How To Start Accepting Yourself

by Mark Ivar Myhre on December 18, 2007

Many people know they don’t accept themselves. And they want to change it.

Especially after reading yesterday’s post, where I mentioned “many people prefer the pain of non-acceptance over the joy and magic of self-acceptance”.

But how?

Let’s look at that a little closer. But first, let me say I write statements like that a lot. I honestly don’t do it to make you angry. No, I do it as a way to pierce your defensive shield.

Some people take it personal, and send me nasty letters. Others vow to never read another word I write (just a wild guess).

But I know some people take it to heart:

“Wow. I just got punched in the gut here. This really pushed a button. I wonder why…”

Those are the letters I enjoy reading.

I’m not here to win a popularity contest. I am a ‘piercer’. I pierce. I cut through the blockages and walls and all the other structures that people put up around themselves. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.

Because I know you have to break some eggs to make an omelet.

I don’t intentionally try to offend anyone. If you’ve ever talked to me or sent an email, then you know that.

So why did I say “many people prefer pain”?

I’m speaking from personal experience. I preferred pain. For decades. Even as recently as last night, I found a pocket of pain I was still hanging onto. I tried to ‘work my magic’ before I went to sleep; to end it.

It wouldn’t budge. So I went to one of my favorite tools of self-improvement. Before sleeping, I asked the other, more conscious parts of me, to reveal my blockage during the night. So when I woke up this morning, I would have a greater understanding of the situation.

I often ask for greater understanding at night. And a good percentage of the time it really works!

If it doesn’t work, then I usually accept that I’m unwilling to understand. So, the next night, I might ask for understanding on why I’m not willing to understand.

Hey, you gotta start from where you are!

Anyway, this morning I did understand the situation a lot better. It didn’t go away, but at least now I know where to focus my efforts. Now I can spend time ‘processing’ it out.

You might want to get into the habit of asking for greater understanding yourself. The more you do it, the better it works.

Okay, back to the ‘pain preference’.

First, let me state the obvious: Almost nobody really wants pain.

But it’s a slippery slope; from a little pain to a lot of pain.

It start out innocently enough… usually in childhood. Almost always as a result of shame. And usually we’ve lost conscious memory of it.

We get dumped on. It hurts. We don’t know how to handle it. So we dump on ourselves. Because shame is like a hot potato.

Even as a child, we try to ‘process’ our pain. But a child is ill-equipped to do so. About the only option is to shame ourselves. We start lying to ourselves:

“I’m a bad person.”

“There’s something wrong with me.”

We also start withholding things from ourselves; like love, happiness, etc.

I believe this is generally how pain gets out of hand:

  • We were dumped on in a painful manner.
  • We feed the pain.

The problem with pain is that it grows. Slowly, imperceptibly, it grows. Oftentimes hidden from view. Until one day the bottom falls out. Then we’re engulfed in pain. Down in the bottom of a deep dark hole.

Nobody wants that.

I’ve consulted with many people who’ve fallen down that hole. And not a single one of them wanted to be there.

But here’s the confronting part:

An inadequate coping mechanism – (I believe) – is what got you down there.

If you can accept that statement, you’ve just empowered yourself a little, and you’ve made it a tiny bit easier to get out.

Now, admittedly it can be a challenge to get out of that hole. But the first step is to understand it’s even there – and to understand how you got there.

I’d suggest seeking out your own individual understanding for your own unique situation.

Honestly, sincerely, ask for understanding as you sleep. And if it doesn’t come, then the next night ask for the reason why you’re not willing to understand.

And see what happens.

It’s a starting point to greater self-acceptance.

{ 1 comment }

Anonymous December 19, 2007 at 11:53 am

Hi, Mark.

This is a truly great post! I really like the fact that you don't merely point out a problem, but offer a solution. You really did a great job with this one. I think we tend to search for solutions that are hard, thus insuring our failure. And yes, remaining in the pain is often easier than doing the work to get out of it. It's WONDERFUL to know that there are easy solutions that don't require years of hard work, and that these solutions actually WORK!

Thanks for continuing to shine the light for us.


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