Much is written and spoken about on how and what we need to do in order to embrace and practice unconditional love of Self. It seems however that whilst this can be easily spoken about, putting it into practice becomes more difficult and challenging. The reason for that could be because we may not have a true understanding of what is required and how to internalise it – what it really means to unconditionally accept ourselves.
In my view, it seems that much of what is said about the process of accepting ourselves unconditionally is based on the principles of (broadly speaking) positive thinking. Adopting the practice of telling ourselves that “I am ok” – convincing ourselves; creating a sense of “false reality” when in fact we still experience feelings of non-ok’ness. Other ways are:
• adopting a defensive attitude and belief whereby “if we feel hurt by someone, it is not about us but about them” – defending ourselves in relation to an event/emotion;
• believing that our experiences are part of the life lessons we are meant to have - a life journey of accepting that it is our ‘fate’, that we are meant to learn lessons of forgiveness / forgiving ... raises the question about what freedom of choice we can/are exercising for our life
• changing our thinking to be OK with “however we are” because we want to believe it is who we are, what we are destined to be in this life and the world.
But is that what unconditional acceptance and love of self is really all about?
To digress for a moment, a little over twenty years ago I had a life-changing experience from which I realised that we possibly have a misunderstanding of what it means and takes to internalise and practice unconditional acceptance of Self. And that what makes it difficult to internalise and practice is that we are not really addressing the underlying root cause for us not automatically or naturally accepting ourselves unconditionally. While positive thinking may assist us to some degree in getting us to change our mind-set, beliefs and what we think about ourselves, it does not guide us to identify and eliminate the underlying root source of our problem. This practice of self-acceptance requires us to continuously be aware of and manage our thinking, feelings and emotions on a daily basis, in every moment as they get triggered by the varying circumstances and situations we encounter. What this means is that it makes our well-being dependent on the circumstances, that it is, conditional. To truly accept ourselves unconditionally, our well-being cannot have or be dependent on any conditions or circumstances – that just makes us victims of our circumstances.
The practice of true love can therefore defined as:
The Unconditional Acceptance of What Is
(no judgements, no expectations, no pre-conceptions, no discrimination of any kind, no provisos)
By this I don't mean accepting how you look, what you think and believe, how you behave etc. It also does not relate to cultural, religious or philosophical beliefs, personal points of view and attitudes, social status, career or professional achievements or anything else of such nature. Now ask yourself whether or not you truly accept yourself unconditionally according to this definition?
Unconditional acceptance of who or what we are comes from committing ourselves to living our life to fulfill that which is really important and meaningful for our life - our innermost, heartfelt life “dreams” - living our life purpose. Such a commitment means living our life in true integrity and being authentic with and about who we are. Without accepting ourselves unconditionally at this level, we are not truly unconditionally accepting (loving) ourselves – and that will not allow is to equally unconditionally accept anyone or anything else. It simply is not available to us because we are not experiencing its “power” and what it really means. To achieve this, we need to take responsibility to exercise our real freedom of choice for our life to be who and/or what we are regardless of all/any circumstances or fears of possible consequences. To unconditionally accept ourselves will also eliminate our emotional needs that trigger our fears of needing to compromise ourselves for fear of possible consequences.