All spiritual teachers speak of the importance of self-acceptance. At the beginning of my conscious spiritual journey (conscious because all our life is really that but only at a certain point do we become conscious of that notion) I was puzzled by this. Why even talk about self-importance? Is it not selfish to even think of it?
In our society we are caught between two contradictions that can, if we allow them, slow down our journey towards self-acceptance. They are the confusion of self-acceptance with self-importance (or egoism), and distrust of any form of spirituality. We can’t blame ourselves for confusing self-importance or egoism with self-acceptance because most of us have never had the difference explained to us. Most of us are exposed and actively participate (and this includes myself as well) in the media and social media, screaming with its ‘look at me!’ messages. But self-importance is different from self-acceptance, and the most important difference is this: self-importance is a desperate attempt by the ego to be better than others. This is not a judgement and I am quite convinced we are wired by nature to be like this; our society both encourages it and disapproves of it.
Self-acceptance is different. Self-acceptance does not mean that you try to be better than anyone else, but it allows you to live with yourself in peace, it allows you to accept all your ‘imperfections’, and it allows you to forgive all that you believe you need to forgive. This is why I believe that all spiritual teachers emphasise self-acceptance. If you do not accept yourself, frustration, anger, and even hatred can unconsciously make your decisions for you. You might feel unworthy of good things in life, or even worse you might feel unworthy of happiness and any connection with that mysterious force that we are part of. This what self-acceptance teaches us – you need to feel worthy (but not better than others – this is not a contest) to be able to feel that connection with the ultimate source of existence. To feel one with the One.
You can call the One anything you want – I think traditional religions have spoiled the ‘G’ word for us enough so I am not going there – but that does not mean the source does not exist or that this connection is not the most important and beneficial part of our existence.
Am I getting too philosophical? Probably. You see, this little blog is an exercise in self-acceptance for me. I have been beating myself up about not being more popular, about not writing on more mainstream topics that would attract bigger audiences and please publishers. But that is not who I am.
I am that person who, ever since she could remember, has been puzzled by questions such as: ‘Who am I? Where do we come from? Where are we going? What is a fulfilling life and how can I have it?’ Did it make me the most popular girl in class? Probably not. So now I am writing this blog as an act of self–acceptance. This is who I am and I hope I can love myself as I am. Like many women, I have a long history of hating my ‘imperfections’. I want to move past that. And, I believe, the questions that obsess me can also be of interest to you. Perhaps we can walk towards the answers together – in self-acceptance, and as we are – perfect in our imperfections. Awake.©Joanna Kujawa