Okay… hold on… WHY would I want to accept where I am while I’m trying to make new goals? Isn’t that counter-productive?
For some people today, modern goal setting can be a fairly stressful and dissatisfying process. It is very common to start off the new year by being either overly judgmental or overly optimistic when it comes to our current situation. When we cannot assess ourselves objectively, we tend to set goals based on what we “should” want, how we “should” feel and what we “should” be doing on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. We derive these “shoulds” by comparing our lives the the lives of people that we believe are more successful at life or happier than we are.
Often if we do complete a goal, we get that burst of energy, a short high. However, by the time we have reached our goal, we have already set the bar higher, we have already set more goals that are bigger and even more difficult to achieve. As soon as we lose that short high, we are back where we started, unsatisfied with where we are and beating ourselves up for not having reached the new bar yet.
So how do we prevent this cycle of dissatisfaction?
Self-acceptance, Self- love, self-forgiveness. These are skills that we need to be constantly working on so that we can…
Accurately assess our current situation,
Set goals that actually serve us, &
Stay on the path towards our goals and maintain balance and satisfaction during the journey.
So, HOW can we fully accept ourselves and still have ambition and drive to achieve our goals?
First of all, we need to talk about the difference between acceptance and complacency.
Self-acceptance and ambition / motivation are not mutually exclusive. It is totally possible to accept and love who you are, where you are, all your strengths and all your weaknesses AND still be excited and motivated to grow and create positive change.
When you look at a newborn, you love and appreciate that baby AND are excited for the change and growth yet to come. You don’t get frustrated with a newborn for being fragile or for not walking or talking yet.
I think the main difficulty we all have with this concept of self-acceptance, is that we view ourselves as inherently different instead of inherently similar. We think that acceptance, forgiveness and love work differently when we apply them to ourselves versus when we apply the concepts to others. But if we can shift our perception of the underlying concept, we realize that it works the same way.
If we begin from the foundational concept that human beings are more similar than dissimilar, then self-acceptance, love and forgiveness become a lot easier to put into practice. If you can accept someone else for who they are AND be excited to see who they will grow to become, you can feel this and apply this to yourself. If you can forgive someone else, knowing that you can only control yourself and the forgiveness acts to heal you and make you more aligned, than you can extend that same forgiveness to the parts of you that are not currently in alignment. If you can love someone else, you can absolutely learn to love yourself (and grow your ability to love others in the process)
We just need to do away with this false belief that we are somehow harder to love, forgive and accept. All the limitations and hardship that we perceive around this concept are self-created. So let’s talk about…
The role of self-acceptance in conscious goal setting.
1. Self-acceptance allows us objectively and accurately assess where were are in this moment:
When we develop acceptance for who we are in this moment, we can view ourselves objectively. We can look at ourselves with compassion for where we are right now and see clearly the areas of our lives that could be improved, without blowing certain areas out of proportion, or skimming over some areas that are maybe uncomfortable to assess.
2. Self-acceptance allow us to set goals that are challenging yet achievable:
When we fully accept ourselves, we are less likely to compare our goals with other people’s goals or get into a competitive mindset and begin scaling our goals to greater and greater heights that are no longer reasonable. It is much easier to set goals that fit us and are uniquely geared towards our needs and desires, when we are not concerned with conforming with “shoulds” that are based on what other people will think of us or with what other people are doing.
3. Self-acceptance allows us to stay on our path towards achieving our goals:
Self-acceptance does not mean that we don’t feel the full human emotional spectrum (in fact it allows us to feel more deeply and fully) BUT it does go a long way towards mitigating the negative effects of the emotions that can cause us to give up on our goals. Frustration, doubt, disappointment, overwhelm, anxiety and just stress in general can cause us to go into this state of “War” with ourselves, because we often feel the need to fight against these emotions and “force” ourselves to achieve our goals.
Accepting that we are all human and allowed to experience the full range of emotions, allows us to adapt to the more dynamic and distraction parts of life and then get back on track with our goals. When we give emotions the space and time to express themselves as they come up, without judging them or rushing to feel something different, we can begin to address the root causes of those feelings as they become apparent or just allow them to pass through us without resistance so that we can start the next day fresh and get back on track.
It is important to be able to look at the larger picture and accept that there may be days where we need to adapt. There may be days where we need to rest, or go do something fun, or focus on a different goal, or go help someone else. These times do not necessarily detract from us achieving our goals in the long run.
By allowing ourselves the heart-space to feel the highs of joy and success AND the lows of pain and disappointment, we can embrace the full range of our humanity and stay in balance. If we can stay balanced, we are much more likely to stick with the goals that truly serve us. It is when we fight ourselves, resist ourselves and get stuck in guilt and shame and all the “should” that we end up not consciously creating the changes we want to make.
Feel free to watch the FB LIVE video below. I had a little bit of a hard time getting my words out in a concise way, but I think I hit all the points eventually =)
Love you all, as always,