Do you accept yourself? Do you accept who you are? Do you know who you are? What does self acceptance mean to you? Do you accept who you are as readily as you accept your friends and co-workers?
You may accept others the way they are, or how they express their feelings much easier than accepting your own life situation and feelings. You may defend your friends from criticism by telling others to back off, that your friends are doing their best and they have gone through many traumas. Do you accept and defend yourself with the same intensity? If not, why?
Maybe you have a perfectionist streak in you (about yourself) that allows you to only see the imperfections in yourself. Maybe you think/believe you need to push yourself hard all the time to be “acceptable”. Maybe you have not forgiven your past mistakes and are still punishing yourself for them.
How do we know if we are self accepting? One way to find out is to listen how we talk about ourselves. Do you use sarcasm about yourself? Do you use lots of “I should be …” in your language? Another way is to find out our reaction when looking in the mirror. Do you look in the mirror at all? How do you look at yourself in the mirror? Do you think about all the things that need fixing about yourself or do you look at yourself as something more than just skin and bones? Answers to the above questions may indicate how well we accept who we are.
In the context of Tending to Your Garden Within, it is important to love and accept who we are unconditionally. It is also important to realize we can transform ourselves into more than we are by first knowing what/who we are. It is like a gardener who does not know what plants he/she has in his/her garden within and works tirelessly to transform them into something else. The poem below describes a dream I had regarding self acceptance.
I looked angrily at his face.
keep away from me!
If you come closer to me I will hurt you.
He did not seem fazed.
He did not back off.
He smiled brightly at me
and came even closer.
I felt my anger at first.
I then pondered.
What if he is part of me?
Do I hate a part of me?
Do I hate a part of me that I wish was different?
The part of me that loves me comes closer to me
despite my threats.
Asking me to accept him just the way he is.
What if I could accept him?
What belief systems in me will be challenged?
What will shift in me as a result of accepting a part of myself?
Copyright @ 2011 by Shervin Hojat