NOTE: The following applies to most ordinary bullshit. HUGE bullshit, like a terminal disease, or a loved one who is suffering profoundly … these are struggles of a different magnitude. Our discussion here pertains to regular old human suffering, so much of which has to do with the ego and its endless needs.
And so …
1. TAKE INVENTORY OF ALL THE THINGS YOU SEE AS YOUR DEFICITS.
This includes all perceived body flaws, personality flaws, financial situation, living situation, relationship issues, perceived state of success/failure, moral/spiritual failures, past choices you see as regrettable.
Go ahead and make that list. The whole enchilada. Leave nothing out. Write it down, if you like. Or just make a mental list. I’ll wait.
2. NOW, IMAGINE YOU ENCOUNTER YOUR PERFECT PARTNER AND THEY ACCEPT AND LOVE YOU EVEN THOUGH THEY KNOW ALL THAT STUFF YOU JUST LISTED IN THE ABOVE INVENTORY.
Think of what that would do to you. What a colossal relief, right? You can stop pretending you have it all together. You can quit “putting on a happy face.” You’re done with all that bullshit. You can just be who you are, and you’re absolutely accepted and loved. Imagine how you’d carry yourself with this person: no fear, no worry, no self-consciousness. You’ve won the Inner Peace Lottery, right?
3. NOW, FORGET THAT PERSON. YOU CAN’T BE SURE YOU’LL FIND THEM. IF YOU ALREADY HAVE FOUND THEM, QUIT YOUR WHINING AND GO GIVE THEM A HUG. IF YOU HAVEN’T (ON SECOND THOUGHT, EVEN IF YOU HAVE), THERE IS SOMEONE ELSE YOU KNOW WHO CAN ACCEPT AND LOVE YOU JUST AS YOU ARE, DESPITE ALL YOUR PERCEIVED ISSUES/PROBLEMS. AND THEIR OPINION OF YOU IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT OF YOUR FANTASY LOVER/FRIEND/PARTNER.
That person, of course, is YOU.
Can you do it? Can you look at that list and say, “I accept and love myself just as I am in this moment?” If you can, then you’re off the hook you’ve placed yourself on! You’re free!
This doesn’t mean you don’t try to improve yourself. If you are bothered by some aspect (or aspects) of your life that you have the ability to affect? Go ahead and make plans for improvements. But don’t wait until you’ve accomplished your plans to approve of yourself. If you do, you’ve placed unnecessary emotional tension in your way. You are in conflict with what IS. That’s a surefire setup for unhappiness. ACCEPT what is, even as you engage in a plan to improve what you can.
Easier said than done? Yes, it is.
The truth, though, is that MOST people are holding a lot of things against themselves. Their lists look much like yours (and mine). Maybe the details vary, but the general idea is the same: “I am unacceptable and unlovable for these reasons.” And we carry this in the form of many thoughts that build up into one helluva destructive emotional snowball … we’ve given that fast-rolling sonofabitch SO MUCH power! The power to sabotage our happiness in the here and now, and on through the rest of our lives, right to our graves if we let it! LET’S NOT LET IT!
Unless and until you accept and love yourself unconditionally, radically … you will be stuck in a bad place, somewhere between mere discontent and full-on depression.
The power is yours, and yours alone. What will it take for you to LET GO of all that bullshit you’ve been holding against yourself? When will you get around to unlocking the chains you’ve put on your soul?
Examine each item on your list. Say each one OUT LOUD and say you accept it, as it is in this moment.
“I accept how my body looks and feels right now in this moment. I am letting go of the desire for my body to look and feel any different than it does right now in this moment.”
“I accept my job situation as it is right now in this moment. I am letting of the desire for it to be any different than it is right now in this moment.”
Remember, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look to drop a few pounds or get a new job. If you deem those things important, start mapping your strategy RIGHT NOW, even as you accept things as they are, right now, in this moment.
Do this with every item on that list.
And mean it. In your heart. This is not just an intellectual thing, not just an acknowledgement thing. Maybe it starts as that. But it MUST BECOME something you believe and feel to be true in your heart.
IF you can do this, then you are free from your bullshit, it no longer has to be an impediment to your present happiness or future growth.
Congratulations on the first day of the rest of your life.
Now. Full disclosure.
I believe everything I’ve just written. The ideas aren’t mine, they are very old ideas. I’ve laid them out in my own way, but they’re in a million self-help books, spiritual and non-spiritual.
I wrote them down this way FOR ME.
Because I hold so many things against myself. I’ve given these things COLOSSAL life-killing power over decades. And I still struggle with them. Every day.
I feel I’ve made important steps forward. I have begun with the acknowledgement of the truth that my holding on to these things has been, and clearly is still, sabotaging my happiness. I have spoken this struggle out loud to others I trust, even disclosed some of it to my entire church community in a video sermon. I am actively engaged in a process of radical self-acceptance, even as I recognize that I have far to go.
So, I’m still working on it.
I hope you are too. If so, tell me how.
And, if you’ve conquered it, if you’re surfing the waves of radical self-acceptance right now in your life? I bow to you and congratulate you! Tell me what has been the most helpful insight for you. Together, we can lift each other up.
I’m pretty sure that’s the highest thing we can do as humans.
Love each other to wholeness.
May it be so. Peace to you.