Self-Acceptance: Is It Truly Possible?
Today I am wrapping up the graduation celebrations and starting a new chapter in my journey. As I turn the page, once again I am turning over my blog to another talented blogger. My guest today, Debra Hennesy will share with you her thought on self-acceptance many can relate to. Join me in giving a warm welcome to Debra.
Self-Acceptance: Is It Truly Possible?
A couple of years ago, I was approached by our high school class president about heading up a committee for our class reunion (okay, I actually brought the subject up to him, so technically I volunteered…WHY do I bring these things on myself?!). This particular reunion was a big milestone for us, so I thought the excitement would be high. As the event grew closer, I started to notice some nervous chatter among my peers; people were anxious about their appearance (Not just women, mind you! Plenty of men joined in!).
It struck me that we as a society tend to use events as “goals” for weight loss: weddings, beach vacations, and yes, what appears to strike fear into many hearts, the dreaded high school reunion! I even heard the comment, “I’m not going unless I lose 20 pounds”…what?! Were we as a class that judgmental, and/or is that person so insecure that he/she wouldn’t feel comfortable attending without a dramatic change? Why is it that, for certain events, we feel like we need to become someone we’re not?
OK, I hear you saying “But we all want to put our best foot forward!”, and I agree…heck, I had my hair appointment scheduled for over a month, and I spent some time at the pool with my son the week before to have that “summer glow”. But it bothers me that we’re almost EXPECTED to look to these elusive dates as if some magical transformation should occur…that we’re not comfortable enough in our own skin to simply look forward to an event, rather than focusing so much on our physical appearance.
Which presents several questions: what, then, happens AFTER the event? Do we go back to the way we were before, or stay in that “shiny new state”? And, whatever we choose, how do we feel about it? Have we changed how we feel on the inside? Does the focus shift to ANOTHER aspect of ourselves that isn’t “good enough”? Is this a cycle that is destined to repeat itself throughout life as long as there are events on the horizon?
This gives us an excellent opportunity to practice mindfulness: being present for each moment. Not to dwell on the past (“Oh, if only I could fit into the size I wore in high school now! Those were the days!”) or worry about the future (“Only two more weeks until our vacation? Wow, I’d better cut those carbs now so I can fit into my swimsuit!”), but to be content with what is happening in each moment, and who we are right NOW. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t pay attention to our appearance at all…by all means, do what makes you feel good about yourself, and don’t starve yourself to attain an unrealistic goal…be healthy, but most of all, be happy!
Now, I can’t guarantee that there won’t be “cliques” or judgment at YOUR reunions! However, I have personally found that with each one I attend, and each decade that passes, there are fewer cliques and less judgment…I think we’re learning that what seemed so important in our teen years is fleeting. As a class, we came together and enjoyed spending time with each other, rather than passing judgment. We had fun, we reminisced about “the good ‘ol days”, and we shared our current lives with each other. I have to admit that, in doing so, we were ALL practicing mindfulness and kindness…which was a real gift to us all!
So, if you are hesitant to be excited about an upcoming event in your life because of your appearance, I say to you: close your eyes for a moment and repeat after me, “Whatever is happening in my life right now, I do not need to look elsewhere for approval. I am perfect just as I am.” The regrets we have tend to be over those things we DIDN’T do, not the things we were brave enough to do. Take a deep breath, and live your life!
Debra Hennesy, E-RYT, CPT is the owner of Feel Your Best (FYB) Teacher Training School and Wellness Company. FYB trains aspiring yoga and Pilates instructors and yoga therapists. Debra helps individuals, small groups, and businesses create balance in all aspects of life through stress management techniques based in psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). She and her 8-year-old son call Parker, Colorado home. For more information, and to schedule your complementary breakthrough session, contact Debra at Info@FeelYourBest.com or 303-681-4007.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.