Accepting Oneself

I struggled to put on and tie a pair of shoes this morning. The shoes are black, fabric sneakers that have unreinforced tongues without midway anchor points for laces to go through to keep the tongues from dropping into the shoes. To comfortably put on each shoe, I grasp the top of the tongue and use a shoe-horn to ease the foot in place. This action requires prolonged bending.

The black shoes also have black laces that are difficult to see in dim light–so I add extra time and effort when tying the shoes. This act of donning the sneakers is so mundane that it barely merits casual attention. My awkward process of putting on this pair of shoes is worth mentioning because it brings out the need for self-acceptance.

As little as five or ten years ago, putting on shoes of this type would be a rote, barely noteworthy act. I could do it with my eyes closed. That was then, but the struggle happens now because my body is older. It doesn’t help that some temporary, minor back pain sometimes adds to the difficulty.

These are not big deals by any stretch. It takes a few extra seconds to put on the shoes. I carefully bend while doing so. A heat pack soothes the back pain later. Everything turns out OK.

In so far as it would be great to feel younger, the fact remains that I’m aging. It is important to acknowledge that this is happening and there’s no getting past it. Once people reach a certain age, we may continue to improve certain skills and learn new things, but there are more situations that prove to be points of diminishing returns.

After snugging up the shoe laces this morning, I pondered the desire we have that we want others to accept us for ourselves. We want them to honestly love and accept us for who we are. To have this would be a beautiful thing.

What we might have trouble with, is to honestly love and accept ourselves for precisely who we are. This would also be a beautiful thing.

Self-acceptance is a concept that has been written about for ages. There are lectures, videos, podcasts, blogs, and books galore that preach the self-acceptance “gospel”.

Too often, we hear this wise advice but it goes in one ear and out the other. What we too often forget is that awareness is the first step. Then mindful awareness engages the second step–acceptance.

This self-acceptance allows us to experience the fullness of our own lives. We discover that what we have, warts and all, is enough. Chaotic, confused thinking relaxes into clarity. Each meal becomes a feast. Our domicile truly becomes our home. Our inner demons become advisors from whom to learn. Denial of our true self eventually evolves into calm acceptance.

We may have learned the valuable virtue of tolerating and accepting other people for who they are but we don’t always grant ourselves the same courtesy and compassion. Once we turn this around to ourselves, we alter our lives for the better. This may even rebound to the point where others may return more acceptance of us. But don’t bet the ranch on that.

It is unwise to aim for self-acceptance for any reward of acceptance and love by anyone else. Society is fickle. Society can withdraw its approval and acceptance. Allies might become adversaries. For any and unknowable reasons. Other people can grant or withdraw love and acceptance. At first glance, this seems to be a cynical point of view. Society does not owe us praise and love. Accepting this and continuing with our own positive self-regard is radical self-acceptance.

Accepting oneself without ego-gratifying expectations is itself a beautiful thing. Regardless of our appearance, orientation, background, etcetera, our individual uniqueness and experiences result in fascinating, worthwhile human beings. Our challenge is to cultivate compassion, tolerance, understanding, and acceptance of ourselves and others. First, and foremost, a person lives her or his life as an individual. The ages old lesson is that when we accept ourselves minus any narcissism, we learn that we are as deserving of esteem as everyone else. This is one step in fulfilling the ongoing process of living peaceful, joyful lives.

The blue Jay of Happiness quotes retired actor, activist, author, and film producer, Michael J. Fox. “My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Health, Meanderings, philosophy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Accepting Oneself

  1. Marlapaige says:

    Learn to listen, trust and love yourself. As RuPaul says, “if you can’t love yourself, how in the h**l are you gonna love somebody else?”

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