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Self-Acceptance

The grass is inevitably greener on the other side; if we are too thin we want to be curvy, if we are too curvy we want to be beanpoles. There is a certain amount of longing, no not exactly longing, but assuming that the other way would be easier.

I don’t remember exactly when I reached my adult height, but I know it was well before boys went through puberty. So for a while somewhere in the 12-14 range I was a towering 5’8” with all the girls still growing and all the boys years away from their growth spurts. Luckily I was also rail thin (think all elbows and knees) and delightfully self-conscious of my stature. I envied the shorter athletes with substantial hips and big shoulders. I slouched and I wore oversized men’s clothing to take up more space.

Nowadays I hardly ever notice my height. In the adult world there is a lot more sitting and my height seems to be less of an issue now that most men are taller than me. I’ve come to appreciate the height now that I’ve filled out and take up a decent amount of space. Being more powerful and more comfortable in my body makes my height more definite and confident.

I’m also blessed with very curly hair. Not frizzy or tight curls, but quite beautiful soft curls that require no effort to spring into life. I’ve always liked my hair but there was a long learning curve on how to manage it and how to find a hairstyle that defined me.

I’m giving you two examples of silly physical things that I’ve come to love about my body. Two things that I struggled with and hated for years and now almost never think about. I’m bringing them up because they are easy. What I’m working on now is much more complicated.

I’m no longer in junior high and worrying about winning the affections of some soccer player, nowadays I’m an adult worrying about why my body and mind work differently than others. Most of my friends and peers work full time. They don’t think twice about traveling on the weekend or fixing up their houses or building a garden. They all have creative projects and families and big social circles. They keep their houses clean. Bottom line—they have so much energy.

I worked full time for six weeks about eight years ago. It was a complete disaster. Since then I’ve either worked for someone at 30 hours a week or for myself in piecemeal random hours. Now that I own my business I don’t count my hours and so I have no idea how much I actually work. But I know that on the days I’m not in the office there is a lot of resting. Being around people whether it is for client work or being in front of the classroom is really exhausting. I love it and look forward to it every day, but really need to rest after a full day of being “on.”

It is so much harder to accept my fatigue patterns than it was to accept my unruly hair or my lanky physique. Though I’ve only been trying for a few years and I’ve had this body all my life.  But I need to recognize that pushing through my fatigue only exacerbates the issue and taking time to rest makes me increasingly productive. I also need to recognize that a lot of people are also exhausted. Maybe I just have a lower standard of discomfort. I’m trying to see that as a strength. The ability to actually hear my body make demands could be a strength, not a weakness. Self-acceptance is an amazing gift we could so easily grant ourselves at any moment, but the power to purchase it takes years.

Today I invite you to think about the aspects of your body, your mind or how your system functions that you rebel against. What does your body do that always disappoints you? How could you redefine your life or redefine your routine so that aspect of your life could instead make you proud. Look back over the years and see where you’ve already made progress in the realm of self-acceptance and use that as inspiration that it is possible.

Image credit: thomaspajot / 123RF Stock Photo

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