How I Practice Self-Acceptance

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Broken. I feel broken. I put my hands gently over my heart, one on top of the other and say ‘it’s ok, you’re ok’ quietly to myself. It’s soothing and nurturing. The pain doesn’t go away but somehow I feel comforted, like I have a friend, someone who loves me no matter what.

A thought arises and much like any of the other thoughts I’ve noticed today, it’s not nice – this time it’s about my teeth. Oh why, oh why couldn’t they be straighter? I discount it. Entertaining these stories will only take me away from healing and continue the suffering. I ask myself: ‘Can I be warmly ok with this feeling?’ ‘Can I make it ok forever, without moving to change, control or suppress it?

I recently realised that all these years I haven’t really been practicing accepting myself as I am, not really. I’ve been practicing partially, but not totally. I keep finding inside me something that still wants to be told I’m beautiful, that I’m perfect just as I am. Desperate for these words to be said to me like a junkie chasing their next hit. But it wouldn’t help, because if they did tell me (and they have!), it’s be a temporary fix and I’d go straight back to my usual way of being with my pain, which is to run, avoid, do anything but feel it! And back to my usual way of being with myself and all the parts of me I don’t like or accept, and that way is quite often harsh and judgemental.

My teacher Vishrant says something along the lines of “same pain, different face”, inferring that I can cycle through relationships, change situations and manipulate my environment as much as I like but the pain, that terrible feeling of unworthiness, unlovability, brokenness will still be there because it’s not as a result of what’s happening ‘out there’… it’s my pain. And this is an invitation to feel it so I can heal it.

As I write this in my journal, I let out a laugh when my gaze rests on the words printed on the top of the page: LOVE WHO YOU ARE it says. I never really noticed it before, or at least the words didn’t really mean all that much until now. A friend bought me this journal. How did she know I’d need to read these words over and over and over again? And how did I not know this all my life? I’ve been waiting for everything to be smooth sailing, for me to have ‘enough’ money, for someone to come along to love me so deeply, so totally and then, ONLY THEN would I feel ok and be worth loving.

I sigh out loud. I’ve been here before it seems and yet here I am again. In the midst of my pain, taken back here again because I still haven’t healed it, I keep running, avoiding and waiting for something outside of me to fix me, love me and accept me. When it’s actually my duty to love and accept myself, just as I am.

I put my hands gently back on my heart. “I’m ok” I remind myself.

——

I’ve been finding parts of myself lately I’ve been rejecting, and wounding I’ve been avoiding feeling. Over the last few years, I’ve been shown how to practice accepting these parts, and how to warmly welcome the wounding I feel when it appears. I wanted to share this with you because I know I’m not alone.

If you’ve ever had thoughts of ‘I’m too ugly’ or ‘I’m not good enough’; if you keep finding yourself in front of a mirror with harsh judgements about how you look; if you catch yourself comparing your status, job or financial situation with others and getting down on yourself for falling short, it’s safe to say you could do with some nurturing and a practice of self-acceptance.

I invite you to practice with me:

1. Become aware of the touch

Maybe something has happened outside you that has triggered an uncomfortable feeling within you. Maybe you’ve been fired from your job and feel low self-worth. Maybe a partner has broken up with you and you feel abandoned and rejected. Maybe you caught your reflection in the mirror and feel dissatisfied and unlovable. Whatever it is, become aware that you’ve been touched/triggered.

2. Make it Okay

this is such an important step. If my teeth are not perfect then they are perfectly okay like that.  If that makes me unlovable or repulsive to someone, then it is okay to be unlovable and repulsive.  Don’t spend your time convincing yourself that this is not true and using affirmations and positive thinking to raft over yourself.  This only causes ‘fragmentation’of the psyche.  You really can accept and love every part of you, it doesn’t need to be changed first! Make it okay. (Tao is writing and doing some video content on this right now, I’ll link it in for more details when he’s done.)

3. Hold yourself gently

Gently place your hands on your heart one on top of the other and allow whatever sensation you’ve found to be there. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the stories your mind is telling you – they will seem very real as they will most likely match the sensation. Don’t move by distracting yourself with facebook, eating chocolate or shopping (or whatever else you may gravitate towards to feel comfortable). Don’t attempt to change your surroundings or another person. Don’t try to make it go away, just stay there, right where you are and hold yourself ever so sweetly.

This is the beginning, the real beginning of practicing self-acceptance.

It’s ok, I’m ok, you’re ok.

Love, Prema

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