How to Heal the World: Accept and Love Yourself
This quote hit me like a ton of bricks this week. Not so much that you can’t love someTHING, but that you can’t love someONE until you can accept them. I’m not proud to admit that I struggle in that area. I am sometimes surprised at how hard-hearted I have become. And why? Why can I not love people? It is absolutely because I cannot accept them. But why is it so hard to accept them? I wrestled with this one. Ultimately, it all boils down to that age old… because I do not accept myself. We cannot love others until we first accept and love ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up acceptance had to be earned. To be accepted you had to act a certain way, dress a certain way, behave in accordance with the group. If you didn’t, woe to you! You would be teased, tortured and eaten alive by your peers, or even your own family. I learned at a very young age that there was a formula to being accepted, to being loved, and to surviving in this world. And sometimes, following that formula meant selling my soul. It was not okay to be who I am. It was not safe to be authentic. So I traded my authenticity for survival and to minimize my suffering. I lost who I was. Maybe I never knew.
When I see other’s who are not following the formula, I become critical of them. In part, I am concerned for them. Maybe they don’t know that it is dangerous to act that way, to look that way. I’d better show them that is not acceptable before they encounter someone who will really hurt them. Partly, I feel that it is not fair. I had to sell my soul to be accepted. Why should they be accepted just the way they are?
But… is it really about them? Or is it about me? What if I could accept myself? What if I could go back and pick up the pieces I left behind and be whole? Then could I accept them? Yes! If I didn’t feel so deficient in myself, I wouldn’t be so bothered by what other’s do. The truth is, there is a real hurt, a real pain deep inside that you live with when you don’t love yourself, when you’ve sold out and given up pieces of yourself. That pain needs to heal and you are the only one who can heal it. You are the only one who can accept you for you. Someone else can accept you, but they can’t make YOU accept you.
I am not new to the path of self-discovery. I’ve been working on me for a long, long time. I thought I had overcome the issues of self-acceptance. So this one kinda kicked me in the butt. I did that work, I thought. I know how to give myself grace, how to accept feelings that I cannot change. I’ve dealt with my past. I did all that work and it was hard! But this… this is bigger. This is a deeper work. It’s hard and it hurts. But the reward… the reward of doing the work is so great. Is there a bigger reward than acceptance and love?
I know that in our world today, there is a huge outcry. People are crying out loudly about this very thing. We can no longer survive as fragments. People are crying out for acceptance, for the permission, the ability to be who they were created to be. We have work to do! The world needs us now more than ever! It needs us to remember who we are and why we are here. So we cry for acceptance, but we no longer know who we are. We lost ourselves so long ago….
Some of us struggle quietly, inwardly and some of us struggle outwardly, publically. It is not hard to see people who are struggling to find their authenticity and we hear about acceptance all the time. It is a messy process, finding oneself. It seems our whole country and maybe even the whole world is caught up in it right now. What can you do? How can you do your part to help heal the world? Accept yourself. Then accept others. And you will spark a chain reaction that could heal the whole world! Love is our only hope.
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© 2019 Amanda Buck