The Art of Self Acceptance

“I’m a frizzy-haired, impatient, introvert with chronic pelvic pain.”

I went to a book signing with Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe yesterday.  I’ve been following their work for quite some time now and they’ve had a huge influence in my viewpoints on health at large.  I really wanted to chat with them and to let them know just how much what they do has meant to me.  The thing is, I’m quite introverted and getting words out, especially when they’re deeply personal, is a challenge for me.  As a result, I gave this brief meeting a lot of thought.

The Art of Self Acceptance

As an unintended consequence of this event, however, I ended up thinking a lot about myself.  It started out with the very real consideration that I’m just naturally shy. (Watch out when you do get to know me though, it’s hard to get me to stop talking!) And being an introvert within the deafening rumblings of the internet can seem like a definite shortcoming.

The problem with insecurities is that they seem to flock in groups.  My worrisome thoughts on being too introverted lead me to think about all the other parts of myself that I don’t really love. The hair on my head has a mind of its own that serves as a constant reminder that I don’t have as much control over myself as I wish I did.  I have the darned-ness time waiting for things and as a result, often end up rushing processes that shouldn’t be rushed…and routinely pay the consequences for that.  I’ve been plagued with pelvic pain for the past 10 years that I often can’t fully get a grip over and that affects 100% of my daily activities.  And this is just a preliminary sampling of the full list!

All these thoughts can really get a person down. After all, if it is who you are, how are you not supposed to feel bad about it?  Fortunately, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized there’s a bit of a trick to thinking like this that really works for me.

Though I don’t claim to have any of this fully figured out (and that this is entirely individualized), I’ve made a lot of strides with self acceptance by the addition of two very small but very important words: right now.

Here’s the thing.  It’s been crucial for me to turn:

“I’m a frizzy-haired, impatient, introvert with chronic pelvic pain.” 

Into:

“I’m a frizzy-haired, impatient, introvert with chronic pelvic pain right now.”

The difference, while subtle, makes for an entirely different mindset. Currently, it is true that I’m a gal with wild curls, the inability to wait, the tendency to be shy, and an ongoing struggle with pain.  But what is important to realize is that while those are timely descriptors, those things aren’t really who I am at my core.  The words “right now” imply that not only can things change over time, but that I have the power to influence all these factors if I so choose. The resulting phrase is also entirely more accurate.  I haven’t been all these things in the past and I can safely assume that they’re not guaranteed to stay exactly this way.

And having that mindset, changes these thoughts from defeating and deflating words to things I can (relatively) easily turn into actionable items.

Luckily, this type of thinking works from my serious chronic health problems to the silliest of personal annoyances. It puts me in the frame of mind to accept what is currently happening without letting the thoughts leave me powerless and lost.  I can implement the advise of this brilliant lady and I can make up recipes like this.  The point is, I can do things that have the ability to change the future outcome.  Even though I realize that I may never entirely undo these insecurities, I do believe I can make some improvements.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “But it’s not self acceptance if you’re still trying to change it!”  My argument is that self acceptance is not synonymous with giving up…it’s about finding a way of thinking that lets you be at peace with yourself the way you currently are.  And the future?  Well, who knows.

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