Accepting current understanding of reality, that is what ‘accepting yourself as your are’ is all about. No more no less. Well, in fact it is far far more because of what can happen when you genuinely and deeply accept reality! And understanding can change.
The word ‘accept’ is defined in several ways including:
– to acknowledge that something is true
– to tolerate something without protesting or attempting to change it
– to acknowledge a fact or truth and come to terms with it
When I use the word in this context I mean the first definition – to acknowledge that something is true. There are no caveats to this definition, that blur what matters … that you recognise and acknowledge yourself as you are as current reality. By ‘current reality’ I’m using Robert Fitz’s definition of the term: ‘a person’s current experience as they are aware of it’.
When accepting yourself, it includes:
– both your experience of external events and the impact of your unique internal way of assimilating, evaluating and interpreting such events,
– that you may wish to change certain aspects about yourself, and
– that you respect yourself.
It gives you NO EXCUSE for being passive about your current reality. It is NOT about tolerating something without protest or without attempting to change it. It is used in that way in some contexts, just not in this one!
And the depth of acceptance affects the impact it has on you. It can be a superficial ‘whatever’, through to an intellectual acceptance and still remaining emotionally aloof – right through to complete intellectual, emotional and visceral acceptance, which impacts how you think and behave and what you communicate. This deep acceptance is worth experiencing because it usually helps you move towards what you want, quite often with little effort.
Another reason for accepting yourself as you are is that you can plan your journey from the correct starting point. You wouldn’t consider planning a journey from Edinburgh when you are starting at Bristol, would you?!
When fighting reality, you are using a lot of energy pushing against yourself. It’s a natural reaction. Try it out with someone by pushing gently against their hand – they will inevitably push against yours even though you haven’t asked them to do so. This in another reason for accepting current reality.
Another aspect of this kind of acceptance is that it is non-judgmental – no good or bad, right or wrong. As Penny Tompkins and James Lawley write, “it is simply accepting our own subjective reality”. So it is gentle on you, even though you may find it hard to say!
So now you know why I ask my clients on appropriate occasions to say “I accept myself as I am, including [whatever the issue is e.g. being no good with conflict situation]”. Most times, I find it necessary to add ” … and that I can’t accept myself as I am because [whatever the reason is]”. This usually enables the person to say the words and mean it truthfully.
How do you see yourself using this idea?
Tell me about any experience of using this practice – or even why you wouldn’t use it. Both would be great to hear about.