Personal acceptance is hugely important in the realm of recovery. Embracing acceptance—or not—can make us or break us. It is the key to living our lives in a state of peace or turmoil.
For me, acceptance is directly linked to my self-worth.
I am in the midst of a huge battle between my will and the reality and acceptance of my limitations on a constant basis. Anyone who knows me will tell you how strong my will is. I do not give up without a bloodbath of a fight.
That can be a good and bad thing. My will has both driven me to be successful in some parts of my life but also brought me kicking and screaming to a psych ward.
Today, my will has brought me to this moment, where I pushed myself too hard after surgery, and now i have an infection which has set me back weeks. Unfortunately, my will is rather egotistical.
It tells me I am stronger than other people, that I don’t need to rest for the required time. My will bullies me into not taking care of myself, and makes me feel like I am not good enough, weak and worthless when I cannot achieve.
My will does not recognize acceptance.
It wants what it wants and right now! Many times I am not mature enough to acknowledge my limitations and today I am forced to accept that.
I have done this to myself my entire life. Push push push. I believe that this character trait comes from wanting to escape trauma. From a young age I have experienced chronic illness, sexual abuse and witnessed things that no child should have to.
In my attempt to escape the grips of these traumatic events, I promised myself I would not fail. The problem was, that promise, made me abandon myself and I became my own tormentor. My inner dialogue was mean and nasty instead of a compassionate one which I desperately needed.
I thought the world would view me as disgusting and defected – as I saw myself. And by my recent behaviour, it appears as if there are remnants of that belief still floating around inside myself.
So I sat and wrote in my notebook about what exactly self-acceptance looks like to me. Here’s what I came up with.
It is kindness.
When I close my eyes and think of myself as that little girl I can still feel her pain. Holding my hands out to her and allowing her to express what she feels makes she and I better.
It is acknowledgement.
As I said, the running from the realities of my life has tripped me up many times. Allowing myself to embrace the hurt feelings inside me lets me stand still and breathe.
It is compassion.
I have endless compassion for others but have problems having it for myself. Self-compassion is also acknowledgement and gives me permission to feel how I do.
If I saw another person where I am and have been I would reach for them to show them love. I would make them hot tea, sit them in a cozy chair and wrap a warm blanket around them. I would allow them to cry, hold their hand and offer them hugs. Can I do this for myself?
It is strength.
To own all that you are and have been is a powerful undertaking. It allows us to accept others and see their pain even if they are not speaking it. To understand yourself brings self-love and unconditional love for others also.
It is surrender.
A battle with oneself is utterly devastating. My inner battle manifested as self-punishment and self-harm. It has made me intolerant of myself and of others. I surrender.
I’ve seen almost everyone I know in recovery search and search for wellness and peace. I can guarantee it will always start within yourself. It may be helpful for you to also sit with a pen and paper and ask yourself what self-acceptance looks like for you. It may be very different from mine.
Today, I have had to concede. I am indeed human and flawed and I have many limitations. If anyone is looking for me I will be in my bed allowing myself to get well.