Wouldn’t it be amazing if the year 2020 was remembered as a time you found more peace and acceptance in your life?
As we end this dynamic year, let’s pause together to consider what we’ve learned, how we’ve changed, and what we’re taking with us and choosing to leave behind.
Maybe there is something (or many things) that have happened this year that you never would have chosen, yet still experienced and endured. You likely are still enduring some of these and have the ability to choose how you’re living in this season.
There’s power in acceptance.
First, Reflect On Your Year
I encourage you to carve out some space and time to reflect on the following statements and capture your own reflections.
This Year Has Been…
It Has Challenged Me In The Following Ways…
I Have Grown In…
I Have Learned…
I Have Released…
I Have Accepted…
Then, Silence Your Inner Critic
Acceptance is often hard when that nagging voice inside your head continues to judge, belittle, and limit you. To truly embrace self-acceptance, you must first silence this inner critic.
Consider the times you silently judge or criticize yourself so that acceptance feels impossible. These are the times you may feel unworthy, under-valued, and unloved. Or maybe you have been made to believe you are “not enough” or even “too much.” And most often, our Saboteurs hijack our core values and convince us to live according to someone else’s expectations of what we should be doing instead of listening to and following our authentic voice.
What is your inner chatter saying? Often, there is the smallest kernel of truth that gets spun into an exaggerated lie you begin to believe.
Write down these limiting beliefs here. Now, call out the lies that these beliefs are triggering off of, so you can reclaim your truth. Here’s an example:
When offered a new opportunity at work, your Inner Critic reminds you that “you’re not skilled enough to do a good job. Someone else would be much better at this task.”
Call Out The Lie: I don’t know enough or can’t learn enough to be successful.
Reclaim The Truth: I am a fast learner who is passionate and capable. I can do this!
Tami Simon, the Founder and Publisher of Sounds True who developed The Self-Acceptance Project and compiled this month’s featured book by the same title shares this powerful perspective on doing our work to silence these lies: “When we develop a strong sense of self-acceptance, we become capable of such bravery. We may still hear critical inner voices, but they no longer hold power over us. We move forward anyway. We develop the courage to take risks and to stand in our truth because we become more confident that we can handle it if our risk-taking leads to disappointment or disapproval.”
Now, Embrace The Other
“Unconditional self-acceptance, being kind to ourselves no matter what is happening in our lives, is a human capacity that changes everything. It changes how we treat ourselves day to day, how we take risks, how we love, how we create, and how we make space for what seems ‘unacceptable’ in others,” shares Tami Simon. “The more accepting we are of ourselves, the more accepting we will be of other people.”
But as this year has proven continually from COVID responses to political agendas, accepting people with different – and even opposite – beliefs and values than ours can feel impossible and often causes us to resist and protest, rather than choose acceptance as a path forward.
Here is one of the most powerful and mindset-shifting truths I’ve learned and aim to practice as a parent, educator, and change agent: Whatever you can’t “be with” actually controls you.
Really take a moment and consider this statement. If you choose – either consciously or subconsciously – that you cannot be around someone or something, you actively spend your time, energy, and resources avoiding whatever this is – giving the very thing you hate even more control and power over you.
What are you avoiding or allowing yourself to be triggered by?
For example, there are individuals who hate sitting in traffic so much they will intentionally take a 15-mile detour just to keep their vehicle moving. Others avoid certain ideological topics or groups because they are so triggered by difference beliefs.
But what about racism, sexism, pedophilia, hate crimes, and all the terrible things we should never be okay with??
Yes, there are definitely certain topics as well as systems of beliefs and values that we don’t prefer, like, or even approve of in the slightest (and shouldn’t!).
Yet when we allow ourselves to constantly be triggered to the point of anger, rage, and uncontrollable emotional outbursts when these issues are raised, we are the ones that are fueling the fire, rather than using our power to advocate for positive change.
No, this doesn’t mean you ever need to be okay with these terrible things. Rather, by learning to control how your own triggers manifest into actions, you will be able to combat the very things you hate with a response that educates, rather than alienates.
While there are some things you may be able to accept (even if you never agree with or support them), there are many others that you simply have to choose not to fuel. When you reach this level of acknowledgement that there are people that think, believe, and act differently than you, YOU – through your own self-work – might just be the person that is used to lead significant change.
Tami Simon articulates this point profoundly: “Ultimately, the work of The Self-Acceptance Project is not just about you and me learning to work with ourselves in a loving and kind way. It is about learning how to relate to, and be with, anyone – and I mean anyone – in a loving and kind way. When we are able to be with our own difficulties and intense experiences that are seemingly unwanted, then we can be with other people’s difficulties and their seemingly unwanted experiences.”
What are you fueling?
What are you releasing?
What are you accepting?
Good Reads + Resources
Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
The Self-Compassion Deck: 50 Mindfulness-Based Practices by Christopher Willard, Mitch Abblett, and Tim Desmond
The Self-Acceptance Project (Free Videos)
Be the Revolution,