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Radical Acceptance

I have spent many years diving into personal growth, mindfulness, psychology, and coaching. The driving force behind that started as a desperate search for answers. Answers to questions like "why am I like this?" "why is the world against me?" "why is life so hard?" "why doesn't anyone like me for me?" "who even am I?"

Throughout my years of seeking and hoping to unlock the secret to being better than I am and finally getting a break from the challenges of life, I found myself always being met with resistance. I would learn a new mindfulness tool, but I couldn't seem to get it to "work" for me. Or I'd fill in the worksheets from some personal development book only to find that my life wasn't improving at all. I followed diet plans and workout programs with fervent determination only to find that I still hated my body.

Finally, one day, I was introduced to the concept of acceptance. This was one of the HARDEST things for me to wrap my head around. I was told that if I accept myself as I am and embrace my authenticity fully, everything will change. My mind raced at this thought with so much resistant self-talk. "how can I accept myself as I am?" "so, what? I just accept that I am going to be fat and gross and suck at life forever?" "what the hell kind of self-improvement book tells me to accept myself?" Well, little did I know that this concept would completely change my world.

After contemplating this concept for a while and letting it sink in, I decided to take on the challenge of trying to accept myself as I am. Somewhere along the way the idea of radical acceptance was introduced to me. This was beyond just accepting myself, this was the idea of fully embracing and accepting the facts of my life, situation, self even if I don't like them. Woah. Now that is a serious challenge. This is something I am still constantly working on at any given moment.

I will say though that radical acceptance and a full embracing of myself as I am in this present moment has been like a magic bean that has sprouted in my heart opening my world in so many amazing ways. My relationships have depth and substance that I never experienced before. I can love unconditionally. I feel overall happy, even when shit is going down. I feel connected to those around me, even to people I don't know or have never met. Radical acceptance is one of the hardest and most painful things I've ever had to learn and at the same time it's the most brilliant and joyful process I've ever experienced.

So some food for thought... if you're seeking... whether it's answers to why you are the way you are, or maybe a better life because you don't like the one you have. If you're pouring yourself into growing and changing yourself into someone better. I invite you to STOP and consider focusing on acceptance first before pursuit. This doesn't mean you stop improving and it doesn't mean you stop growing, but by finding radical acceptance of the present first you will pursue only that which is authentically aligned to you.

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