As this holiday season gets under way, let’s consider how we can make our life and our journeys brighter and more meaningful. Let’s begin by asking why do we desire to be more successful, never satisfied with what we have? Why some of us only see the negative in a situation and others see the positive, see challenges as opportunities? Let’s ask ourselves: what makes some of us feel grateful for just being alive? What enables some to get through life’s stumbling blocks with the chin held high? What makes others feel so down in the dumps and depressed? Why are many of us unsatisfied and unhappy with what we have or what we have accomplished? As I mill over these questions, I think that the answers are true self-acceptance and compassion.
Approaching the end of 2015, I ask myself: can I enter 2016 thinking that I love what I see in the mirror? The answer is Yes, in spite of my mistakes and faults, because through their amendment, I grow and turn them into opportunities for improvement. If I made an error yesterday, I consider myself one step closer to getting it right today! A mistake, when acknowledged should not bring disappointment and blame. I believe I am good enough as I am, although always striving to improve this unique person: me.
The acceptance of oneself in spite of deficiencies is a feeling of satisfaction with oneself necessary for a balanced approach to life. When looking in the mirror, we ask: am I good enough despite the wart on my face or the frizzy hair day or the extra 5 pounds that comes with enjoying the holiday season? Let’s not beat ourselves up for the extra helping we had of dessert. It is ok if I exercised for 10 minutes instead of the recommended 30 minutes or maybe I did not get to it at all. I am good enough and I can keep working to improve. I will give myself credit for what I can do or can accomplish and what I am, rather than focus on what is missing in me or in my life physically, spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually. If I value and respect myself, I will be valued and respected.
It is fine to be different from others. Diversity is important and valuable. Nowadays, projects at schools and at work require teamwork; people create task forces to assess issues or develop new approaches to challenges we face in our schools, organizations or communities. The most successful teams and task forces leading to self-sustaining results and changes of the status quo are the ones made up of people of different ages, learning styles, backgrounds, and talents. As we go through life let’s join forces with other family members or friends or professional colleagues, let’s mix and match so that we all benefit by sharing our strengths with those that lack them and tapping into their strengths where we have weaknesses. Diversity and inclusion bring more ideas to the table and produce better solutions to projects and lead to better execution. Our community and our world will benefit from more diversity.
In fact the only solution to terrorism, violence and lack of civility is more tolerance, diversity and collaboration. This begins inside each of us: instead of seeing life as a big competition where we need to win, we must strive to create situations that enhance the well being of all of us.
We should not measure our goodness by our achievements and successes alone; yes, it is important to set goals and move towards them but let’s not be fooled into valuing ourselves and others only by criteria such as job title and income bracket, size of our car or home. Let’s stop searching and never be feeling satisfied.
I do not know about you, but when I feel bad or uncomfortable I withdraw from the situation and the people causing the discomfort. That reflex, however, diminishes knowledge and confidence. Self-acceptance guides you through the emotional turmoil and makes you feel less anxious. Self-acceptance creates curiosity about yourself and the situation, a new perspective that can alter your thoughts so you can resume your own path without being derailed. It can teach to tolerate more and subsequently to tolerate others more and include them in day-to-day experiences and enhance well-being.
To unshackle my mind and to allow my feelings and thoughts to just be and be grateful for what I do have I practice mindfulness or deep breathing or meditation. The more I concentrate on gratitude the more relaxed I feel inwardly and the lower my wall of defenses. This allows that side of me that is more at peace with the outer world to emerge: a much healthier way of being, opening the door for healthier and more loving relationships. In fact, it is the very struggles and challenges in our lives that open the door to new friendships and to new ways of thinking. We learn that we can and will survive and still be able to move on no matter what happens to us during our journey on earth. Thus, in adversity our inner light burns brighter and we are able to motivate and inspire others, lighting their candle. This holiday season let us all try to shine brightly and be grateful for what we do have and not lament what is not perfect in us or others or our situations. Let’s believe in ourselves and accept our inner beauty and others will too. Let’s turn 2016 to the year to be happy and satisfied with ourselves and learn the art of tolerating. Our life will be enriched. The world will be one step closer to living together in peace and harmony. Be kind and compassionate regardless of our situation. We will discover better health and healing and enjoy our life more. Self- acceptance gives us the power to affect meaningful change in our own life and then in the lives of those around us.
Let’s build cultural bridges, let’s make sure that all individuals are valued, respected, and appreciated for their unique qualities and strengths.
What is your level of self-acceptance? What will you do to elevate it and have more well-being in the coming year? Please share your thoughts.
The author, Karen Rigamonti, M.D., M.B.A., M. P. H., CPCC, Birkman Consultant at KHDR Consulting LLC, works in leadership development, executive and life coaching and in well being. She focuses particularly on physicians and care providers, chronic health and disability issues within their families or practice.
If you would like to learn more about how she can help you tackle the challenges in your life, please contact her for a free sample session.
Leadership Development, Executive and Life Coaching, Birkman Consultant, Consulting, Workshops, Advocacy, Speaking, Disability, Health Care and Well Being
Enhancing Communities via cultural bridges where all Individuals are Valued, Respected, and Appreciated for their Uniqueness