If acceptance feels so good, then why don’t we accept ourselves? Motivation. Motivation to get us to do, not do, be, and not be. Many people believe that if they accepted themselves as they are, they wouldn’t change or that they wouldn’t work on becoming more of who they want to be.
We hate ourselves for being fat to get ourselves to diet. We berate ourselves for mistakes to make ourselves more attentive. We feel guilty to make ourselves do what we think we should. We judge ourselves unfavorably with the hope it will motivate us to change. We hope if we feel bad enough about ourselves, that maybe that will motivate us to change.
Does this work? Hardly. All it does is...well, cause us to feel bad and feeling bad just saps your energy you might have used to make changes. It works exactly counter to what you wanted to do.
“Acceptance allows change. The "acceptance mode" includes everything, even my judgments. It allows me to be okay now, even before I reach my goals.” When you begin to accept yourself the way you are right now, you begin a new life with new possibilities that did not exist before because you were so caught up in the struggle against reality that that was all you could do.
So if it doesn’t work, why do we keep doing it? Because we HOPE it will work. And if you don’t know any other way to change, what options do you have? We’ve been trained to believe that in order to change, we need to first feel bad about it. That if we’re accepting and loving of that particular quality, that we won’t do anything to change the situation. Which is not true! You don’t have to be unhappy with yourself to know and actively change those things you’d like to change about yourself. Acceptance is actually the very first step in the process of change.
What if you were to drop your value judgments and simply saw “what is” then identified what you wanted and why. It could totally transform your experience. What are the ramifications of doing so? Perhaps you would find a well of love for yourself and others that you never knew existed. Perhaps you'd notice the less you judge yourself, the less you judge others. And maybe, just maybe, the experience of acceptance would give you the solid foundation to move forward in creating yourself and your life the you've always dreamed.