Beyond Self Acceptance

Dr. Purushothaman
August 22, 2013

Acceptance means honoring and loving yourself just the way you are. Maybe you feel confused and think that accepting yourself means you don’t want to change. You may think, “I don’t want to accept myself – that‘s why I want to lose this weight!” But it’s just the opposite. Making peace with where you are is the launching pad that gets you where you want to go.

Remember this: What you resist persists. When you become upset with yourself for carrying excess weight, feel embarrassed about your dress size, or demoralized at how long it will take to release those fifty pounds, you’re fighting with yourself. This stops you from making progress. Your thoughts and attention remain negatively focused on where you are rather than eagerly anticipating where you want to go.

Think of it this way: Whatever you focus your attention on grows. So when you condemn yourself, your condemnation grows. This results in self-punishing behaviors. You stay stuck. But when your attention is on where you want to go, and you accept yourself the way you are, your behaviors lovingly reflect the new life you’re creating. You move forward.

You know you want to release weight. Great! Make peace with where you are and you will reach your goal more quickly. Where you are today is irrelevant. Your current situation carries no power over you unless you offer it negative attention. Accept where you are and remain focused on where you’re headed. You then become free to change.

Accept yourself right in this moment with no regret for who you were in the past and without self- reproach for not yet being who you want to be in the future. If this is difficult at first, that's ok. Try this. Gently say to yourself, "Wouldn't it be nice if I loved and accepted myself no matter what?" This statement offers less resistance and creates an inner blueprint for that message to become your truth.

Here’s a powerful exercise to gently guide you towards self-acceptance.

Write a love letter to yourself.

Find a comfortable, cozy spot. Make a soothing cup of tea. Breathe easily, relax and write a loving letter of acceptance to yourself. Remind yourself of the qualities you admire. Tell yourself you are committed to making positive changes. Congratulate yourself for successes already accomplished. Apologize for being hard on yourself. Write, “I love you”. Even if you don’t fully feel this yet, write it anyway because your intention to love yourself is very powerful. Promise to be patient and kind with yourself and to speak to yourself in gentle, loving ways. And thank yourself for doing the best you can with the resources you currently have.

When you’ve completed your letter put it in a safe place. Re-read it periodically and write more love letters to yourself often.

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