Self-Acceptance

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” – Dalai Lama 

Unwillingness to accept me has been a major part of my life. As a kid and well into my adulthood, I hated myself for who I was. I always felt like I was the odd one out when I looked at myself and when I looked at my peers. At school, I was a shy and fat kid who didn’t know how to interact with kids my age. Throughout my school years, I constantly felt like my brain worked differently than that of my peers. I used to spend time thinking about science, humanity, social issues, goals, and I had a very strong imagination. What made me different was that I did not give importance to the things that my peers gave importance to. I did not like to gossip and I still don’t. I didn’t like to date around. I could not pretend to like or love someone whom I did not, and I could never lead someone on knowing it won’t go anywhere. My core values were important to me then, and they are important to me now. Deep conversations had my brain and heart-melting while small talks didn’t get me going. While today I have come to realize that what made me different from those around me are some of my strengths, sometimes I can’t help but feel like that shy and fat little kid who did not know how to connect with those around me.

While I am on this journey of healing and falling in love with myself more and more each day, I have come to realize that there are still parts of me that feel abandoned. Every time I take the blame for something that’s not my responsibility, the little kid in me gets scared. She thinks that anytime another person or an external factor hinders my growth, I would blame myself for not performing up to my expectations. And I have done that so many times that I can’t even count. Any time I wasn’t perfect, I would tell myself that I have so many flaws that I can’t get anything right. If I didn’t get good grades, I would tell myself that I am not smart enough. If someone left me, I would tell myself that I am not worthy of their love. If I couldn’t achieve my goals, I would tell myself that I didn’t try enough. If someone was not supportive of me or treated me badly, I would tell myself that I was not loveable.

Every time I did not accept myself and stand up for myself, I abandoned myself. Every time, I gave the power to someone else, I rejected myself. Every time, I was hard on myself, I betrayed my trust. I did not love myself as much as I loved those who were close to me. I could move mountains if anyone pointed a finger at someone I loved. But when it came to me, I would look to others to take a stance for me. When they did not, I would tell myself that it was my fault and that I deserved that. 

This entire practice of self-blame resulted in me constructing this emotional boundary around myself that made it impossible for me to even start to express myself. I could not express my needs and wants in a professional or a personal setting because I did not respect myself enough to ask for what I wanted. If a relationship did not give me what I wanted, I would tell myself that my wants were not as important as the other person’s. I could not accept a failure, not because of the fear of external repercussions but because, for me, it would have meant that I was a failure. If a person I cared for treated me badly, I did not take a stand for myself because I told myself that it was not a big deal. Every time I went the extra mile for someone, I felt the need to be recognized for my help because I wanted that person to appreciate the time and effort I was putting into them, and realize their importance in my life. However, I didn’t even know how to communicate that because I did not respect my own time and energy. This ultimately resulted in me getting drained and feeling frustrated with those around me and with myself.

I am, now, constantly trying to accept every part of me that feels abandoned by me. I have flaws but they make me who I am. They have made me into who I am today. They are not even flaws. They are parts of my personality that I can choose to work on to improve my overall personality if I want to or accept my whole self and be content with who I am. My self-doubt has protected me in situations where my anger could have gotten the best of me. My anger, on the other hand, has protected me by giving me the courage to stand up for myself. My high expectations from myself have pushed me to keep going despite the challenges. My overthinking has helped me uncover truths about this Universe that I couldn’t know if I was not willing to think, and it constantly helps me make better plans for my future. My hunger for learning new things has helped me grow throughout my life and get experiences that might not have been possible otherwise. My over-sensitive nature has helped me make meaningful connections and create boundaries with people who do not respect me for who I am.

I am not perfect but, honestly, I don’t want to be perfect anymore. That’s boring. That means you’ve achieved everything in life and if that’s true, then, what is the point of living? What else would be left to see and experience in life if you’re already perfect in every sense of the word? No, that’s not what I want. I want to accept myself fully and have compassion for myself even if no one else does. I don’t need validation for my feelings and I don’t want to criticize myself for feeling the way I do because that’s what I am feeling! And if I am feeling a certain way, it has to be good enough. I want to be my best friend because I know I make a wonderful best friend, and I want to experience that kind of unconditional love that normally I would give to someone else. I want to keep growing and progressing because I believe in myself and know that I have all it takes to achieve what I want. I don’t want to follow a crowd because I am unique, and I know there are people out there who are equally unique in their ways. I don’t want to be accepted by someone else because, for me and for that little shy and fat kid, only one person’s acceptance matters – mine.

Dear Reader,

I ask you to take the first step towards healing your inner child by accepting yourself for who you are. Every single part of you makes you into the beautiful person that you are. You have had a long journey till now and you will have more experiences in the future. Believe in yourself and trust yourself that you can be whoever you want to be. Let yourself know that you are and were always good enough. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes, and accept that you’d continue to grow but that growth can’t happen if you abandon parts of yourself. Accept all of you and heal wherever needed. Try and tell yourself – “I love you” 💓 every day and see the reaction that your body and heart get the moment you do. Your love towards yourself will make all the difference to your inner child!

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