Acceptance is our most primal human need. Every one of us strives for acceptance; who we are, what we stand for, what we believe, what we look like, and how we express ourselves.

What are your emotions telling you?

Emotions are energy and movements within our bodies based on how we interpret life and events. When we fall in love, our bodies feel wonderful, warm, tingly, cosy and excited as endorphins are released by the brain into our bodies. However, when we feel scared or threatened, our bodies feel constricted and tight which comes from the adrenalin and cortisol released to activate the fight or flight response. We experience hundreds of different feelings but interestingly enough all of these feelings are produced from two core feelings; love and fear which all starts with whether we feel accepted or not.

How do you feel about YourSelf?

ALL of this combined is what creates the way we feel about ourselves and how we respond to, and express those feelings. If we accept and love the person we are, we feel emotionally safe and are able to express ourselves from a place of love. But when we believe that we are not acceptable, we become defensive and express ourselves from a place of fear, which can come across as anger, frustration, irritation, impatience, judgement or by being dismissive. I’m sure you have heard the saying ‘seeing life through rose tinted glasses’. Well here’s the thing, we all have our own pair of ‘tinted glasses’ that we view life through. When we do not accept who we are, our glasses filter out all the good stuff, all the rational stuff and all we see is evidence our own ‘non-acceptance.’ It becomes almost impossible to view other people objectively as the ‘tint on our glasses’ obscure our view. When someone close to you like a partner, child or friend expresses their feelings or discontent to you, we immediately assume it is about us. We ‘view’ their words through our ‘glasses of non-acceptance’ and fear kicks in, we interpret what they are saying as criticism or believe that we did something wrong and that we are responsible for their feelings and in the process become defensive.

In a child’s world, how you feel as a parent, is more important than what you say

So where does all this non-acceptance or acceptance of ourselves start? It starts in childhood and with our parents. If our parents like themselves and they feel good about themselves, those feelings are ‘transmitted’ to us verbally and non-verbally. But if our parents are not okay with who they are, then this too gets transmitted to us verbally and non-verbally. Children tend to make everything about themselves, they put their parents on pedestals, and whenever something doesn’t feel right, they think that it’s because of them. A parent’s sadness, frustration, distraction or anger can be picked up by the child and they will think that they are the cause of it. In their minds their parents are perfect and therefore it has to be them that is the cause of their parents distress.

Practice Acceptance

accept and validate your feelings
accept that everyone has feelings
accept and validate other peoples feelings
accept that we all feel differently for different reasons
accept that ALL feelings are acceptable whether you understand it or not

My mom loved to turn simple events into adventures. She always tried to look on the bright side. I recall one evening sitting at the kitchen table watching her make pancakes. I adored my mother, we were extremely close and as I was watching her, I picked up her distress. I realised that her act of excitedly making pancakes was to mask the fact that all we had in the form of groceries was milk, water, eggs and sugar; the very same ingredients needed to make pancakes. I felt my mother’s distress of not knowing where the next meal was going to come from and in my ‘adoration for my mother’ as a child, I came to the conclusion that if I wasn’t there, then her burden would be less. From that moment on, I grew up not wanting to be a burden to anyone, and took on a stance of ‘I can do without’ and therefore I did go without so much for so many many years until I uncovered this crazy belief and got rid of it.

As you can see from that example, I made my mother’s feelings all about me, it changed me as a person, it changed the way I felt about myself and it changed the way I expressed myself. Not for one instance did my mother tell me I was a burden, I concluded that all on my own. Just like I concluded, based on my dad’s facial expressions and parenting style, that I was not acceptable as a person. He was a true Authoritarian and came from an era of demanding respect and compliance. He did not tell me that I was unacceptable, he may have told me that my actions were unacceptable to him, but as a child my conclusion was that I was unacceptable as a person and as a result I felt unsafe, that there was something fundamentally wrong with me which resulted in a lifetime of emotional pain and physical illness until I was able to uncover this and come to a new conclusion. You see, the only way you can change the tint on your glasses is by changing your internal view, which basically means to change the way you view yourself.

Accept yourself for who you are, so your children can too

Acceptance is a choice, to accept yourself, means being totally open and honest about who you are, and then giving yourself permission to be that person. The minute you do this, you change the tint of your glasses and not only are you able to see all the good stuff about yourself and your life, but you are able to do the same with others. Your defensiveness of yourself and your judgement of others disappears. Once you accept yourself, you are able to accept others for who they are too. And…… more importantly you will role-model to your children, that they too are acceptable just as they are. I am not saying that this includes accepting bad behaviour, what I am saying is that your children need to know that who they are is acceptable, that they are enough and worthy of your love and respect and that it’s NOT dependant on their behaviour.

If you struggle being YourSelf, then check out my Selfie School where you will get tons of support to help you to be Perfectly You 🙂