TRUE OR FALSE? You can’t accept yourself and desire personal growth at the same time. Go ahead and think on that for a second. I’ll wait.
Cue the Jeopardy theme song or my personal favorite internal hold music, The Girl from Ipanema.
It’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation, isn’t it? Do we focus on the chicken or the egg? The cart or the horse? Any other metaphors we could use??
Finding the Middle Ground
Listen, sister. Accepting yourself and desiring personal growth don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Black or white. One or the other. I’m a big believer in the gray area. A lovely little path of middle ground where we can be focusing on both at the same time. Let me give you an example.
For a long time I thought I knew my story. I truly believed that my past missteps, and believe me — there were a ton of them, made up who I was. I defined myself by my failures. The circumstances where I tried and didn’t achieve the results I was looking for. Or where I just gave up.
What I didn’t realize was that I was allowing my own judgement of my choices, mistakes and problems to keep me trapped. I put myself in a box and kept myself there. I was drifting farther and farther from what I was capable of and what I was put on this earth to do because I subconsciously didn’t think I was worthy of reaching those things.
Putting a Stop to it!
Have you ever thought about the “When and Then” statements you’re giving yourself? “When I lose 15 lbs, then I’ll be able to grow further in my business.” “When I get that promotion, I’ll be more respected and will speak out more in meetings.” “When I get into shape, then I’ll be able to be a more loving, attentive and present Mama.”
What does that sound like to you? You’re putting conditions on your acceptance of yourself.
Sounds good, right? Just stop! But how can you wrap your head and your heart around self-love when you haven’t reached a point of consistent self-like? It’s like trying to leap over the Grand Canyon! Super intimidating and probably not the best path to get to the other side. Let’s go another way, shall we?
In my own journey and my work with coaching clients, I’ve found that efforts towards growing as a human will come up short if you don’t spend time learning how to love and accept yourself right out of the gate. You can’t continually look the other way and not pay attention to how much you’re judging yourself and stare only at the growth you’d like to have. Blinders are one thing, but being blind to truth of how you’re treating yourself is another.
You’ve got to dig in and figure out why you aren’t accepting of yourself! And I mean of ALL of you! The flaws, the quirks, the mountains of laundry, the imperfections, the “extra” weight, the thrown together lunchboxes, the stuff you’re not so proud of and the things you’re super proud of. They are a part of you and this current season of your life.