Self- Acceptance


I’m standing at the edge of yet another beginning which, in turn, means that I’m phasing out of an old season. I’m standing in the middle space- the place that is always a bit too quiet and empty. The middle space makes me uncomfortable because it brings me nose to nose with all of those little things I should have probably dealt with a long time ago, but instead shuffled away with excuses like: “I’m fine!” or “I don’t have time to deal with this right now.”

Quiet space has a way of digging up all the points of contention I have with myself and forcing me to hash through them. This is both very healthy and also incredibly frustrating at times.

At this point, I understand myself enough to know that without a new ambition, a clear direction, or a plan of action, I start wilting. I get restless and shaky and claustrophobic. I suddenly become strangely addictive, too: books! experiences! people! art!  –I get desperate for something new to fill in the dead space and this is, possibly, another deflection strategy.

I was getting to that place, again, this time. Nothing really satisfied me anymore. I was feeling chronically annoyed, a symptom that was rooted in my own dissatisfaction with myself. When you start projecting blame, the truth is that the problem probably lies within you, somewhere.

What I do in these situations is go somewhere very quiet (usually this is my bedroom very late at night). Then, I free write all of my thoughts until I can’t squeeze out anything more, until I can’t find another angle to see from, until I’m tired of listening to my own thoughts. After this, I either go to sleep or take a walk or make something with my hands.

This is how I clear space in my mind. It’s a meditative purging, in a way. It usually helps connect the dots for me and gain a tighter grip, mentally and emotionally, on the situation.

In this case, the problem was that I wasn’t forgiving myself for, essentially, the fact that I am an imperfect human being and that sometimes I make bad choices and mistakes. Also, sometimes, when worry and stress, mixed with the inability to forgive yourself, sits pent up long enough, it starts to turn into a subtle feeling of constant guilt over something you can’t quite pinpoint or, maybe, something you didn’t even do.

That’s where I was getting stuck. In my head, I knew that something in me was a little bit off, but it also seemed far easier to pass off the blame to other people or situations.

This kind of mentality burns the life out of you.

Most of my deepest restlessness usually stems from a place of dissatisfaction with some part of myself. When I can’t stand to peacefully be alone in the quiet, there’s a problem. In this case, I needed to apologize. I needed to allow myself grace. I needed to fill my soul, rather than squeeze it shut.

I feel like I keep learning the same lesson over and over again, but that isn’t necessarily discouraging. Self-acceptance is one of those things that evolves. You might have to do it again in different times and seasons and places as you meet and grow new pieces of yourself. Extending grace will always get you further ahead than beating yourself up for walking in what is, in your perception, a tired circle running along the same track. But, most likely, what you are actually doing is walking in circles that are rippling outward, growing larger from that narrow core from where you started.

So, rather than fighting the tension and the quiet space, lean hard into it. Find a way to work through the restlessness and, as always, remember be gentle with yourself along the way.

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