Self-Acceptance

QA154 QUESTION: I have come across a number of problem areas that all point towards my own self-acceptance. And I don’t know what to do at the moment, because I just don’t see where I am.

ANSWER: In the first place, you are indeed moving with enormous steps and speed toward health. If one would really be able to evaluate where you are now and where you have been only a few months ago, one might almost call it miraculous, if there were such a thing.

Now, your sudden insight and seeing yourself as not accepting yourself is the first step toward self-acceptance. You now begin to sense this, partially in a vague way but partially, at moments at least, you get glimpses of where you see to what an extent you have rejected, not only yourself but also reality.

From that point of view, it will be easier to direct your next steps on this Path in a meaningful way so that you know where you are going and why. If you stop by saying nonacceptance of yourself per se, it cannot help you. If you say nonacceptance of reality, again this is too vague a concept that cannot help you.

But if you combine these two, if you see to what extent you have not accepted yourself because you had a total misconception of what reality should be like, you will know where to go. For example, let me point it out this way. You imagine reality ought to be that you, as well as other people, should be different in degree of perfection.

In that way you have rejected reality as it happens to be in your realm of being. Now, if you can come to the point where you can accept the reality that you and others and the world you live in is what is, and not what you thought it ought to be, you will know in what direction to move. This is only one example.

The next example is that you have set a very definitive period after each concept of how one should be good, or how one should not be bad. And that is all there was to it in your conscious and unconscious perception of things, of life, of people, of the reality you live in.

So that when you perceive a negative trait in either yourself or others, you could not accept it, because that was all there was to it. On the other hand, you could not even set out to understand its reason for being, because it was so unacceptable, so objectionable for you, that you had to completely turn away and push it away.

Now, your acceptance of reality and yourself and others in terms of reality might extend to the point where you say, “Yes, we are all these imperfections, but it is not just bad. Let us see why; let me expand my horizon and understand why.” This will give you a much better grasp of your own reality.

Another example is that you have confusions – and therefore self-rejection – of elements of right and wrong, not only in the sense of what is actually perhaps an undesirable trait, and you could not accept yourself or others because of the existence of this undesirable trait, but also in the sense of complete confusion of what is desirable and what is undesirable in a human’s life.

For example, feelings and pleasure – part of this would be the whole concept of sexuality, the whole experience of sexuality – seem to you so objectionable and so bad that you completely pushed it away.

That is another confusion of reality and therefore self-rejection. Because the actual fact of your life, of your reality, could not be squeezed into the mold of what is acceptable according to your own concepts. And therefore you have to reject yourself, because you did not fit into it. Do you understand that? {Yes}

So you have fortunately become aware of this whole level in yourself – of what you do in regard to rejection of life, rejection of self, rejection of reality, and therefore rejection of all people, yourself included, and rejection of that which is the best, namely, the good feelings.

Now that you are aware of this and you can see this reaction – not in an involved torturous way as you did before, but with more detachment and self-observation – it will not be as difficult as you may think to reorient your concept of things as they are.

Therefore you will begin to like and accept yourself, even though there may be traits that are actually unresolved. You will also be more accepting of others. And you will embrace aspects of life that you have rejected, because they ought to be embraced.

It will not be that difficult, I venture to say. I think the hardest part is over – not that there will not be other battles and apparent temporary relapses; that, of course, is always there, inevitably before each new hurdle. But the road ahead will not be quite as hard for you.

 

QA162 GUIDE COMMENT: May your attitude towards yourself be one of calm will. This is a tremendously important attitude to cultivate, and it can be cultivated. And what I mean by this is the following. The calmness that arises out of the self-acceptance that you are human, that you have problems, and that no one demands of you that you’re immediately perfect.

The suffering of your problems now is to a large extent, because you personally do not approach yourself with this calm self-acceptance. But you whip yourself into a state you cannot have attained yet.

Now, only in this calmness of accepting where you are, accepting your problems, accepting you have limitations, accepting you have destructive feelings – only then can you constantly reinforce your inner will to grow, to see the truth in yourself, to activate the best powers within yourself to see the truth within – not ever to be blind, to increase the sense of reality in the distorted childish emotions.

Therefore, a strong, positive will and calm self-acceptance are interdependent and interconnected. It is the false, harassed will that does not accept the self where it is now, that creates impatience with oneself, and that, at the same time, has then the effect of paralyzing the will forces that can effectively go to work within yourself and bring you new vistas of understanding your life, your development, your personal evolution, your connections and your meaning of this incarnation. This will continuously grow.

