I subscribe to a few blogs and journals, and I’ve been noticing a common message within a few of them lately. Messages I agree with. So I thought I’d share the love, and share some of them with you.
Plus – they’ve raised a question for me, which I’d love your thoughts on, once you’ve had a chance to read these.
Bron from Maxabella Loves kicked it off recently with a reflection about whether or not we need to ‘love’ our bodies – is it enough (or in fact, better) to ‘accept and be grateful for them’. As she says here:
‘So, I don’t love my body but I don’t hate it either. And what’s more I don’t need to love it. I just want to let it be. I want to be body neutral so that fat, thin, wrinkly, smooth, tanned, white, sore, happy, whatever, my body is just my body doing what bodies do. Nothing more and nothing less.
I just need to be able to look at myself in the mirror and feel good about myself for all the things that make me me. I’m not a body, I have a body‘. (my underlining).
Comparisons and self acceptance
Deb Dane of Inner Compass Designs posed the question in her latest weekly newsletter (worth signing up for): ‘Can you can accept yourself fully?’
She notes Bron’s comments – and the discussions as a result, but expands it from a body acceptance issue to a self acceptance, of all aspects:
‘We are now living in an age of eternal comparisons online, hyper awareness, super fast technology (that did not buy us more time, but instead filled every second of our day with more work, connections, expectations and possibility) …. The result seems to be this expectation that it is possible to be amazing in every area of our lives, every minute of the day, if we just try hard enough.
Perfection is not the reality of life and yet we push and push.
How can you give up the push and instead settle into a place of self compassion?”
Which are good questions – particularly if it is not only your body that you are critical at times, but also your mind (unlike Bron, I don’t have a ‘beautiful perfect brain’ – I wish!).
My mind can work well at times, and become quite muddled at times. And I can be quite critical of myself as a result. And there are emotional responses as well to throw into the mix – for we critics, our self can be a minefield.
Kelly Exeter of A Life Less Frantic recently wrote about her ongoing efforts as a recovering perfectionist, quoting Elizabeth Gilbert (yes, of Eat Love Pray fame – but also much better books, in my opinion, and great writing on her own blog), who notes:
“… failure (is) so hard for me … it’s because I’m a ceaseless striver … It’s because I think life is some kind of code that we should be able to crack — and I mistakenly believe that if I do crack the code of life, then there will be no more suffering or confusion or strife.”
Unfortunately no. No magic key or code exists. And, maybe, accepting that we will fail from time to time is actually beneficial for us.
Not just to learn – but to accept ourselves, warts and all.
‘Here’s the thing. I’ve arrived at being okay with what I do, at the pace I do it. I’m a much happier, saner person. I do less, but what I do, I do in the quest for excellence – not perfection.
Doing the best we can, without being hung up about whether it is perfect. I’d extend that to being the best we can be, without being hung up on perfection. That’s a pretty nice place to be.
There’s only one me
I agree with all of these statements. I’ve been writing about it too, including the need to accept that I will not do things perfectly, present things always the way I would like, and always be the way I might like.
But I am the only me there is.
I am worthy despite – or maybe, even, because of – my imperfections. Dr Seuss, as is often the case, said it the best:
My question – how to balance self acceptance with self awareness?
One of the aspects of being me is accepting some of my traits, and one of those is a tendency to self examination. Can you be happy with who you are, and still continue to evaluate, and assess, and seek to improve?
Well, I think you can – with some parameters. But I’m not jumping straight into what these are because
a) I haven’t properly thought through what these parameters might be (I just know they must exist!)
b) More importantly – I’d love to know what you think!
Can you be self accepting, and still continue to grow in your understanding of yourself?
How do you do this without getting trapped into self criticism, or too much introspection or self-centredness?