Acceptance Beyond Trauma: Accepting Myself and Others Just as We Are Today

By Janie Smith, Founder and Author of HOPE Beyond Trauma

These last number of years I have been working on accepting myself just as I am with all the beautiful attributes and flaws. I realized that I cause more trauma to myself than anyone else or surrounding circumstances! Accepting myself just as I am today has taken a lot of hard work on my part by looking in the mirror, smiling at myself and saying, that I love me just the way I am right now. This process has taken a long time to remove the layers and layers of self-judgment and rejection. And no, I’m not done taking off the layers, I guarantee this effort will continue to be a work in progress as long as I live!

Women, I believe are the worst at judging ourselves throughout our lives. Media has told us we need to lose weight, be prettier, smarter and better in so many ways. I’m happy to see the tide is turning although not as fast as I would like.

Daily and unrelentingly news, social media, our work place and social circles are making judgments and accusations about anything and everything. Both men and women, are constantly asked our opinions, to make judgments on the actions of others, which elevates us “above them” and makes us feel better for the time being UNTIL someone judges us!

I heard world renowned coach and business leader, Tony Robbins, state “All people really want is to be loved and accepted.” I heard another lecturer, Psychologist, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, say to a group of life coaches, teachers and professionals, in essence to forget all the strategies you’ve learned in helping people move forward, “just love ‘em.”

Immediately, I heard a gasp (including my own) from the audience. The look on all of our faces was one of complete shock and disbelief!! “What do you mean…just love em?” Do you know how many classes I’ve taken and the many techniques and strategies I’ve learned over the years??? What am I supposed to talk about in our sessions? These were some of the thoughts flying through our heads. This psychologist had just taken all the air out of our “educated” balloons!

This brings to mind a quote on my office wall that my daughter, Tanya, gave me a number of years ago. It states: “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions or cures have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm tender hand.” – Henri Nouwen

Over the last few years, I’m discovering it is really true that people just want to be loved and accepted, just as they are in this very moment. It’s even more true that when I love and accept myself fully and completely, I can truly embrace loving and accepting my husband, children, in-laws, family, friends and others. They don’t need to change anything for me because they are beautiful and perfect to love and accept right now. The reality is, the only person I can change is myself. When I put my focus there, then everything around me changes.

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