Self-Acceptance; Future Growth
BY: T. Franklin Murphy |November 2016 (edited 2017)
Self-acceptance allows for difficult strivings where failure is possible. We reach a little further when we love our imperfect selves.
Striving for change doesn’t oppose personal acceptance. We can accept the present while working for a better future. Acceptance, both of the self and the moment, is essential to continued development, creating an environment that encourages growth. Our emotional and intellectual growth naturally follows nurturing conditions. Unfortunately, many of us live in chaos, suffering from damaging pasts, and destructive self-judgments. Instead of growing, we protectively cower before experience, limiting opportunities and inviting disaster.
"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." ~Dale Carnegie
Failures happen when striving for something better, extending beyond our normal. The failures, for some, are so distasteful they choose easier paths. Constantly demanding perfection in function but denying themselves challenges where perfection is improbable—taking the easy class, applying for non-demanding employment, or just sitting around and judging the failures of others. When we constantly demand perfection, we will distort reality. The real, imperfect and unpredictable world doesn’t follow rules of perfection. We struggle, slip, and stumble through growing experiences. But if we expect perfection, real life becomes bitter and unbearable.
From the shaky foundation of self-hate, we approach life defensively to avoid incurring the battering of self recriminating thoughts; we rely on distractions rather than productive answers. This path destroys futures, limiting growth and narrowing the emotional experience of living.
Insecurities often accompany self-condemnations. We beat others to the punch by identifying weakness in ourselves first. To have others notice and point out our humanity is too much, often igniting strong defensive responses. The self-hated wanderer lives in perpetual shame. Young therapists and weekend psychologist are quick to point out flawed thinking believing their adept analysis is the cure. Wrong! The identification doesn’t heal any more than the doctor discovering a cancerous tumor. Treatment cures. The identification may, however, provide the necessary knowledge for appropriate treatment.
A constant flow of energy spawned by critical judgments pounds the soul, harassing the psyche, interfering with life. The self-recriminations painfully express hate through failure. Unconsciously, stupid actions intercede before success is achieved—an accident before the final examine, infidelity before marriage, incomplete projects during promotional considerations. Self-views can lift or destroy, creating calm reassurance or devastating interference.
"Young therapists and weekend psychologist are quick to point out flawed thinking believing their adept analysis is the cure."
The string of failures further damages the soul, weakening self-discipline and driving the lost deeper into the jungles of deception.
Childhoods fraught with disruption, confusing demands and dissatisfaction burden the child with a lifetime of insecurities. The demanding and dissatisfied caregiver implants their disruptive lives into the soul of the child, continuing the powerful pangs of shame long after the child leaves home. The caregiver’s inner confusion prompts damaging responses to a child’s shyness, social aloofness or other slightly challenging personality trait, creating feelings of shame and ineptness. The child feels lack of skill to confront life. These marks on the soul taint future approach and retreat tendencies to opportunities.
The good news is our minds are powerful adapters. We can surmount the additional challenges of insecurity as adults. With help, we can spot the cluttered constructions of childhood, see how they drag us into the gallows of self-hate, and develop a rescuing game plan.
Our lives and our futures are at stake. Understanding reasons behind the emotional upheavals doesn’t solve the disruptions. The unforgiving laws of consequence are not swayed by righteous justifications, no matter how convincing the reason. We can’t bow to the past as an excusable cause to fail in the present. Actions justified or not face the consequences.
The present moment builds the foundation for future present moments. Present behaviors expand or diminish future opportunities. We don’t start each day with a clean slate devoid of the influences of the past. But soiled pasts don’t unequivocally condemn futures; we can escape—no longer servants to the past. The game is not over. Impoverished childhood and destructive choices may impede but don’t necessarily destroy. The past matters but is not all consuming, change happens, lives improve, and happiness can be secured. We carry the aches and pains as tools of wisdom, artfully utilized to transverse consequences of poor decisions and unfortunate beginnings. Some carry sparsely equipped tool boxes; they require outside resources on their path to recovery. Others find the recovery through new associations and hobbies, requiring less guidance.
Once we establish a new safe zone in the present, expressing increasing kindness with our selves, we begin to grow, slowly accumulating new strategies and skills, emerging through the dark difficulties of the past and discovering the warmth of joy in the present.
Topic: Human Growth