I’m in the final weeks of writing my book, ‘Awakening Child: a journey of inner transformation through teaching your child mindfulness’ and realising how much of the time I talk about acceptance. At the heart of all healing is accepting ourselves just as we are, meeting ourselves wherever we’re at. All change proceeds from there.
A common misconception that surrounds acceptance is that we give ourselves permission to keep our bad habits – we allow ourselves to keep doing things the same old way even if we know that our be
haviour is damaging either to ourselves or others. This just isn’t the case (and there’s research to back this up). If we beat ourselves up for being the way we are, then we tend to feel worse about ourselves. This is problematic because (a) when we feel bad about ourselves, we’re more likely to engage in damaging behaviour, and then feel even worse – I’m sure you can see the downward spiral here, and (b) change can only proceed from an awareness of things as they are right now, but the mind will often hide the truth about how things are right now because it’s just too painful to face.
For example, you notice that sometimes you can be quite judgemental about others. Almost certainly this means that you are also very self-critical, but your mind finds it more comfortable to direct your attention outwards than to really face the harsh voice of criticism directed inwardly. Sound like it could be you, or someone you know? It was certainly me a few years ago, but I couldn’t see it because I hadn’t learned to be kind to myself and accept myself warts ‘n’ all. Now that I can see the judgement, the awareness brings choices with it, and I choose the journey towards letting go of criticising myself and others. It’s not a smooth path by any manner-of-means, but my goodness it’s a worthy one!