Best Holiday Gift To Yourself

by Mark Ivar Myhre on December 17, 2007


The holiday season creates a certain energy in the air – an excitement – unlike any other time of the year.

It’s also a time of reflection. How did I do this year? Am I a better person now? How do I feel as I look back on the year?

Along with reflection over the past year, the holidays are also a time of reflection on where we are right now. Which brings us closer to those holiday blues…

Because it’s way too easy to hold ourselves up to an unrealistic standard that is guaranteed to create feelings of unworthiness and not good enough.

“I should be doing this…”

“I should be feeling that…”

It’s so easy to judge ourselves harshly – which always makes the situation worse.

If there’s only one gift you give yourself this holiday season, why not make it the gift of self-acceptance? It can be a critical first step to actually feeling better, no matter how bad – or good – you feel now. Here’s why:

When we won’t accept ourselves for who we are – and where we are right now – it’s because we’re most likely judging ourselves. And judgments freeze. By not accepting ourselves, we freeze our present condition into place. We make it MUCH harder to change.

So often, we want to believe that if we accept ourselves, that means we won’t change:

“If I say it’s okay to be the pathetic person I am – then I’ll keep on being pathetic.” Or mediocre. Or whatever adjective you use to describe yourself. (Personally, I prefer the term ‘seeker’. I am a ‘seeking person’. I am seeking to become more of myself, and less of who I am not.)

The key point to understand is that self-acceptance has nothing to do with complacency. The more you accept yourself, the less you’ll settle for your present condition, and the more you’ll want to improve yourself.

Self-Acceptance As A Foundation, A Platform, And A Springboard

Everyone has a foundation. Filled with all sorts of hidden energies such as fundamental beliefs, fundamental choices, and many other things. We stand on our foundation and create our lives out of it.

Generally, our foundation is filled with our assumptions about life and about self. If we fundamentally assume we’re acceptable, it empowers us to stretch and grow; to reach for more.

Out of our foundation, we create our existence; our actions, our habits, our patterns of day to day living… in other words, our platform.

Thus, on top of our foundation sits our platform. A platform is a structure. It’s what we ‘make’ of life. Our lifestyle is a big part of our platform.

If self-acceptance is part of your day to day life – just imagine how enjoyable that life becomes! There’s a certain spring in your step when you accept yourself. You’re comfortable with who you ARE – as a human being – and you’re willing to become more.

Beyond our day to day existence, there also exists a ‘something more’. No matter how great and wonderful we may be – there’s always a whole other level of existence – way beyond us. Every now and then we glimpse it. This ‘something more’ becomes the peak experiences of our life.

The first one I remember was at the age of fifteen, on top of a mountain at Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico. But it could happen any where and any time.

The older I get, the more I value my peak experiences. I long for them. I seek them out. By accepting myself as fully and completely as I can, I create a springboard to make the peak experiences more likely. And the more of those experiences I have, the more I accept myself!

One defining moment can change your life. In fact, one probably already has. That’s what defining moments do. They can be horribly painful, and lead to a lifetime of suffering and misery and self-deprecation.

Or they can be peak experiences, to inspire you for a lifetime.

Self-acceptance can help assuage the pain and increase the likelihood of a positive defining moment. Which may be right around the corner…

Self-acceptance is a paradox. Nobody can do it for you. Nobody can stop you from doing it. It can be the hardest thing in the world, but it’s totally up to you. Lack of acceptance hurts so deeply, but still we resist accepting ourselves so strongly.

It’s a lot like self-forgiveness. We resist the magic; we prefer the pain.

I know for me, I just couldn’t let go of the lie: “I am unacceptable.” To not accept yourself, you must lie to yourself. You must believe the lie that something is fundamentally wrong with you. Which is impossible.

Basically, self-acceptance comes down to accepting responsibility for yourself. That’s why there is no shortcut. That’s why it’s so hard. That’s why so many people prefer the pain of not accepting themselves.

Because they absolutely refuse to accept responsibility for the life they’ve created. Better to sink in the quicksand…

The good news: it’s totally up to you. And it’s never too late to start.

“I accept myself just the way I am. And I ask the universe to show me how I can accept myself deeper and more completely each day.”

That’s how I started the never-ending, always-expanding path of greater self-acceptance.

I can’t think of a better gift to give myself this holiday season, then to work on accepting myself more and more.

It’s why I am truly my own best friend.

{ 1 comment }

Kitty December 18, 2007 at 8:39 am

Thanks for these words, Mark. This is a slightly different way of looking at self-acceptance, and comes at a good time in my life. Different enough to strike a chord, but still with the same goal. Happy holidays!

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