Check out the self-help section of any major bookstore and you’ll be overwhelmed with all the ways you can improve yourself. I know because I used to read all those books, and would try to apply all those ideas to myself, in a continual quest to become better.
And this effort wasn’t without merit, it’s just that it leads you down a path of rejecting who you are in this moment. As Judith Lasater shares, “I was caught in the conundrum of believing that I needed to be different, that the way I was right now was not all right…Eventually I came to understand that it was this very non-acceptance that was keeping me stuck in my patterns.”
We come to a place of peace and acceptance when we become okay with ‘what is’ — with who we are in this moment, with how we behave in this moment. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to improve — it does mean that we love ourselves exactly as we are right now. It’s a delicate balance, but once you’ve grasped it, it’s not hard to hold onto.
And there is yet another benefit to self-acceptance: “If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” (J. Krishnamurti) It’s as if once we accept and love ourselves (complete with flaws, frailties, and quirky behaviors), then on some deeper level, we are free to evolve and grow.
Growth becomes more of an organic change process that emanates from within our deepest core, and no longer a process driven by the conscious mind and our will. We become more like the flower that just knows how and when to bloom (instead of a bud demanding that it wants to open NOW!).
Richard Miller described it this way: “One day, my teacher said to me, ‘Your very trying to change yourself is actually taking you away from what you are.'” By consciously forcing change upon ourselves, we override the innate, natural change process that occurs organically…we become dissatisfied with what we are, focus on being something we’re not, and derail our underlying knowing.
And the way to avoid all of this is to simply love and accept who you are today, just the way you are today. When you are able to truly love yourself and accept yourself in your fullness (all aspects of you), then it’s as if the ‘grow’ switch gets flipped on again, and your inner knowing guides your growth process as you become the next evolution of yourself, without the conscious effort on your part.
When we come to a place of self-love and self-acceptance, it is then that we evolve to our next best self.
Have you experienced this? Please share…