The conditions for change are created instantly by acceptance. It is not until we accept things as they are that we can work towards how they can be.
This applies to our own growth as well. Self-acceptance is crucial in the journey to bettering our emotional health.
By not accepting ourselves, we are fighting an internal battle every single day. If we constantly feel as if we are failing, those feelings of anger and disappointment become our dominant emotions. We must let go of those if we want to truly grow.
“You cannot make new choices until you watch yourself make your current choices.”
Self-acceptance is the prerequisite to compassionately engaging in a situation and turning it into something that serves us better. We’ll start to feel a lot happier once we practice compassion, rather than judgement, towards our feelings and behaviours.
However, self-acceptance doesn’t automatically mean approval or endorsement. Accepting ourselves doesn’t mean holding on to habits and behaviours that harm ourselves or people we love. We are human, and that means we’ll make mistakes. It is our humanity that makes us worthy of compassion, not our successes. Self-acceptance allows us to gain our sense of self-worth from simply being humans who are imperfect, just like everybody else.
It’s unrealistic to expect ourselves to respond “perfectly” to everything that hurts us. It’s okay if we overindulge in biscuits after a particularly stressful day at work, or make a fast food run after a fight with our partner. Our relationship to food is ongoing and complicated. It is only by recognising that we deserve compassion, regardless of our choices, that we can give ourselves full permission to grow to a healthier relationship with our food.