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The Curious Paradox…Self-Acceptance

Often self-acceptance is associated with complacency and stagnation, but the opposite is actually true. When you fully embrace and accept your circumstances, you gain the power to change them. It’s all too often that we fight against them, try to manipulate them, complain or make excuses for them, or pretend that they aren’t really an issue. Acceptance doesn’t mean you don’t want things to change, you just know that living fully in the present is the only way to make a better tomorrow. Making decisions based on the past or the future is never going to get you where you want to go. Making decisions based on what is the best choice for right now gives you the power to create a new situation for yourself.

Here’s a small example. How many of you base food choices on what you ate at the last meal or yesterday or last week or what you are going to eat later, at the next meal or tomorrow? By fully embracing where you are, you make the choice that honors the present – your current hunger, your current cravings, what is available now, what works best with your schedule or food preferences, etc. And because you aren’t basing those decisions on what you will never eat again, there is no reason to get it all right now…or to avoid it if you really want it. You can eat what sounds best at the time, honoring your current hunger and fullness levels. This leads to being able to trust yourself with any food at any time. It’s the fact that we are constantly living in the past or the future that prevents us from trusting ourselves right now.

If you feel like this is too good to be true, I encourage you to try it! Notice when your mind starts wandering to the past or the future, and redirect to the present moment. What is the task at hand? How best can you use your time now? What food choice most honors how you are feeling now? If you feel your mind going to absolutes or the all-or-nothing mentality, you can practice bringing your awareness to the present. This literally is weight training for the brain – your ability to self-soothe, avoid unnecessary emotional distress and to meet your own needs is strengthened. It doesn’t mean that all decisions will be “perfect” but it means that you are in a position to learn and grow (“mistakes” being how we learn).

Accept yourself as you are. Fully embrace your situation, be honest about it and look it straight in the eye and accept it as you have chosen it. When you quit rejecting it, you allow room for knowing how and what to do to change it.

Adapted from a blog post written by: Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD