ACCEPTING YOURSELF vs ACCEPTING YOUR FAILURE: Do you see the difference?
In a lot of mainstream self-help books and life-coaching programs out there, self-acceptance is a big theme. In fact, it is often preached as the first step or even the foundation for personal growth and success.
Look at all the inspirational quote posters out there telling you to “love yourself!” or “accept yourself as you truly are!”
While some of us embarce the concept, some are going: wait a minute -- so I'm supposed to accept myself when I screw up and not feel quilty when I KNOW that I know better? Give myself permission to fly off the handle every time I feel like it (as inm just take me as I come) Cuss in restrainably, because "this is just the way I am"? Shouldn't there be a degree of personal responcibility, as opposed to all this "love yourself as you are" song and dance?
How about a sense of eschewing evil and persuing good?
Isn't the idea of "loving yoruself as you are" actually contraty to the desire to grow and get better that lies at the very root of the concept of self-improvement?
Don’t get me wrong: accepting yourself as you are is in no way a bad advice! This is actually a very right, correct concept… unless you make one common mistake when it comes to the principles of self-acceptance and what it ACTUALLY means.
Making this mistake puts you on a dark path away from your goals and leaves you susceptible to what you might later come to interpret as “BAD LUCK.”
So could YOU be making this mistake? I invite you to dive further into this discussion in this video, or simply keep reading down below – either way, we’ll get to the bottom of some tough truths about self-acceptance!
In self-improvement and all our attempts to try and tackle everyday life's problems, we often come across the concept of accepting yourself as you truly are. Again, this is absolutely correct… except there is this very common mistake: confusing acceptance of self with killing your truth – basically a form of emotional suicide. Many of us THINK that what we're doing is accepting ourselves as we are when in reality, we just end up damaging (or even killing) our true self.
Obviously, the effects of this mistake are devastating, so it is beyond important for us to understand and debunk the underlying mind trick at work here.
When we confuse self-acceptance and emotional suicide, thankfully, what happens most of the time is that everything inside of us arises against it. Our body goes, “No, we can’t do this,” and we end up giving up: “Oh, I cannot accept myself as I truly am – this is wrong. This feels wrong to me, and it cannot be done.” And so, the rest of our struggles simply continue.
However, what we’re actually rebelling against here is not accepting ourselves as we truly are. Rather, it's killing ourselves as we truly are. This is the mind trick that we need to recognize. We need to learn the difference and make the right choice, as opposed to denying the fact that we need to accept ourselves for who we are and continuing in the chaos, confusion, and struggle.
Let me explain this difference.
First, let’s talk about emotional suicide – what is it, and how does it happen?
There is this concept in life (not just in psychology and bioenergetics), that when you stop growing, you die.
When you stop growing, you die – physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally. It applies to everything. That’s the dynamic of how the world works and of how creation is meant to be: as long as you're alive, you constantly develop, you constantly change, you constantly grow. Whether it be a blade of grass sprouting, someone growing from a child to an adult, or basically any creature in the animal kingdom… everything that’s alive is alive because it is in motion. It’s in the motion of development. It's in the motion of growth.
So, if you stop this growth, you're going to kill yourself. Obviously, not literally – thankfully, we're complex beings and it’s not just about the physical. It’s about all the interconnected emotional, spiritual, and mental parts and sub-parts, so even though we may be successful in stunting our growth in one particular area, the other areas continue, and we don't drop dead. But still, when we stop growing, a little part of us somewhere is going to die off, and problems will arise as a result.
That’s the misconception that usually comes with saying, "Accept yourself as you truly are." It's often understood as "Okay, accept yourself and stop right there” – a static state. That’s asking for trouble by killing yourself. Remember, if you stop growth, that equals death.
When you accept yourself as you truly are, that does NOT mean stop developing, stop growing, stop overcoming things that you feel are negative and can be better. This is basically the essence of what I'm trying to say. I’m going to explain further how this all works in a bit, for now, this is a very important point that you need to digest: when you accept yourself for who you are, this does not mean stop growing.
