Self- acceptance
Heartfulness eMagazine|November 2021
ELIZABETH DENLEY has been a student of both science and spirituality all her life. Trained as a scientist, she turned her field of inquiry and research skills to the field of meditation and spirituality after starting the Heartfulness practices in the late 80s. Here she shares some thoughts on the importance of selfacceptance.
ELIZABETH DENLEY

Our modern societies are not conducive to self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-love. Marketers and advertisers are ever-ready to convince us that we “need” so many different things to be acceptable, whether it be clothes and cosmetics, health, happiness …. In fact, more than ever before we are surrounded by unspoken social norms about what is acceptable and what is not, and we are coerced into longing for things that are not us. The fashion industry is based on this longing. So is our healthcare system. So is our education system. So is religion. We are constantly being told that we need certain things in order to be good enough, but we are not encouraged to discover what those things are for ourselves.

A lifetime of striving to feel comfortable in my own skin has been a journey of ups and downs, and even today there are moments of dread when I still feel inadequate, a failure, and totally out of sorts with myself. But an inner sense of contentment and stability has gradually grown over the years, and this article is about that journey.

Why is self-acceptance important?

First, let me start by saying that self-acceptance is not about wanting to stay the same. A healthy life of continuous improvement is very important to me. In fact, self-acceptance is a fundamental pre-requisite for personal transformation – to be able to look inside, accept my flaws, work toward something nobler, and uncover the beauty within. This takes courage.

Most of our habits – both mental emotional and behavioral – are a result of subconscious patterns that have been there since early childhood. Whether we accept that they arose only during this life or that they have also come from previous lives doesn’t really matter. They are from the past. They are wired into our neural circuitry from a time that we can no longer change. Many of us blame our families, our societies, and our circumstances for these patterns. Many of us also feel shame or guilt at the things that have stunted our emotional wellbeing. We remain victims of the past. There is a hidden world of woundedness within, so that when current circumstances mirror the past, we react in the same patterns, often out of fear. It is hard to feel self-acceptance in those moments.

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