Accepting ourselves. Accepting others.
They are intimately connected.
To accept ourselves as who we are is to say ‘I have made mistakes. And I will make others.
But the more I understand why I made the earlier mistakes, the less serious the mistakes that lie ahead, for I will catch myself earlier.’
To accept oneself is to say, ‘this is who I am now. The road to this moment is filled with choices and actions I now regret but at the time I did not have the maturity to better choose and act.
Now I know. Then I didn’t’.
There likely were unconscious forces at work earlier on that I simply didn’t grasp.
I didn’t because my mind wasn’t broad enough but was instead hampered by fears I may not have been able to even name. But as I dared to face my fears the road ahead opened up.
The courage to affirm ourselves, to say ‘this is me, these are my feelings, these are my thoughts, gives birth to the mind.
Ask yourself, ‘when did I first acknowledge to myself I had a mind?’
What is having a mind?
The capacity to reason while integrating our emotions.
A properly constituted mind has full knowledge of the range and variety of emotions.
Those emotions ground us as human beings. ‘I am me. With my moments of fear, my moments of doubt and my moments of courage.’
Then I look around and realize that everyone around is on the same journey, whether they know it or not.
Every day we’re faced with choices. And every day we may err. Or get it right.
Thus the importance of being able to forgive, which bring us back to acceptance of ourselves and others.
Having a mind enables us to embrace such acceptance. And such acceptance brings us a measure of peace and hope.
Having a mind enables us to choose what life we wish to live and then to do it.
Having a mind entails risk. Risk demands contending with doubt and fear and pushing on.
To not embrace that struggle is to drift without aim or let others dictate to us.
All of us have courage. The task is to pull it out and use it.
If we’ve lost sight of it is because it’s buried beneath layers of not accepting ourselves and not accepting others.
To accept oneself is to say I am entitled to exercise my courage. To accept others is to say you’re entitled to exercise yours.
Often others will ask us to accept their views uncritically. Reject that. Our minds are formed by making our own choices. And as we do we fill our existences with meaning.
The exercise of courage gets us closer to loving fully.
We may or may not get to be loved back with our same intensity – luck has a role in it – but having dared to be our best and reach as high as we can, will always be a mighty reward.
Call it self love.