Now, let’s discuss the difference between those.
When we talk about accepting yourself as you truly are, this means accepting yourself in different states. You can be like this, you can be like that – nothing goes into the dark side and nothing gets locked in the dungeon. (If you're not sure what I'm talking about when I say “locking yourself in the dungeon,” do check out the “Demystifying Bad Luck” VIBE. That's where I explain that concept in a lot of detail, but hopefully, if you’ve come across this here, you’ve already read it and we don't need to go over it again in the same degree of detail.) Basically, accepting yourself in different states means understanding that no part of yourself is evil – it's how you use it.
To hopefully give you a clearer picture of what this means, let’s jump into this example:
Let's say you are in a conversation with a friend about something – raising children, cooking, deer hunting... whatever, really, or you could be in an office, working on a project. So anyway, you're sitting there chatting when your friend gets frustrated over something you just said or did. Maybe they get upset and say, “You’re stupid. You are an idiot”
Obviously, you feel bad! But the difference of HOW BAD you feel would depend on whether or not you accept yourself as you truly are as a whole being.
If you were raised in a family and setting where you were constantly blamed, shamed, put down, or called stupid, you may have a negative imprint in your mind. You may still have a negative program that is telling you: “I am stupid. I will never amount to anything. I can't do anything. I will never succeed.” Your parents or past circumstances have put that negative program or imprint in you by telling you, “Hey, you will never amount to anything. You can't do it. You're useless. You're stupid.” As a child, you absorb that, and even in adulthood, it is a limiting belief in your mind that “I'm nothing, I will never amount to anything.” Every time you undertake something in life – say, you try to start a business or even when you try to do a project in the yard, something small – you will always have this barrier: “This will not work, I cannot do it. I don't have the energy to do it.”
As a result of that, a common defense mechanism is to overthink. We say, “Okay, maybe before I do it, I need to take this course, buy this, pre-plan that,” and before you know it, a simple yard project has just grown into a monster.
Those are examples of how this imprint of “you’re stupid” works.
So, tying it back to our example, how does accepting yourself help you overcome this particular negative imprint?
In this case, if you have read the “Demystifying Bad Luck” book, you know that what we are dealing with here is the dragon that locks you in the dungeon. This is the part of yourself that you are not in touch with because, in a sense, it is a negative imprint. It's very unpleasant, but when that negative imprint is there in order to protect yourself from that pain, you lock it in the dungeon, and you deny that part of self: “I cannot be stupid. I will not be stupid. I claim that I am smart as an overcompensation for this little worm in my mind telling me that I am stupid, and I will totally deny any part of myself that may insinuate that I am not smart in any shape or form.” So that part is locked in the dungeon.
Again, it's a counter-reaction. We're trying to hide it. We're trying to not deal with it. We overcompensate, we counter-react, and so we lock this part of ourselves in the dungeon.
And – as we discuss in the “Demystifying Bad Luck” book – where does the dragon that locks us in the dungeon hide? How do we find those negative imprints? How do we know we have this negative program? How does it come to our radar that, hey, this is something we need to deal with?
The answer: by how we feel about others.
So, when somebody comes out and says, “Hey, you're an idiot. You're stupid,” if we are able to say, “Okay, well, you think I'm an idiot? Whatever – one asshole's opinion, right?” and just move on, then no problem.
But if our reaction comes with a lot of emotion, a lot of hurt, a lot of energy behind it like, “How DARE you say I’m stupid? I’m so insulted. You are such a jerk for saying I'm stupid. I hate you!" Then, they've just knocked on the door of that dungeon, and that's why we hate them – we are dealing with that particular dragon.
