Tuesday, October 13, 2009
This is part 3 of a series on tools for going through major life transitions.
Now that you are in the midst of a huge transition, you’ve realized that you need to see the big picture and learned to observe yourself, what’s next? The answer is self-acceptance. A result of self-observation might be regrets, realization of having made a few mistakes, noticing repeated patterns or choices, etc. This is why the next tool is self-acceptance which includes: self-forgiveness and self-love. Yes, you may have made a few mistakes, but you cannot change the past, only your experience of the present moment. If we are judgmental of our self, then we are not accepting our self and cannot move forward. Guilt and shame are shackles that bind us to our past and will ensure that we don’t move forward and create joyful experiences throughout our transition. This may sound simple, but imagine a woman who has left a dysfunctional marriage with no job and has to provide for her children who blame her for the dissolution of their family. In order for her to experience success and joy, she has to accept her decision as hard as it may have been and allow her children to go through their own experiences without any guilt. As a mother, this is not an easy task. Self-acceptance comes when one takes responsibility for one’s own life and only that. Yes, she is a mother, but she is not responsible for her children’s feelings or opinions. Her acceptance of her own decisions and self-responsibility is the greatest teaching to her children who only learn by example.
This tool is a very powerful tool that is not easy to use. It takes lots of practice and it will undo many beliefs that no longer serve you. It will uncover the past and stuff that have lingered on for too long. It will give you the opportunity to choose what you really want and move forward in your journey, but only if you are ready and willing to boldly accept you and all that you are and all that you have done. This is where self-love comes in handy. Once again, the topic sounds benign, but we are mostly amateurs at it. We have been trained to love others, but not our self. We only venture to love our self, if someone else deems it deserving. If our loved ones say that we are a great mother, friend, brother, employee, etc. then we might consider our self deserving of love, but here too, only deserving of their love. Unconditional self-love is the result of true self-acceptance and very necessary to move through challenging transitions. However, if you cannot love yourself unconditionally, how can you truly love another unconditionally? If you cannot forgive yourself for mistakes, how can you forgive someone else? And if you cannot accept you, in the shape you are in right now (whatever weight you may have, whoever you may have hurt, whatever job you may have, however messy your home may be, etc.), you are not in the present moment. If you are experiencing regrets about the past or fantasizing about the future, you cannot move through change simply because you are not here to experience it. It is a denial of what is. This denial will only prolong the inevitable and that’s the reason why transitions seem so difficult.
In summary, if you are going through earth shattering change, you may want to take a look at the big picture, observe you in it, and then jump right in and love and honor yourself and the journey you’re on. Self-acceptance is an essential tool when going through transitions. For tool #4, stay tuned until next week’s post.