Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Self-Acceptance: Day 1

How Self-Acceptance Can Crack Open Your Life
A Radical 10-Day Plan to Accept Who You Really Are

I discovered a post bearing this title on oprah.com a few days ago. Sounds like a gimmick, doesn't it? Well, it is. If people really are able to accept themselves in only 10 days, the world will be a much nicer place. However, despite my initial skepticism, I read on just out of curiosity. This was the lesson for day one:

"Lesson: The journey of self-acceptance starts when you acknowledge that you don't seem to know much about yourself. Your personality, or ego, finds it difficult to answer questions like "Who am I?" and "What do I want?" Being asked to describe yourself at a job interview or for a dating agency profile, for instance, can feel excruciating and practically impossible because you haven't really been paying attention.

True self-acceptance is motivated by the possibility of knowing what your true essence—the Unconditioned Self—is really like."

After reading this, I was faced with the stark reality that I haven't been happy for a while and didn't know why. My life had been stressful the past several months but life was manageable. Everything is much better now but I seemed to have lost my grip on the rope of happiness. The logical side of me says "Life is fine. The reason you are unhappy is not because there is something wrong with your life but the way you perceive your life. Plus, you are not exercising and your brain is not producing enough endorphins and serotonin." My left brain is probably right. I should exercise and life would feel much better.

But I have also noticed a recent trend in my thinking pattern. Instead of looking for the good things in my life, I seem to look for and dwell on the negative aspects. As a result, I have become more critical, pessimistic, cowardly, and cranky. When I see myself like this, I sink into moments of self-hatred, disappointment, and guilt. I want to like myself again and feel deeply grateful for the blessings in my life such as friends who pay for my vacation, send care packages, and call to cheer me up.

So, I have decided to follow the 10-Day plan to accept who I really am and see where I end up by the end of the 10th day.

This is Day 1.

Exercise: Self-acceptance is the process of befriending the Unconditioned Self—the part of you that is more than just your name, your history, your story, your failures or your successes. You are more than just your experiences or how other people see you or the clothes you wear.

Reflect on this today:

What is most authentic about you?

That I am without guile. I am sincere and genuine in my relationship with others.

What do you want people to really know about you?

That I have a good heart and genuinely care about people.

Who are you without your ego?

(I must clarify that the word ego is not referring to the Freudian ego but to the term often used in spiritual teachings of Eastern religions. According to Wikipedia, spiritual ego is "often associated with mind and the sense of time, which compulsively thinks in order to be assured of its future existence, rather than simply knowing its own self and the present.")

Me without ego is eternal, whole, deeply connected to and at peace with God.
I can tap into this moment of bliss when my mind is not preoccupied with useless worries and doubts about the future. I need to meditate again.


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