Again, if you read the book, you know that getting mad at the person who said that is not going to do anything, and getting mad at ourselves for being stupid is even worse. Instead, where we need to focus our blame – or as we say in the book, “where we need to apply our sword” – is recognizing, “Aha! I am dealing with a dragon that locks me in the dungeon. And what I locked in the dungeon is the feeling or the notion (maybe even the fact), of: “I cannot be stupid.”
So, in this situation, how does accepting yourself as you truly are look like? How do we let that part ourselves come out of the dungeon? By accepting yourself in any state, in any form that you come.
Again, going back to the example, let’s say we are talking about a project and someone brought up something about marketing, and I said something back, and the reaction that I'm getting is: “You're stupid.”
Well, you know what? Yes, I can be stupid when it comes to marketing. Yes. In that particular area, if you compare me to the top salesman in the world, sure, I am stupid. I admit it, I'm not a car salesman who can wheel and deal every day. So, when it comes to marketing, I am stupid.
Everything is known in comparison. So, who am I comparing myself to? If I'm comparing myself in marketing to somebody who never sold anything in their life, I'm smart. If I'm comparing myself to the top salesman of the world, I'm stupid. And if we’re talking about, say, cooking, between me and somebody who can't boil an egg or make toast without burning it, I am smart. But between me and top chefs in France, I’m stupid. Everything is known in comparison.
So, if somebody comes and tells me I am stupid, and I can accept that “Yes, I can be stupid. There's nothing wrong with that. Yes, I can be stupid in that particular area – in other areas, that does not make me stupid,” then I've accepted myself as I truly am. “I can be smart in this area and stupid in another… and that's okay. I allow myself to be stupid. I don't have to be smart in everything. And in fact, I will never be. I will never be both the top chef in France and the top salesman at the same time. (By the way, a lot of those things are mutually exclusive – you're either a pushy salesman or you're a caring person, to an extent.)
That's what acceptance of self looks like: “I come in different colors. I come in different states. I come in different forms. I can be very smart and I can be very goofy and stupid. This is how I am. Away with that negative imprint that I HAVE to be smart. I do not. That's okay. And just because I'm not smart in a certain area, that does not make me any less interesting as a person, because I can be very smart in all other areas. And there is a place for me in the world that does not include being smart marketing.”
That's what acceptance of yourself is. So, what about emotional suicide?
The dragon that spits fire comes in and tries to make us make the mistake of shifting between accepting ourselves and stunting our growth – that’s emotional suicide. For example, just because I'm stupid in marketing right now, that doesn’t mean I can’t take a course to bring myself up to par. Absolutely not! So, just because I admit I am stupid, that does not mean I need to stay there. The other state of me is the desire to learn the desire to grow – the desire to get better and go on from there.
That's a very common mistake. When we say, “Well if I accept myself, that means it's static. It's final, I am okay there.” No. Everything is fluid – everything is changing. That's the difference: when you accept yourself as you truly are, that does NOT mean you would not want to grow and get better.
The difference here is that when you want to grow, it's because YOU want to grow. YOU’RE taking a step from good to better, and you’re not doing it as though you’re being chased by a pack of wolves – because you’re thinking, “I can't stand this state. I'm not okay in this state, and I need to run away from it as quick as I can.”
That’s when we start looking for shortcuts and quick fixes. And, "beautiful loser", it's quicker and easier when you fall. When we go for quicker and easier, we usually end up being a loser. That's when we fall for get-rich scams, open up a can of worms and invite trouble.
Instead, if we say, “Hey, I'm okay. I’m in a relaxed state,” that's when good ideas come to us. That's when we see opportunities. That's when growth occurs the way it is supposed to occur.
Hopefully, this clears up what accepting yourself as you truly are REALLY means, and helps you avoid the common mistake of shifting to committing emotional suicide.
We’re barely scratching the surface here, so I highly recommend that you read the book “Demystifying Bad Luck” if you haven’t already. And, for more holistic psychology insights and breakthrough concepts in bioenergetics, check out our other videos here.