Monday, November 28, 2011

Focus of the Week: Acceptance

For whatever reason, I have been in a slump for the past few weeks. Typically I have a "blah" day or two every so often, but this does not go on for weeks like it did this month. I found myself down in the dumps and pretty unmotivated to "move on."

Last week I received an email from my friend Erin. Her first sentence: "This is me right now. I had a little pity party in my room the other night because I'm so tired and overwhelmed right now." I cracked up reading this, not because I was glad Erin was feeling pity party central, but it was EXACTLY how I felt as well! I was happy that we could relate to being overwhelmed and be completely honest about where we were at in the moment.

When talking to my friend Maria the other day, she remarked (and I'm paraphrasing): "Sometimes when you're in a slump, instead of trying to fix things, it's okay to say 'I am NOT okay' and allow yourself to feel however you want in the moment...I say, 'today is not a good day for me, and I'm okay with that. I am going to sit at home for the rest of the day and just accept myself for where I'm at.'"

Maria's advice made me think a bit more. Typically the type A perfectionist in me has an overwhelming instinct of trying to solve my problems and "fix things" right away. If I'm unable to solve a challenge, things don't go as planned, or it takes me much longer to feel better than I had hoped for, I become even more worried and concerned about my state of being. I fear it will get worse and then beat myself up. Good habit to have? I think not.

In reflecting on the last few weeks, what resonated was the word "Acceptance." I need to learn how to better accept myself during not-so-great weeks and actually embrace (but not dwell on) my crappiness. What I need to say more often: "It is OKAY that I am in a slump. It's OKAY that I don't feel like going to the gym or cooking dinner tonight. It's OKAY that I do not want to socialize with others or go out. I am going to be okay with not being okay and do whatever I need to do to accept myself for who I am RIGHT NOW and move on when I'm ready to get out of the pity party."

I chose to include this photo in this post because it captures how I've been feeling - a bit removed, surrounded by something that feels dark and foggy and wanting to stay put for a while. After looking further, noticing the beauty and opportunities in the distance, I know things will turn out okay - it just might take me a while to move in that direction.

I'm sure you're laughing (I am too) but I'm actually serious. In fact, I took some time to do some research on this topic, and came across a great article online: "7 Ways to Accept Yourself for Who You Are." The author, Tara West, writes: "Accepting yourself and your situation in life can be a difficult task. Do you tend to be more accepting of others’ mistakes than your own? If so, you’re being too hard on yourself! Becoming more accepting of yourself and loving yourself for the fine person that you really are can lead you to greater happiness and a more fulfilling life" (Source).

Here are some great tips...

7 Ways to Accept Yourself for Who You Are

1. Focus on your positive qualities

2. Consciously prevent negative thinking patterns

3. Accept your imperfections

4. Use positive self-talk

5. Disregard what other people might think about your decisions

6. Avoid worrying

7. Try your best and accept that you've done what you could

I really enjoyed reading this article (please check out the real deal with more info) because the 7 pointers are great reminders. Some are easier said than done, but even embracing just one of them can help point us in the right direction.

Take a moment this week to show acceptance for yourself for where you're at right now. Do not beat yourself up because you didn't clean your room, couldn't be the perfect friend, didn't make it to the gym, didn't finish reading that book you said you were going to read, or didn't have a productive work day. You WILL rise above...when YOU are ready to move on!

Here's some good food for thought:

"Acceptance of one's life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices." -Paul Tournier

“There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout: This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me... or leave me. Accept me - or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don't fit your idea of who I should be and don't try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision. When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad - you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you.” - Stacey Charter


P.S. ENJOY THE HOLIDAY SEASON - do what makes you happy. You deserve it!

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