Why Acceptance Needs to be the First Step to Making a Change
We have all experienced and seen the powerful affects of change, whether it has been intentional or unintentional change. When it comes to pursuing better health, change can be a very good thing. Sometimes it can even be necessary.
You may have thought about a health behavior in the past. Perhaps you are craving it right at this very moment. Well, if that is the case and you are looking to make a change to become a healthier and happier you, I am here to cheer you on! You go girl! BUT....before you move on, I want to give you a piece of advice...one that is very important to your journey you are about to set out on.
We all contemplate what change could mean for us and how much happiness it can bring. However, how often do we contemplate the importance of the how? Have you ever thought about howto go about that change? The howthat I want to talk about is how we feel at the beginning of our journey as well as how we feel along our journey...which ultimately leads to how we feel at the end of our journey.
Our desire for change is one that should come from a place of self-compassion and self-acceptance. Now let's be honest, change can often times be a long, difficult, bumpy road, full of surprises, seemingly failed attempts, and many moments where we must pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. So what is it that best allows us to make a change and to approach the finish line with no regrets and with the least amount of scrapes and bruises that will still require healing even after our journey has come to an end?
Self acceptanceis exactly what we need in our journey to change. Self-acceptance gives us patience, helps us maneuver the inevitable ups and downs, and allows us to persist thought the difficulties we will experience. It is acceptance of where we may be now, acceptance that there will be failure, acceptance of what we can not control, and acceptance of the imperfections that grant us that grace we need to reach the finish line without looking back.
Let's imagine a time when we attempted to make a change. Think about what we told ourselves at the beginning of our journey. What kind of self-talk did we have when we made three steps forward and two steps back. Did we accept these stages? Did we accept ourselves in all of these stages? The answer for most of us is "probably not." We probably beat ourselves up a bit, had some negative self-talk, and found that this lack of acceptance made it harder to move forward. Now, let's think of how we felt even further into our journey. How many of us still felt unsatisfied at the end of our journey? How many of us still feel not good enough? When we choose to allow ourselves to be happy only when we reach our goal, we are unable to enjoy the process, unable to appreciate what we gain along the way, and fail to do a lot of necessary self-work along the journey. The reason we still feel unsatisfied is because we haven't yet began to do the most necessary step- accept ourselves. We only choose to accept ourselves for the version that we thought was acceptable.
Many of us believe that is we accept ourselves now, we won't make that change we desire. However, in actuality, not accepting ourselves is the very thing that will create many of our problems we have along our journey.
Whatever change you may want to make, whether you strive to build some muscle, eat more balanced, manage a chronic illness, conquer a yoga pose, reduce stress, or find food freedom, the first step should always be the same....choose to accept.
[Stay tuned for more to come in my guide to self-compassion e-book.]