How to Have Both Self Acceptance and Growth

image by Skotkin -- click for info
image by Skotkin — click for info

This is a guest post from Debra Dane.

Almost everything I write about stems from my belief that we all need to accept ourselves as we are and follow our own unique path in this world — with no apologies. What is right for you may not be right for me and that does not mean either of us is wrong. The beauty of the world would vanish if we were all the same.

All while pursuing self-acceptance I am perpetually in growth mode. It may seem contradictory or mutually exclusive to some — how can we accept ourselves fully as we are and also seek to change who we are?

I believe radical self acceptance and positive growth can be possible because, to me, self acceptance is about honoring who you are fully. Who you are and where you are now is good enough. This truth still allows you the grace and room to grow and evolve as you move forward.

As you explore more, let yourself be freer, learn more, deal with new experiences and people, it is natural to change and grow. The key is making it come from a positive place rather than self criticism.

“When you stop living your life based on what others think of you real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self acceptance opened.”
— Shannon L. Alder

I actually believe the key to positive growth is the journey to self acceptance.

Before you accept yourself as you are, any efforts to change will be much harder to achieve, coming from a negative place. Changes focused on your lacking, on parts of you others deem flaws, on what you perceive as needed to fit in, are not coming from a place of self love.

If you first accept yourself as you are and find peace and contentment, the changes you seek will be coming from within.

Saying I want to learn to paint and draw (my growth) is not about rejecting myself for my lack of artistic abilities, but about tapping into another part of the me I already accept. It comes from a place of acceptance that my wanting to pursue art, investing in courses and materials, is valid and worthwhile. I am worthy of the changes I want to make without filtering them through other people. I do not first have to qualify myself to pursue something. I can grow because I have tapped into something within myself and have a need that I want to explore.

If I also want to get fit or eat better, it is not about beating myself up for the 10 pounds I have gained or the junk food in the house. It can come from the place and part of me that has been reading interesting articles and blog posts that have made me aware of alternative paths. It can come from my desire to improve the mood in my household.
“Improve” and “change” do not mean self hate or recrimination. I accept myself for making whatever choices I have made up until now and move forward with more knowledge and new choices.

Start with a focus on self acceptance and then let positive growth occur.

Discover who you are when you remove external judgements (real or assumed) and then allow yourself to grow and be who you want to be going forward.

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DebraDaneThis post is adapted from Deb’s new book “Simplify your life — from the inside out.” In this book and workbook you can explore who you are, what you want, and what is standing in your way so you can simplify and live your life, your way. Deb blogs at home life simplified about intentional and authentic living. You can connect with her on her blog or on Facebook or Twitter.

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