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.

It is self-love. 

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.

That’s progress!

Author

Nicola is a Health & Wellness coach with 20 years experience helping people heal and find their path. She is a qualified Reflexologist, Masseuse and Life Coach. She has created content for intherooms.com for 7 years. She was Editor at iloverecovery.com and has written for many recovery publications online and in print. She is also an author at The Girl God books. She has lived with type 1 diabetes for 38 years, since she was 7 years old.

2 Comments

  1. I never read a story or hear someone tell their story without being able to relate. The pandemic is really giving me cabin fever but my sobriety date is still 10/23/1994 so I’m doing something right. I miss meetings! The only thing I can do is just stay clean and sober and live the steps. When I first started I worked a program and after a while I started living one. I have a couple of friends still on the path to not looking to stop but there has been a few times that I seen people from the old way of living making their way through the steps. Times like these shows me faith in the steps. Acceptance is the answer to all my problems but I can still mess up a one man band so go on and on or at least try until I get out of my way. I get more out of things now whether it is music art tinkering what ever I’m doing it keeps me out of myself. Right now I’m putting stain on a deck and the first coat is always the slowest because the wood drinks most of it up. The next coats come in the spring and now that most of the leaves are gone to get in my way. I never think about how long it takes but afterwards I know how long it took. That time is spent bringing out the wood grain. (BEAUTIFUL!) I live like this everyday! If I was to dwell on how much time that was spent getting messed up and not remembering anything I’d be in a bad way all the time. I thank each and everyone of you with the beauty of my life now!
    JFB

  2. Success does start with you and for you. Good going I admire your strength and determination. Heres to continued happiness.
    Carol

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