Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 19 -- Season for Nonviolence--Acceptance

[From The Season for Nonviolence, 64 Ways in 64 Days pamphlet]
"Feb. 17 ACCEPTANCE 'Resentment, fear, criticism and guilt cause more problems than anything else.' (Louise Hay) Choose not to judge yourself. See yourself as unique, loving, capable and bright. Accept yourself as you are."

This has been my experience. I am my own worst critic. This is really true, by the way. Over the years, I have tended to attract people into my life that I perceive to be highly critical of me (some of them may have even raised me). And I have told myself that their criticism has caused me great pain. I have told myself that if only they would accept me, I would feel/be okay, but the truth is that I am the one that is most critical of me, not them.

Everyone around me is a mirror. If I'm in emotional pain because of someone else's criticism of me, the first place I have to look at is myself. How would I possibly feel that pain if I were not critical of myself in that place too?

An example might help. I am, always have been, and may always be insecure about how fast I eat. I inhale my food and I don't like it if people call attention to it or mention it. No matter how good I get at portion control, healthful eating and other food behavior modifications, I eat as if I'm trying to set a land speed record for cereal consumption.

As a result, once in a while someone (usually my mother) will say, "you know, it'd be a lot healthier for you if you would only slow down."

What emotions does this bring up?

Resentment and anger: why the hell don't you mind your own business? who died and made you the queen of what speed you eat at? etc.

Fear of being unlovable: could I possibly be unattractive when eat a full plate in less than 30 seconds? (you think I'm kidding on the time, I'm really not) Could you possibly love me if you're taking the time to criticize me? etc.

The truth is though that if I were comfortable with my speed-eating, nothing you could say about it would bother me. But I'm not comfortable, I hate that I eat so fast. I wish I were different.

If I truly accepted myself, loved myself exactly the way I am, there is no way that your comments could hurt me. I could say something like "you could be right!"

...and I could mean it.

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