 

QA176 QUESTION: This is such a many-sided question, I hardly know where to begin. I’ve been in a tense, unhappy state for days, partly due to the body evaluation we did in group. I felt very negatively impressed by the areas of negativity in my body, especially the unhappiness around my shoulders. I’ve been feeling very unworthy and unacceptable, and I’m holding everything back. I can’t hold it back and yet I can’t let it out either.

ANSWER: Yes. Yes. That is right.

QUESTION: Like I’m caught between two unacceptable things. {Exactly} And I’ve been getting headaches for the first time in years. Also, the thing that’s really demoralizing is that I’m not really committed to myself. I don’t know if I am or if I’m not. But I should be, because I seem to know enough that I “ought to be” if I’m not. Yet I feel as if I don’t have the moral fiber to really devote to myself and really stand up for myself.

There’s too much wanting to please or wanting to be one of the crowd, that kind of thing. One of my biggest attitudes is “take me along” – as a child I always wanted to go along with the other kids – and I am feeling left out. This is the kind of thing that undermines my own self-respect. At the same time, I’m wondering about my own commitment and I’m wondering if it’s there. I’m not sure if it is or not.

ANSWER: Now, let me try to give you some answers here. In the first place, I’d like to say to you, what you experience now is something that has always been in you and has undermined you all your life, although you have somehow managed to keep it hidden from your own awareness.

It is tremendously important for you that what always was there reaches now your surface awareness, for otherwise you can do nothing to eliminate this conflict and these negativities that gnaw at you. So what you really experience – and this happens so often – is that when a person makes the most significant progress, he’s very unhappy.

Because he becomes aware of what has always been there but which he has managed not to know, which didn’t mean that he was happy. But he somehow experienced his unhappiness even vicariously and indirectly, and was still able to project it onto the outer world and say, “Well, I’m unhappy because so and so is doing this to me, or because life is this way.”

While, when you come to this point now, you know and face the fact, as it is always the case, that it is you who are doing it to you. It is your feelings about yourself that make you unhappy. So this is progress indeed.

Now, the next thing I’d like to say here is your self-rejection is the most painful thing for you, and this is what you have really run away from. And since you have run away from the fact that you dislike yourself so much – for practically everything – you could not see that you could not commit yourself to a fullness of life, to giving the best you’ve got, to growing, to being happy, to giving the most positive of your attitudes to happiness, to growth, to the elimination of your problems, to really involve and commit yourself for whatever that may be. This is the most important thing.

Of course this commitment is lacking, but it must be lacking as long as you have not faced what a dismal opinion you have of yourself. Of course this dismal opinion is a distortion. You put yourself in a terrible bind in this way, and you completely inactivate all your powers, all your movement in you, all your faculties and resources that exist plentifully but that you do not use.

Now, it is the self-acceptance that must be found. It is a click of the mind that makes the difference. This click of the mind in regard to the topic of self-acceptance, is you have to find where you can admit negative feelings and, just because of this admission, like yourself even more – and where you do not need to be perfect in order to like yourself.

Now, you have a very deep-rooted rejection of your own pleasure feelings. You feel very badly about them – originally, initially. Therefore you split them off in a very precarious way. They are somehow split from the love feelings. Then they take on a channel that then really makes you feel bad about yourself, about your pleasure feelings. The total spiritual self must unite love and sex, and if that is not the case, then self-rejection must take place.

QUESTION: The reason I can’t feel the commitment is because I’ve been really having trouble getting in touch with something real in myself – sending thoughts inward to seek something and not being able to find it. If I’m not willing to accept the feeling, then I’m not ever going to be able to reach myself, in a way.

ANSWER: Exactly. That is absolutely true.

QUESTION: I can’t get a commitment from something that I’m not getting in contact with.

ANSWER: That is absolutely true! You cannot commit yourself, you cannot really move and will and be yourself if that most important aspect of the self – namely, the feelings – are denied.

QUESTION: I think there’s a question of ego strength too. Every time I try to think something seriously, my mind wanders. I’m not being serious about myself. It seems just like a very precarious kind of thing.

ANSWER: You see, quite a while ago, I told you that the problem is the ego strength here. Then that is directly connected with the concept that the ego strength cannot be if you do not accept your feelings for the selfhood; the self-acceptance can only give that strength of being in life and moving in life and being active in life and committing yourself to your own fulfillment. That is the task of the ego. And yet, the ego cannot fulfill its task if the feelings are denied.

QUESTION: Can you tell me what you think now is the most immediate feelings that I have to get in touch with?

ANSWER: The feeling of self-rejection, the feeling of being no good, the feeling of unacceptability. And then the next thing would be, why you feel that way about yourself.

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