“Bhante says we shouldn’t accept ourselves!!!”…..
This phrase was trotted out more times than I can remember.
Self-acceptance was wrong. Unhelpful. Deluded. Weak…..
We should be strong male warriors, transforming any negative emotion or thought that dared to enter the cold light of day.
Or perhaps rather, banishing them into oblivion.
Where they obviously belonged!
Is Self-Acceptance helpful?
‘Bhante’ was our teacher. And as ‘trainees’ it was difficult to argue against such a proclamation, especially when it was delivered in an authoritative masculine way.
But like many such proclamations, its truth doesn’t lie in the way it is delivered. Nor the status of person from whom it came.
The truth lies in whether the content is true for you.
Back then I never really tested self-acceptance. I was too eager to please. Too eager to do ‘the right thing’. Too eager to swim against the tide.
And yet now…. Things have changed.
Self-acceptance is what I do. What I promote. How I help people.
What Self-Acceptance is Not
But let’s be clear…..
If your desire is to be unethical – to lie, cheat and steal; to do harm; to hurt people or yourself….. this is not a call to condone that action.
Rather it is a call to say, in complete and honest transparency: ‘This is me, this is what I want to do, this is who (at least in part) I am.’
If you hold views, such as… “I am not good enough.”; “I am unworthy.”; “There is something wrong with me.”; or “I fall short of everyone else.”…
This is not a call to confirm those views as correct.
Instead this is a call to say, in complete and honest transparency: ‘This is me, this is what I want, this is who (at least in part) I am.’
How Shame Keeps the ‘Unhelpful in Place
So often we want to hide these parts.
We cannot admit to ourselves, nor the world that this is who, at least in part, we are.
We cannot say to the world. ‘This is what I think’, and ‘This is what I feel’.
And really who could blame us….?
For we would no doubt be met with the criticism and judgement of the public face of the world which likewise seeks to hide from the world – the potential for such thoughts and actions arising in them.
We would undoubtedly be shamed.
And through this shame, our worst fears about ourselves would be reinforced and made true.
The Need to Speak Out
Yet if we can make this statement of Truth.
Or to a trusted person who is able to receive without judgement what we say….
We may well find we encounter a certain magic. And that which we have feared so long may suddenly loses its power.
If we can sit with who we are, and whatever arises within us.
Really – REALLY – be there with it.
We may come to understand that it has been drawing its potency from our avoidance of it. And that like a small child in tantrum, it really just wants to be held and loved.
The Cause of Our Disintegration
In my work with hundreds, maybe thousands of people, I have never found this to not be true.
It is like through childhood we have been emotionally ripped into a million pieces.
As we tried to navigate this confusing world, some of those pieces hid deep. And never again saw the light of day.
But they send their messengers up to alert us of their presence. Through the medium of difficult emotions and disturbing thoughts.
Which is all they have the power to do….
Un-attuned to the workings of the emotional body – having never been given the education or tools to know.
We fail to respond.
And in doing so push these aspects of ourself deeper. To places more and more difficult to go.
Your Call to Action
This is your call to honesty. This is your call to go deep. This is your call to the naysayers who rubbish self-acceptance and perpetuate the cycle of pain.
Summon the feminine energy within you.
At least give it a try.
Reach out a hand to those hidden aspects within you and help them up into the light of day.
Experience yourself as the totality instead of fragmented parts.
And unlock the door fear keeps hidden from your view.
Wishing you well,