Radical Self Acceptance; What it is and How to Practice
What would it feel like to grant yourself radical self-acceptance… right now? Close your eyes, take a deep breath (or two, or three…), and notice the sensations in your body when you think of what it would feel like to completely accept yourself for all that you are. Your triumphs, mistakes, regrets, pain, joy, insecurities… the whole you. Do you feel lighter? Maybe you feel a little less tight in the chest, your tense shoulders relax a bit, or like you can finally take a deep, cleansing breath. These are the ideas explored in the book, “Radical Self Acceptance: A Buddhist Guide to Freeing Yourself from Shame” by Tara Brach. Here are some of our biggest takeaways:
Why is Self Acceptance so Important?
When you can look at your past decisions and personality traits from a neutral, and perhaps curious, perspective, it releases the shackles of shame that can loom over our lives. Shame can cause us to see ourselves as failures, inferior to others, and “not enough.” What would it look and feel like to give yourself grace for going through the learning process, and give yourself permission to grow your own way, at your own pace? Science proves to us that inviting in a growth mindset allows us to increase our distress tolerance, making us more resilient to negative thought patterns and decreasing the risk of self-harm. The more grace and acceptance we give ourselves, the happier, healthier, and longer our lives become.
What’s Interfering With Self Acceptance?
Society tells us from a young age that we need to act and be a certain way in order to be loved and accepted by others. So our personalities are groomed to “fit in,” and all the wonderful, quirky, and unique parts of ourselves get buried by shame and the fear of not being accepted or loved by others. This shame is exacerbated by social media, where your “worth” can be measured by the number of likes you get. And now we see fake reality, people editing photos to harbor an unrealistic standard for us to achieve in our daily lives. We wake up dissatisfied that we don’t look like we have a filter over our faces the moment we get out of bed or maybe our bodies don’t look the way the photoshopped models’ do. Shame is compounded by comparison.
What You Can Do:
Read the book! It’s lovely to listen to it as an audiobook as well. You will be provided with tangible ways to dive deep into yourself and love all those little dark corners of your heart. Little meditations and mindfulness exercises are provided at the end of each chapter to encourage healing and guide you through your self-acceptance journey.
Talk to a mental health professional or licensed therapist. The human mind is so complex, it can be hard to navigate deep feelings and the healing process on our own. So don’t be afraid to reach out and find a professional to help you along in your journey.
Self-Care. Showing yourself little acts of kindness will plant the seeds of love, healing, and inherent worth. Make a list of 5-10 things you can do that bring you joy, peace, or a sense of playfulness. Then pick at least one day every week to “self-care.” It’s different for everyone, but some examples are hiking, journaling, painting, yoga, meditation, baths, aromatherapy, swimming, etc.
LIFE… Here for You
We hope this information finds you with an open heart and desire to love yourself deeper… because you deserve it! Let us know how your self-acceptance journey is going or what you’re doing to start. Reach out on social media, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org