Updated: Jun 13
''In acceptance lieth peace.''
These 4 words from Amy Carmichaels poem about acceptance have slowly become part of my inner world. I am hoping that you too can join me in learning the power of acceptance. I am not talking about apathy here, rather I am exploring the power of accepting of oneself and of others as they are and not as we wish them to be.
To pray for ''The serenity to accept the things you cannot change, courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.'' Kudos to the prayer uttered by Reinhold Neibuhr, 1892-1971
Self-acceptance is exactly what its name suggests: the state of complete acceptance of oneself. True self-acceptance is embracing who you are, without any qualifications, conditions, or exceptions (Seltzer, 2008).
The good news
If you are someone who has struggled with this, you’re not alone. I too have had to fight through low self-worth to accept myself. I come to offer you hope on your journey. It is possible to get to a place where you have a warm feeling in your heart towards yourself. This is not self-aggrandizing or narcism, this is a deep appreciation of who God has made you. In turn, when you are able to accept yourself then you are able to offer the same acceptance to others in their imperfect states. We end up treating those closest to us, the way we treat ourselves.
The inner critical and judgemental voice
On my podcast, I have shared a lot about my father wound and how it has affected me and the journey to wholeness I have traveled. I share openly with you so that you can relate and see that you too can follow a path towards restoration. I believe that the lack of a healthy father created an inner critical voice to help me survive life and a judgmental voice to help me protect myself.
A healthy father helps a child develop her inner world of self-acceptance, self-expression, self-protection, boundaries, and the processing of her emotions. I see the critical voice as an angry strict school ma'am who was put in charge of my psychological child when she was abandoned. But now the child has grown and still the ma'am shows up as a constant background noise, judging and criticizing my every emotion. It is time for us to kick out the critical voice and apply the gentle voice of self-acceptance and compassion. To grow into maturity and wholeness.
It is not self-improvement
Let's touch on self-improvement. I think growth and wanting to improve is a good thing, it is key to have vision and a sense of achievement in life. But, if it is coming from a place of a constant need to improve to feel validated, worthy, or finally be acceptable to yourself, then all self-esteem achieved from hitting your goals will certainly be short-lived.
Don’t wait till you have achieved the goals you want or until you have climbed that mountain you have set your eyes on. Accept yourself as you are climbing. It is important for growth and change to be able to compassionately accept all parts of yourself, including the weaker parts.
Self-acceptance is an inside job that requires self-compassion.
In each moment you're either practicing self-acceptance—or you're judging yourself.— Linda Arnold
Psychiatrist and concentration camp survivor Edith Eger teaches through her work, that you must learn to be a good mother to you. This has been one of the keys to my own restoration. I offer it as a signpost to you. To practice self-compassion it takes a slowing down of your inner dialogue.
Begin to speak internally to yourself with words like...
''Well done, you are doing your best you don't have to do anymore. ''
''I love you.''
''You are precious.''
''You are allowed to feel. All feelings are welcome. You don't get stuck in them. But you are allowed to feel.''
''What would you like to enjoy today?''
''These life situations do not reflect your worth, your worth is 100% always.''
This is the work. To begin to practice kind, gentle, and compassionate self-talk.
Here is a little practical tool. When you become aware of self-judgy inner dialogue try pinching your index finger and thumb finger together, and begin to speak well towards yourself. This is not woo-woo. This small action is just something to do to bring you back into the moment you are in. You can then literally reprogram your inner automatic learned self-criticism into a more gentle and compassionate voice. It won't change overnight, but it will change as you begin to redirect the flow of negative inner talk into a more positive state toward yourself.
I still have to practice this and when I am consistent in doing it and being self-aware of my inner dialogue I notice my feeling towards myself is a lot more balanced and calm.
Begin to treat yourself as though you are someone who you care very deeply for.
A poem by Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)
He said, ‘I will forget the dying faces; The empty places, They shall be filled again. O voices moaning deep within me, cease.’ But vain the word; vain, vain: Not in forgetting lieth peace.
He said, ‘I will crowd action upon action, The strife of faction Shall stir me and sustain; O tears that drown the fire of manhood cease.’
But vain the word; vain, vain: Not in endeavour lieth peace.
He said, ‘I will withdraw me and be quiet, Why meddle in life’s riot? Shut be my door to pain. Desire, thou dost befool me, thou shalt cease.’ But vain the word; vain, vain: Not in aloofness lieth peace.
He said, ‘I will submit; I am defeated. God hath depleted My life of its rich gain. O futile murmurings, why will ye not cease?’ But vain the word; vain, vain: Not in submission lieth peace.
He said, ‘I will accept the breaking sorrow Which God tomorrow Will to His son explain.’ Then did the turmoil deep within me cease. Not vain the word, not vain; For in acceptance lieth peace.
It is about progress, not perfection
From my heart to yours