The practice of skilful compassionate action, self acceptance and self responsibility, will literally turn our beliefs and our ideas upside down.
Articles - Self Acceptance by Bronwyn Fox
Our lack of self acceptance is not skilful, nor is it compassionate or respectful towards the Self. Until we can accept ourselves as we are right now, means we are in constant conflict with ourselves. And this conflict manifests in our anxiety and depression. It also impacts in our lives in other ways. When we don't accept ourselves, we are unable to accept other people as they are. Although we may not be aware of it consciously, we keep on trying to 'change' ourselves to fit into the image of who we think we should be. We also keep on trying to change other people, or wanting them to change, to fit into the image of who we want them to be. This can and does create a great deal of underlying tension and conflict within our relationships.
This is usually evident in our overall attitude to ourselves and other people. We long for the 'Father Knows Best' or the 'Partridge' type of family. We long for the 'happy ever after' type of relationship with our partners. We think to ourselves, 'if I just try a bit harder, just a bit harder'.. all our private and 'secret' yearnings will materialise. Until we can accept ourselves as we are, we are not going to be able to accept other people as they are. This then leaves us to keep on trying just that little bit harder, just a little bit harder. And all this does is create further anxiety.
Not accepting our Self is also not respectful towards our Self. Because we don't have any respect for ourselves, we disregard ourselves completely. Besides not acknowledging and taking pride in our achievements, we never consider ourselves, our well being, or own needs and wants as important. This can sometimes be to the point we are not even aware of our own wants and needs.
Many people often comment they feel used, or taken advantage of by family and friends. Until we can become more become respectful of our self, we cannot expect others to respect us in the way we would wish. While we may not need to go back into our childhood backgrounds and analyse all that happened, we do need to understand the overall 'bigger picture' of why we actually feel the way we do about about ourselves. So much of our anxiety stems from our belief system that there is something inherently wrong with us. And this is simply not true. We need to discover for ourselves why we are not 'bad' 'stupid' weak' etc.
We are living breathing proof we are not and when we begin to practice compassion towards ourselves, we will find we are not going to turn into the person we fear we may be underneath. Practising compassion will lead us to a more whole and much more healthy sense of Self, with the power and freedom we so long for. The practice of compassion doesn't mean we need to stand in front of a mirror telling ourselves how much we like or love ourselves. If we feel we 'have to' like or love our self, then we are going to be in very big trouble. Because 'having to' or 'should' means these feelings are not coming naturally. 'I have to ' , 'I should' is telling us this is another area where we feel we have failed. 'Have to' or 'should' traps us and gives us no choice. We either 'have to' or we fail. There is no middle ground. We can't manufacture feelings of liking or loving our selves. They arise naturally, as a result of treating ourselves with compassion, dignity and respect.
The first and most basic step towards a more healthy way of feeling about ourselves is to treat our self with the same respect we give to other people. To treat ourselves with the same care and kindness we give to other people. To be patient with ourselves in the same way we are patient with other people. In short, we need to treat our self in the same way as we treat and want to be treated by other people. And when you do begin to treat yourself with compassion, see how you respond!