Self Acceptance, Not Self Improvement

Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster the past two weeks.

Maybe it was the eclipse.  Maybe it was because I was rushing around to find a new apartment for September, or because I slipped and hurt my chin.  It could have been misplacing my phone for three days and feeling completely disconnected, or because of my work uncertainty.  I realized I’ve been moving too fast, forgetting what is important- the moment.

I got off-center and realized that my life was dependent on what was happening on the outside, not the inside.  Yet, the good far outweighed the bad.

My mother visited, my phone was returned to me by a kind stranger, I found a steady gig for a couple of weeks and I got to see Lionel Richie in concert.  Still, I had a strange, uneasy feeling.  Despite learning to communicate with the world through other methods than my phone, and despite finding a wonderful, zen place to move into, I kept thinking- “what’s next?”

Then, I stopped.  I wasn’t focusing on the moment and all that I had to be grateful for.   So, I made a gratitude list and meditated.   I revisited a few of my old blog posts and connected with nature.

Last night I met a dear friend for dinner.  She always is full of wisdom and helps to ground me, especially in moments where I feel completely lost.  She is the person in Boston I would call in an emergency, and I know she would be right there for me.

Upon telling her all about my adventures, mishaps and good fortune these past two weeks, she said something very wise:

“Your journey is about self acceptance, not self improvement. You are okay exactly how you are.”

Her words made me stop and think.  Yes.  She told me to be kind to myself.  She told me that I am okay even when I feel criticized, ashamed, uncomfortable.  

Honor the uncomfortable feeling, then give yourself a warm pat on the back.  “Self, I am okay.  I am safe.  I am loved.”

We are so quick to forget all of our blessings and to focus on the future.  The past two weeks have been an amazing reminder for me to reset, write down my gratitudes, and love a very special person: myself.