To live your life
You must accept yourself
Every human has a script running their mind. Thoughts and memories, burdens and maybe trauma from our life that keep us in line, so to speak. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what you dream of, if you’re an introvert or an extrovert, or your level of education; it is our human-ness that propels us forward or keeps us stuck. This human-ness, our ability as women, creatives, business owners, and mothers to be so full of self imposed rules, also means we can flip our script, change our perspective and take control to live our best life.
I don’t know about you, but I suffer a lot from internal judgement, real life, negative self talk, and even impostor syndrome. All these things can weigh us down and trick us into thinking many things about ourselves and the lives we have made. Comparison and envy anyone? What most of us don’t put thought to is that script running in our mind is full of false statements and half truths. Even further, those thoughts are ripe and ready to be challenged by you!
I read a quote the other day that a dear friend shared,
“You need to believe in yourself. You need to have crazy, unshakable, nearly irrational faith that you can do whatever you set your mind to.”
When I read this my first thought was, “HELL YEAH!” In the past, my next natural reaction to reading quotes like this used to be envy and even some guilt. If I’m being super honest, I would get angry. It was easy to shake my head declaring this notion not for me. AND I could come up with every reason NOT to believe in myself. Do you do this too?
I catch myself now when I have the urge to dig my heels in and hope you will begin to catch yourself after reading this blog post. See, I have been studying and practicing the mindfulness art of radical acceptance. Some call this flipping the script, but it is more than that! A succinct definition from Psychology Today says, “radical acceptance means completely and totally accepting something from the depths of your soul, with your heart and your mind. You stop fighting reality. When you stop fighting you suffer less.” Reading the words, it sounds great, maybe even easy, but as we all know words are much easier than action!
Before going further I want to make something clear:
Radical acceptance does not mean passivity or even approval of what you are facing!
Another way of looking at radical acceptance is saying, “I don’t like it, it may not be fair, AND there is a way forward.” It is the art of making choices for yourself, independent of others.
This mindfulness skill is wildly challenging for me! If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’re thinking something along the lines of, “that’s great, but one doesn’t just shift their thinking.” Or maybe your shaking your head thinking of all the reasons, excuses, and judgements of how this can’t be true. I have so been there!! I have had to radically accept big and small things in the past 9 months (living in Richmond for the foreseeable future, owning the label stay at home mom, adjusting my business to better suit me and my family, etc.) It has been hard, change is hard, and it is worth it to be seen and heard within ourselves.
I want to give you an example. Last year I struggled harder than I ever have with my mental health. I was fighting internally with what I thought my life would look like versus what was happening around me. I struggled with my new role inside my family, and struggled with my work. I wasn’t doing and making to my standards. The negative self talk was incredibly loud and always present! In the end, I had to radically accept that I was in fact a stay at home mom who worked. I had to radically accept that I am not a traditional workforce woman. I had to radically accept that I was being incredibly unkind to myself. Sure there are reasons, copious excuses that I employed to keep myself small and stuck. The facts though were clear. I wanted to be a creative entrepreneur. I love photography, design, and mentoring. I also wanted to be present in my daughter’s life. I wanted to go on adventures, learn to cook, and be open to learning, art, and service to others with her by my side.
These facts were definitely not in line with myself judgement. I lacked compassion for myself, even though it flowed freely for others.
After becoming aware of my shame, I had to really sit through the emotions of how my life had gotten to this point. Sit through the emotions of challenging my awful self talk. Now this isn’t a one and done exercise. It is a process, heck some days it feels like a full on marathon! There are days I catch myself back in the negative script. When I notice I always stop and observe, check the facts and practice accepting again. Once I accepted my role as a stay at home working mom, I was able to plan and see ahead all the fun and exciting things that awaited for our family!
I also want to point out that radical acceptance is not confined to “less than desirable” things in our life. We too have to accept that we are worthy, that our life, story, and perspective matter. So if you are struggling with charging your worth, marketing your service or product, or owning a new path you want to take in life, this is an amazing tool!
8 Steps to Radical Acceptance:
Observe what you are questioning or fighting internally and externally. “I should be,” or “this shouldn’t be” are great indicators of an internal battle.
Check the facts of your situation. Really look at the reasons or excuses you telling yourself that have you feeling stuck. Be honest while sticking to the facts rather than coloring the information with emotive language!
Check the causes of your reality. This is similar to the above. Here we are looking at the events that led to our thoughts and beliefs. Are there facts and a specific timeline that contributed to your current state?
Practice accepting with your whole self (mind, body, and spirit). This may take time and that is 100% allowed. You can practice by using positive self talk, prayer, going to a place that helps you accept yourself, and even talking with trusted friends. If you need additional help, I am a huge advocate of therapy. An outside perspective can be incredibly invaluable when we are feeling stuck. You may also gain a lot from a mentor, depending on your situation and truths.
This one is huge! Practice opposite action. Write out how you would live your life if everything was different, if you accepted your reality. I”m serious, don’t just say it in your head. Actually write what would change, what you would do, how you might be different. Then act as if those things were already happening, engage in behaviors as if you have already accepted life as you would like it! This ultimately calls to the “fake it until you make it” mantra, which always felt icky to me in the past. Now I understand much better and hope you do too!
This one is also super important! Cope ahead so you don’t get stuck. Maybe you have begun doing all of this work but have to go see a friend or family member who maybe less receptive or you know you struggle with negative self talk at certain times of the day or year, rehearse in your mind what you can do now or then if you accepted what seems or feels unaccepted.
Attend to body sensations, because this is a whole body acceptance. As you think about what you want/need to accept allow emotions to come and go and be aware of where you hold tension.
Acknowledge life is worth living even through the struggle, through the process. If you are still resisting, try doing pros and cons of making changes versus staying the same.
This may take time. You may realize you have to radically accept a bunch of small bits of reality before you can tackle something larger. You may also, like me, realize you have to accept uncertainty before moving forward with other tasks and life circumstances. Again, I want to say that radical acceptance does not mean you are in love with life, it doesn’t mean you approve of everything either. It is, however, the first step in choosing to own your life, making choices to do/be different, or find a better way through your current season of life.
I want to leave you with this: acceptance is the recognition of where the power lies. It is a matter of choice, how we expend our energy. I hope you can take back your energy to find and define your version of success. You matter in your life!