At the beginning of each year, we take great care and effort to come up with something to improve and change about ourselves. Why? We could probably answer by saying we do it in order to be better, which in turn we think will make us happier.
If only we were thinner, or looked younger, or were in better physical shape, or ate better, then weâ€™d be more lovable and fit better into society.
But what if we just simply accepted ourselves just as we are today, in this moment, in our all humanness?
Accepting ourselves just as we are today, in this body, in our experience today, is the surest route to our own internal happiness.
Conditional love, based on what we look like, what we wear, what we might do for a living, is hollow and temporary. It does not truly satisfy.
We all yearn to be loved just as we are, unconditionally.
How do we find this unconditional love? Not by looking outward.
We find it by accepting ourselves as we are, right now, in this moment, opening our own hearts fully to the Love that knows no attachments and is already within us.
This Love is available at all times in the present moment, but we are not in the present moment. We are spending it in the past, reliving events and our thoughts, sometimes repeatedly. Or we are living it in the future, thinking of all we have â€œto-doâ€ or should do.
We abandon the present moment and the joy it holds. We seek acceptance and love as if it is something we acquire, like a house, a job, or a degree.
This very seeking outside of ourselves is what keeps us separate and always looking, never finding. It keeps us from accepting ourselves in this present moment. We feel as if we are never â€œgood enoughâ€ and there is something else we must do or acquire to be lovable.
How do we stay fully in the present moment? How do we accept ourselves just as we are?
- We stop looking to the future and what think we need to do or have in order to be happy.
- We instead fully accept our life in this present moment, without resistance, without analysis, interpretation, or trying to control it.
- We observe each thought, emotion, sensation, or feeling we might have about what is going on without judgment.
- If it is difficult to accept what is, then we simply acknowledge our resistance to acceptance, and just let it be what it is.
With this deep acceptance, the part of us that observes is itself free from resistance, knowing that accepting is not the same as enjoying something. It is an awareness that life is just as it is and we are just as we are. We rest within the perfection of our imperfection.
copyright S.M.Kline 2015
This article was originally published in January of 2015.