Living Authentically Series: Self Acceptance

Recognizing who we are, what we value, and what makes us tick is so important for healthy development in our lives. Identifying our strengths and weaknesses and accepting them as a part of who we are is also important. Perfection does not exist and for so many, that is their goal. We are surrounded by commercials, ads, and articles about how to improve our skin, reduce and eliminate wrinkles, have a flatter stomach, a rounder tush, whiter teeth, a more organized closet, an emaculate home, on and on. I believe there are very few aspects of our lives where we cannot find an array of material to work on improvements. And while I believe that it is healthy to continue to have personal growth, I caution others that what is most important is that you accept yourself exactly the way you are. Acceptance does not mean you will not work to improve particular areas. Acceptance means being totally okay with how things are at this moment. There is not one perfect person running around, with the perfect partner, and perfect kids living in the perfectly organized, peaceful home. We all have areas where we can improve. It is part of being human but so much is hidden behind the masks we wear. Being ashamed or anxious that others may discover something with us or our lives is a sign that we haven’t quite reached self acceptance.

There was a period of time in my life where I felt like such a fraud. Struggling with postpartum depression that lead to having to be prescribed medication to function was something that was hidden for quite some time. I felt less than. I felt ineffective. I felt like there was something so seriously wrong with me that if others found out they would most certainly judge me. How could I be feeling the way I did when I was married to a wonderful man, had two beautiful and healthy children, fantastic relationships with friends and family, and a flexible career that allowed me to work part-time to make raising our children my priority? From the outside looking in, my life looked pretty put together but there was such deep sadness and loneliness that I just could not pull myself out of. I was shutting down and barely sharing or talking and I really began to feel like I would never feel anything different than how I was. Initially when I began to share with others what I was really going through, it was so uncomfortable to be so vulnerable and “exposed” but as I began to allow those who love me to truly know what was going on, it began to feel freeing and I could start to feel movement in a positive direction. We don’t have to walk through hard times alone. Surrounding ourselves with those who love us and get us is necessary to navigate life because we all will have our issues to address.

What does your true self look like? What does it consist of? I think developing a sense of who we are and what defines us is critical in fully developing ourselves. Going through life without having any idea of truly who we are I believe we find ourselves just floating through without any clear intention or goals. We struggle to find our purpose which can lead to us wondering what all this is for.

What is important to you? What do you value? Determining what our true passions are and what we value most in our lives will drive where our time is spent and what our priorities are. Without that we we are fumbling without direction and can be easily influenced by other’s opinions and advice without identifying what is valuable to us. I think this too is something that changes throughout our life to a certain degree. What we value or see as important at 20 years old may not remain exactly the same as when we are 60 years old. We are in a continuous journey of learning about ourselves and accepting these changes.

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