Start Where You Are: Radical Self-Acceptance

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Radical Self-Acceptance: An Experiment/Performance by Amy Pence-Brown from Melanie Flitton Folwell on Vimeo.

“In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”

Radical Self-Acceptance

Radical Self-Acceptance

They showed this video in church yesterday.  During my search to locate it, I discovered the one that inspired its creation, as well as another done by a woman in Canada.

I wish I could say that there were dozens of them, like the ice bucket challenge craze, but radical self-acceptance is tougher than braving freezing temperatures for mere moments.  It takes courage to stand there in vulnerability, not knowing if the defiance will garner support or criticism.

Sadly, once I located it, I noticed that not all YouTube comments were positive, as if learning to love oneself where we stand was condoning unhealthy eating habits.  I understand the point and I disagree with the criticism; we can only start where we are.  The only way out of shame is to drag it out into the light to look at it.

None of us woke up one morning and decided to become fat.  Sure, some of it may be the result of self-indulgence or self-soothing.  I know for myself that some of my excess body weight is from choosing potato chips over apples; there is no doubt that I have had plenty of meals that ran counter to my goals.  But as a person who regularly eats reasonably, who doesn’t even try to finish all the food on my plate and who still struggles with weight, I know that being fat doesn’t always mean you are stress-eating or a closet cookie monster.  For many Americans, our diets have been so impoverished for so long that our systems just don’t plain run well anymore.  I’m sure I don’t metabolize as well as I used to: most certainly a lot of it is thyroid, which runs in the family.  I need a reboot, I’m sure.

But the point for any of it, for all of it, is that you can only start where you are.  Radical self-acceptance is getting past the need to punish for the past.  It’s over.  Get over it.

Start where you are.

I awoke early this morning with the film of strange dreams imprinted on my consciousness and an ache to return to myself.  Two days of only writing Morning Pages had left me wanting time to myself.  I needed to write and the old paradigm would have been to make myself feel bad for not taking time to do what I needed for myself.  Why?  What would it serve?

The house was filthy when I got up this morning.  I never bothered to clean up after last night’s meal and the counters were littered with wrappers and unrinsed dishes and ants, lots of ants.  So, I immediately started cleaning.  A half hour later, the kitchen was in reasonable order and the dish washer was running.

It wasn’t perfect, but at least I felt like I could breathe.

“In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”

It’s what this blog is: my rebellious act.  It is my way of standing on the street corner, blindfolded and exposed, and asking to be accepted as I am.

It’s all any of us is seeking: to find a way to like ourselves the way we are so that we may become the person we are aching to be.  So that we may become ourselves.

Namaste, my friends, Namaste.

Start Where You Are

Start Where You Are

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5 Comments

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  1. Although I didn't watch the videos yet, it sometimes surprises me how easy it is for people to self doubt, to lack confidence, to believe some of the negative things people say to try to make themselves feel better by putting other people down, as if that's necessary. The old adage that if you don't love yourself, how / why can you expect others to, seems like common sense, yet is commonly ignored by the ego. The ego lies to us continuously because it believes it's required for self protection, which is nothing more than its belief in separation. If we could only get it through our heads that that is not the case, we'd be fine with who we are.

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    1. Spoken like a woman who doesn't have self-acceptance issues. And while I don't go around thinking I am somehow less-than, I still discover ways that my ego is surprisingly clever. No overt bashing, no, it simply subtly chides me for not doing what I "should" be doing (a trap I often excel at falling for). Funny humans!

      Plus, I suspect it is tougher to overlook criticism when the image reflected in the mirror is clearly obese. (My mirror lies to me all the time and tells me I look just fine -- I have to remind myself that it is only because I am accustomed to being this heavy, and that thinner really might be preferable.)

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  2. I keep thinking of the old Helen Reddy song, "if i have to, i can do anything. I am strong, I am invincible." Good mantra. God is within each of us, so the power is there. We need to just keep reminding ourselves enough until we truly believe it and faith displaces self-doubt. Love you, my strong sister!

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  3. I would change the lyrics somewhat: if I truly desire to... if I'm willing to. It's all about free will and choice. Why not choose invincibility?

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    1. Funny, I saw this comment before the other in my email and already I could hear Helen Reddy in my head. Used to love that song. It's good to be reminded how strong we are.

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