Acceptance! moving forward in your life by accepting oneself. Training for Warriors Portland
ACCEPT. It all starts there.
It doesn’t matter where you go, if you don’t know who you are. Acceptance is: taking a realistic appraisal of who you really are beneath the Batman. This can be a challenge.
Eckhart Tolle describes it as a forgiveness process, which puts some people off but this description resonates with me.
Brian Tracy says forgiveness is a selfish act, as it sets you free from the past (what this post is about).
The reason that I believe we need to begin with forgiveness is because most of us don’t live our values outwardly 100% of the time, all day every day. Due to the gravity of habit, many of us directly live in violation of our values due simply to life inertia.
One example: I have a job that requires me to get up very early. Instead of cooking a breakfast of healthy fats and protein, I shotgun some Starbucks and eat out of the vending machine at work.
Without our conscious will, we will often collide with our values.
Take 10 minutes to look at your values with a simple drill.
Take a piece of paper and divide it in half.
On the left side, think of the people you most admire and write down how they view the world and how they treat themselves. How do they treat others? How do they respond to conflict? Adversity? Challenge? Opportunity? What characterizes their behavior?
On the right side of the paper, write down the things that bother you the most about the world, about people. What kind of people are creating pain and hardship? Think about times when you feel the most disappointed with folks and write down what you believe are their motivations. What are the most destructive forces at work in the world?
Our values frequently affect ways we relate to others and the world and are easiest to analyze through social reflection. You should have a piece of paper that has two sides. One side represents your aspirations, because values are just that. Aspirational. On the other side of your paper are the reciprocal values, the opposite of what you strive to be.
Here is where forgiveness and acceptance come in to play.
Through a life lived unconsciously, it is easy to run roughshod over your own values. Over time, as you look in the mirror and don’t see the change you want in this world, resentment builds. Self-conflict, a sense that your light is being used to distract and not illuminate the world, sets in. Here, our minds write stories and weave tales about why we are behaving in this manner... and we can become pretty convinced these stories are true.
The truth is that we are not perfect.
We have a shadow, as Deepak Chopra is fond of saying. This shadow is as much a part of us as our aspirational values and when we look in the mirror and embrace this part of us (this “dark side” designed to serve and protect us), we have great power. Read the book “The Shadow Effect”, co-written by Deepak Chopra for more on this concept. The basic idea is acceptance of our total self.
Reconcile your aspirational values. Become more virtuous and at the same time embrace the fact that you are in touch with all aspects of yourself. Remember, I said "In touch with yourself", not beholden to.
Look in the mirror. Look at your life. Look at what you have in the bank and balance that with what you believe you deserve. This exercise brought me to tears the first time I looked at myself. My entire life was a traffic accident and I was the principle driver. I was in a tremendous amount of pain, living in an automated pattern of violating my values and sliding further off a fiscal/emotional/physical precipice. I remember vividly looking at my life and accepting that I had driven much of it into ruin... and not being angry but truly being hopeful. I believe that making different decisions is just a matter of knowing who you are and keeping those values in mind. In doing this, the choices are not necessarily easy but more obvious.
Look at yourself for who you are and accept that it is.
Once you’ve done that, you can move forward propelled by something bigger than you: who you are becoming.