“How to accept myself for who I am”
Google has released the most searched topics of the last year, and among the those topical searches you would expect about US Politics, Brexit, and celebrity drama - lots of people were asking “how to accept myself for who I am”. It was the tenth most frequent ‘how to’ question to Google in the UK.
Initially it surprised me that it was such a popular search. Maybe it is something people are happier typing anonymously into a search engine than asking their mates down the pub or colleagues in the office.
But when you think about it, many of the perceived causes of our lack of well-being or fulfillment in life in any moment, are because at some level we think we should have, do, or be something else.
As a coach many of the things my clients come to me with as presenting issues (disconnection, insecurity around their career or relationships, success), are all symptoms of that.
So is it ok?
And as human beings we are designed to have a full rich experience of the world, we are sentient beings, and we have the capacity to experience and feel. That includes those perfect moments of clarity and connection, and our neurosis, self doubt, stress and disconnection. it is all normal.
Basically, if you can feel it, it is normal.
And part of the human condition is that we have egoic thinking that might tell us we are not good enough, or need fixing. That is normal as well.
So what? Is the answer to simply just accept myself? Surely that’s easier said than done….?
Well, like the famous joke about the tourist in Ireland who asks one of the locals for directions to Dublin. The Irishman replies: ‘Well sir, if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here’. Similarly, I wouldn’t start with the idea that ‘I need to accept myself’.
Just for a moment imagine that accepting ourselves was our innate default. It’s easy to see this in children; I don’t know about you, but I don’t see many 3 year olds struggling to accept who they are. What happens however, is that something gets in the way, often invisibly, of us being content with who we are. Now it might look like that thing in the way is our job, money worries, facebook, our peers, advertising, our parents etc. But that is an illusion of correlation not cause.
What causes, and is always the cause 100% of the time, is ‘thought’. Thought which gets invisibly whipped up into conditioned narratives and that don’t even look like they are made of thought.
How does knowing it is made of thought help?
Here is the bit that might be different to what you think you know already, have a go at being curious about seeing something new in these words:
Thought is just the creative play-dough of the mind, that creates our experience moment to moment. It provides us with an experience that feels real, but isn’t objectively true. Once we insightfully see it as this, it changes. Thought dissolves, once we see what it is made of, and new perspective arise.
That’s why we don’t get hung up when we have a dream that we are a goat herder living in the 18th century, being chased naked through a shopping mall. The dream may feel real at the time we are experiencing it, but as soon as we wake up, we know it is not true. And once we realise that, the feelings and experience of the dream drop away in a moment.
Now I realise this might all sound a little over simplified and unrealistic but all you have to do it have a look for yourself, you can see it any moment.
It is impossible to have an experience of the world without it coming via thought….it just doesn't always look like that to us!
So start to be curious about that sentence, and you might notice the glitch in the matrix….