of thoughts (about how it is not your fault? ).
All of this helps us to stop those feelings, but it also leaves a load of unfelt emotion behind (and who needs more problems from more emotional baggage?).
However, if we turn around and face those feelings, three things happen:
1) We release more negative emotion - permanently;
2) Our inner strength increases (having felt what we did not want to feel); and,
3) Our self-acceptance/self-esteem goes up a notch (because of 1 and 2).
Yes, the changes are small, but what else can we do? Keep fighting and pretending we do not really feel that way? Work harder to feel a different way? That is repression, and it keeps us stuck at the same level of self-disapproval.
Short Version: To increase self-acceptance with behavior, or mirror, breathe out the tension and let it be okay to feel... just... like... you.
She Just Wanted a Good Man
Her: “If only I could find the right guy, I would give myself to him, and—
I stopped her and asked, “Give your SELF?”
Her eyes widened as she realized what she had said and what she had been doing.
Him: His business was deep in the red, and he was now desperate.
I asked him, “If there was one person on the planet who was holding you back, who would it be?”
He immediately said, “My Mother.”
She was giving him money to keep his business afloat.
She had also given him the down payment for his house and had recently taken over the payments.
His insight: "I'm 30 years old and still (like a child) dependant on my mother!"
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You know self-acceptance brings inner-strength. This link can also bring an easier life:
The very foundation of personal improvement is self-care/self-love. At this link: