How Radical Self-Acceptance Changed My Relationship with Myself — For the Best
When I first entered the self-healing space, I learned of acceptance — why it matters to accept life as it is and to accept the self. I also heard spiritual teacher after spiritual teacher attests to its transformative power. And for much of that time, I tried to practice how I understood it, at first.
But recently, as of December 2021, my understanding of self-acceptance went from a marginal understanding and practice to a completely radical one. It was like a veil of separation was finally removed from my eyes, showing just how transformative radical self-acceptance really is.
In less than a week, I already began to feel the effects of radically accepting myself, even if just a little, every single day.
Now it has become a part of my daily routine — to allow what comes to come as it is, without trying to avoid it, force it away, suppress it, or feel shame around it.
Funny enough, though, even if I feel shame or embarrassment around a thought, feeling, or experience, I accept the shame as it is too! That’s the point of this practice.
Radical self-acceptance is what it sounds like: accepting all parts of the self as it is and as it comes and goes. It’s like awareness on steroids, as in the gaze of awareness nothing can hide. And once you are aware, what you do next matters. That’s where acceptance comes into play.
We never know when we might be triggered, when we might experience a memory, feeling, thought, emotion or experience that we don’t like. In the midst of this, radical acceptance says to accept whatever you’re feeling and your reaction to that feeling without pushing it away.
The last part of that sentence may take some practice, especially if you’ve managed to become a master avoider as a survival response. But, to radically accept all versions of the self, however, those versions are expressed, for many of us can be a direct contrast to anything we’ve ever learned or done.
Even so, there is a magic to allowing the self to spill as it needs to and to thus accept not only what was spilled but also the initial desire to spill and the process of spilling. It’s to accept how you are in that moment.
Often times we are taught to tuck parts of ourselves away and to be ashamed of parts of ourselves.
What radical acceptance does is allow even the self- or societal-proclaimed ugliest parts of ourselves to be seen, heard, and acknowledged. Once that occurs, it can move on, dissipate, and join your inner crew in a more beneficial manner to you as a whole person.
Radical self-acceptance gives you the opportunity to realize that you are a whole being. That you’re a human and a spirit having a very complex and dynamic experience. You’re constantly learning, constantly assessing, constantly exchanging and translating information (energy) with your environments and people, and constantly trying to navigate the best way to show up in the world.
When practicing radical self-acceptance, many of the “things” that can come from pondering those topics/concerns begin to burden you less and less.
It’s the self-reassurance that your experience is valid, that your experience can change and expand, and that your experience can be complex and intense while also being gentle and compassionate.
That you can be a lover and a fighter. That your feelings can be acknowledged. That your body is acceptable. That your goals do matter. That being wrong or failing isn’t your identity or something you’re slated to always be or do. That your suffering is seen and heard — all things that can lead to profound healing on a conscious, subconscious, cellular, and granular level.
Radical self-acceptance gives you the chance to be who are in this moment, no matter what that looks or feels like. What we most often want in this world is to be seen, heard, accepted, loved, free, and to matter.
And what if, instead of solely seeking out others to make us feel accepted, we start by accepting all parts of ourselves, even the parts we’re most afraid of, even the parts that make us insecure.
For once you accept them, they have no place to hide. They can only be seen, heard, loved, freed, and shown that they matter — that’s all those sides of yourself have ever wanted.
How to Practice Radical Self-Acceptance
How to practice it. Simple. When something comes up or you experience something that brings forth discomfort, say to it:
“I acknowledge that I feel __[name the feeling__, and I accept that I feel this way. I accept the feeling, and I allow it to be freed from the confines of my mind. Although I feel this way, I choose to fully and completely love and accept myself as I am.”
Let me know how it goes. And check out the video I did for this as well from the link above!
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