(an abridged excerpt from the book)
Acceptance at its most basic level could be defined as seeing something for what it is and not needing to fight it. This does not mean giving up or letting people walk all over us but accepting a situation, person or feeling as they are (or we could say allowing ourselves to see them for what they really are). Then if we need to take action we can, but with a clear view of what we are dealing with.
I have broken this discussion up into 3 articles:
- Self Acceptance
- Accepting our Feelings
- Accepting Other People And Situations
Because it ended up being a bit too long to fit into one! This article deals with self acceptance, but free to skip to whichever sections you think are most relevant for you. As always if you are already feeling vulnerable seek professional help instead, and if you start feeling overwhelmed at any point stop straight away.
Are you happy with all the different parts of yourself as they are? Or are there parts of you that you judge, try to distance yourself from, hide or suppress? It is a rare person who loves every part of themselves, but it is a wonderful goal.
To some this may sound arrogant or egocentric, but best relationship we can have with ourselves is built on a foundation of self-love and acceptance.
Years ago I went to see the Dalai Lama talk and it was such a wonderful experience. I felt the peacefulness and love radiating throughout the room and several times looked up to see him looking at me. I felt a deep and strong connection when I looked into his eyes. And I never once got the feeling he was paranoid about his bingo wings. You could do much worse that have him as an example of self-acceptance. And I assume that for him, as with everyone else, it takes effort to maintain, but it is well-worth it.
Self Acceptance Meditation
In this section I will take you through a very simple visualization you can use for helping to boost self-acceptance. As it is very short you can use it when standing in a queue or on public transport (but not whilst driving or using machinery of course).
Exercise: Self Acceptance Meditation
- Sit (or stand) comfortably.
- Breathe in a natural and relaxed way
- As much as possible let tension drop away from your body
- Visualise a bright, shimmering point of light in front of you. Without knowing why, you are certain that it is absolutely perfect. It can be whichever colour and shape you like.
- Feel the harmony in contemplating something that is perfect.
- Visualise it moving towards you, this perfection. At a certain point you realize that it is you – you are perfect.
- The light enters your chest and creates a field all around you, a field of your own perfection.
- Give yourself permission to feel perfect in this moment by saying to yourself “I am perfect in this moment, right now. I am more than enough”. Feel a warmth spread out through your body as you think that and let yourself feel the love that accompanies it.
- Keep feeling this for as long as you like and when you want to stop, just softly open your eyes.
You can do this exercise whenever you like, several times a day even. Doing this exercise does not mean that we do not have flaws, or that we have to ignore them. Rather, we accept ourselves as we are, right now. There is no human in the world without flaws; but accepting them means we can work with them, instead of alienating a part of ourselves through self-criticism and punishment.