Accepting others leads to accepting yourself

Posted on Posted in Organization, U-centered-ness

In a world full of articles on how to look your best, eat healthy, portray the right image and be the best parent, employee etc. there is definitely no shortage of advice.  It’s a part of our daily experience, to seek information to better ourselves and understand the gaps between our current and optimal selves.  I myself have devoured self improvement information, of which I have thoroughly enjoyed and yielded many benefits from.

Yet, in the process of all this improvement, along the way I have felt broken, asking myself why I’m not more positive, why I worry so much and why I can’t handle stress as well as everyone else?  I know that life is a process of growth, but why does my mind make it harder for me to succeed than others?  In my heart I know it is because the work I am meant to do is to help others overcome their mind blocks to get past the hurdles of self doubt, anxiety and destructive rumination.  Those who need to learn the lessons, typically teach.

Driven by this insight, I listened to a beautiful TED talk last week by Andrew Solomon a man, who has suffered from depression and ridicule about his homosexuality, yet has come into a beautiful life with his partner and son.   Andrew explained how the worst moments in our life need to make us who we are.  If they do not, then we tend to fall victim to the negativity they bring into our universe and fail to have full gratitude for the positive changes in our lives when they manifest.   Andrew truly used the power of his mind to create a better life for himself, never forgetting to internalize the wisdom along the journey.   He now uses his experience to teach others about acceptance and kindness to ourselves.

Following this amazing talk I had another inspiring event happen as I facilitated an exercise at work including a life map activity to help employees get to know each other better.  During this exercise, people opened up, showed vulnerability and shared the adversity that had made them who they are.  The exercise didn’t necessarily call for this, but it took an unanticipated twist in revealing the amazing souls of many of the people I work with daily.  Typically exposing your soul is left to only those in your closest circle.  Yet the magic of this exercise created a safe place for people to share the hardest chapters of their lives and how they created who they are.

This made me realize how much depth and richness there is to each and every life that surrounds you.  There are amazing TED talks and great articles to read, but the people around you may have the most inspiring stories of all. That said, as you walk along the path of acceptance, remember to reach out and get to know the people around you more often.  Instead of reading another article on “accepting your body,” go out to lunch with a new friend and go deeper.  Understand what makes them who they are and what battle they are currently fighting.  Of course not everyone will want to open up and share, but interestingly enough as you come to accept yourself and share your vulnerabilities you will find more and more people ready and willing to do the same.

Learning from others as to how they came to accept themselves and leverage adversity in their lives, to become who they are today, is an extremely powerful tool in kick starting your own journey in self acceptance.  No one will ever walk the same path, but many of the characteristics of strength will be shared along the way.  Moreover, genuinely accepting total control of your mind and ability to derive something positive from any situation will propel you into total acceptance of yourself and excitement for the future you are creating.

Have a great week connecting even deeper and accepting what is and who you are!