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Experiencing Personal Power Through Self Acceptance

"What you judge, you cannot understand"
- Anthony de Mello

Fully experiencing your personal power begins with self love. But your ability to practice that love depends on your willingness to grow in self acceptance.

One of the biggest obstacles to self acceptance is judgment of oneself. For some, these judgments take the form of perfectionist tendencies. For others, judgments erode personal power with feelings of low self esteem and lack of self confidence. If either of these sounds familiar to you, you can read more about perfectionism and confidence in the article 'How to Build Self Confidence'.

Is Self Approval the Answer?

When I am struggling with self confidence and unable to realize my personal power, my mind jumps to opposite extremes. I try to force my mind to focus on feelings of self approval. I usually don't have much success with this forceful approach. It's a lot of work and takes constant attention to try to control my thoughts and feelings in that way. Besides that, self approval is really just another form of judgment - even if it is more positively phrased.

What if it was possible to turn off (or at least turn the volume down on) all our judgments and comparisons we make? What would that do for you? Well, for starters, you would be far more relaxed and less stressed. It would mean the end of trying to 'keep up'. It would bring more presence to the moment. Your personal power would come from within instead of some externally based standard.

If you could reduce the pressure created by your self-judgments, you would begin to experience the healthy kind of self love that builds personal power, confidence and self esteem. There's no end to where judgment will take you. You can't possibly eliminate everything in your life that is susceptible to judgment. Robert Holden puts it this way in his book Loveability:

"You hope you will feel loveable once there is nothing left to judge"

Unfortunately, that will never happen. But letting go of the need to judge makes room for your ability to love. It's impossible to feel loveable if you are constantly criticizing yourself. As a critically acclaimed self critic, I have given a lot of thought to this, and offer you three ways I have found that help me move beyond the habits and feelings of self judgment and criticism.

  1. Don't believe your thoughts. Judgments only have as much power as our willingness to believe them. When I recognize that my judgmental thoughts are just fictional standards created by feelings of inadequacy, I regain my personal power to choose; I can believe my thoughts or not. I recommend 'not'.
     
  2. Understand that your feelings and thoughts will pass. Becoming aware that personal judgments are made up in your own mind allows them to pass on through. I've found that when I don't fixate on how awful it is that I'm thinking judgmentally, the judgmental thought doesn't tend to stick around for long. More often than not, there's something better waiting in the stream of thoughts.
     
  3. Forgive yourself. Remember you are human, and if you're anything like the other humans I know, we all make mistakes. There's no need to magnify the harmful judgments we make. However, sometimes I do find myself getting caught up in my judgments and self critical thinking. I have a choice then: either criticize my self for being critical, or give myself some slack and forgive myself for being critical. I know which choice feels better.

I can sum up these three things in two words: Self Acceptance. Love yourself for who you are. It will overflow into graciousness and greater understanding of others. It will anchor you with an inner peacefulness and calm. Consider today how you can move beyond the need to judge and open up to your personal power in love.

Would you like to explore more "Resources of Possibility"?

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