This. This is what I have been doing lately. Self-acceptance vs. self-improvement.
It’s not work that comes naturally. I’m a recovering gotta show only the impressive bits lady. And lately I’m a mission to change that. For me. For my daughter. For the world. The Things I’d Never Say podcast is all about this. And my daily practices of embracing all parts of me–the messy, the sad, the angry, the jealous–is part of this.
I’m human. You’re human. It’s okay.
Like the great coach Robert Holden once said, “No amount of self-improvement can make up for a lack of self-acceptance.”
Please read this quote from spiritual teacher Pema Chodron, from her book The Wisdom of No Escape:
“When people start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they are going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. It’s a bit like saying, “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.” “If I could only get a nicer house, I’d be a better person.” “If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.”
But loving-kindness – maitri – towards ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we ware. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.”
Will you join me in this? It’s truly bold, transformational, counter-culture work. And it feels DAMN GOOD.