Why is it important to accept ourselves? We live in a society where we are bombarded with messages like, “Lose weight now!” “Buy your dream outfit!” or “Book the vacation of your dreams!” We are led to believe that if we could just achieve that next goal, our lives would be perfect. Maybe, maybe not.
I am not suggesting we shouldn’t have dreams or goals. I’m suggesting that, first, we accept ourselves and the way God loves us, as we are right now, then we create our goals from that place of total self-acceptance.
What does self-acceptance mean? It means loving ourselves no matter what. Loving ourselves doesn’t mean postponing self-love until we lose twenty pounds or find the perfect mate. Loving ourselves means loving ourselves right now, in this very moment, no matter what. We don’t have to wait for something to happen before we can fully accept ourselves.
Loving ourselves means accepting our limits. It also means accepting every situation, past, present and future. If we have experienced failures and disappointments in the past, for example, then the loving thing to do would be to use that experience as a stepping stone. If we were not loved unconditionally by the adults around us while growing up then we need to love ourselves now, and use that experience to be more compassionate towards the younger ones today.
We need to love ourselves the way God loves us. God’s love for the human race is unconditional. The sun shines no matter what. It shines on everyone every day regardless of what we have done or not done to please God. The only way to love ourselves and receive God’s love is by loving our imperfections as much as we love the good things about us. That is why God created us in his own image. He never wanted us to be perfect. He created us out of love, and he wants us to learn to love ourselves and the world around us.
If our version of acceptance is what today’s media tells us, we are not opening ourselves fully to God’s love. We need to take the time to ask ourselves why we buy into messages from outside. We don’t need to do that. We can make our own decisions and our own choices. Once we start to love ourselves, our to-do list will begin to shrink. We no longer need to do anything to receive love from others. We do things from a spiritual and grounded place. There is no rush to get anywhere—we are already where we are supposed to be. We no longer feel afraid to express ourselves to others. There is no such thing as losing love when love is all around us. We don’t look to one particular relationship to meet our needs. We look everywhere and find love. We are not stuck on only one road to success; many avenues open up to us. We are not caught up in the rat race. We feel whole and complete, and at that very moment we begin to feel grateful for what we already have. We begin to cherish our past because we understand that the past is what made us who we are. We celebrate learning, and we turn our pain into passion. We feel grateful, grounded and happy in the knowledge that we are the person God made us to be, and we are created in God’s image.