There is so much going around on social media about accepting yourself just as you are and having the courage to change. So, which is it? Do we accept ourselves fully or do we change that which we believe to be lacking or undesirable? It can’t be both, right? I believe they can and are. My experience has shown me that they are not contradictory and that they are a part of the same process that must begin with genuine self-acceptance.
If I don’t care about (accept) myself, why would I care about changing? I had to FIRST love and accept myself exactly as I was before I could begin to change that which was blocking me from happiness.”
This realization was vital to my recovery, for not until I began to care about myself, fatal flaws and all, could I have the motivation to change. And trust me, there wasn’t a whole lot of good to love and accept. I was 37 years old with a trail of wreckage behind me. “Changing” at 37 seemed highly improbable, but it took that long for me because I had never cared for myself before that time. In fact, in hindsight, I think I despised myself for everything that I wasn’t…and was… and all that I could have been, but never became. But, something happened that changed my perspective. I don’t know exactly what that “something” was, but I began to feel compassion for myself, if that’s possible. I appreciated my own pain and began to care about this human life that was hurting so badly. I was a mother, a daughter and a woman with a good heart, though it was covered up with so much fear, pain and self-loathing. I had fooled myself for so long that it was life that I couldn’t bear, when in fact, it was being in my own skin that I couldn’t tolerate.
So, what did I do? I started by looking in the mirror, both literally and figuratively, and no longer condemned what I saw, but began to love and care about this woman who was so lost. I still feel badly for her… that she had to suffer for so long. But, that is over now. Over 10 years ago, I began making changes in my life by reading (and implementing) the wisdom of sages and seeking God’s will for me through prayer and meditation. And day after day, month after month, year after year, my life got better. I got better. Ah, God’s Grace and hard, honest work…the makings of a miracle.
I remember when I was first presented with the idea of aspiring to do God’s will and not my own, and it frustrated me. Who the hell knows what the will of God is? I mean, really? Well, as it turned out, it wasn’t really that complicated. It began to come to me in fragments: First, I was sure, He wanted me to get and stay sober. He wanted me to get a job (any job) and pay my own way. He wanted me to be completely honest and to be kind and respectful to my fellow women and men. He wanted me to be a giver and no longer just a taker. He wanted me to be a good mother to my children and He wanted me stop blaming everybody and everything for the state of my own life. He wanted me to be accountable and to seek His guidance when I felt lost or scared. Quite simply, I sought Him and He came, bringing me insight I had never known.
So, what does God want you to change or accept? Just ask Him.
Karen Michelle Miller