From the Desk of Ann Thomas, a Featured Partner of The SWAT Institute:
To radically accept yourself, you must embrace and come to peace with all parts of you: the beautiful, the damaged, the powerful, the remorseful, and the divine. Radical self-acceptance means seeing yourself for all that you truly are – neither with rose-colored glasses nor with muddied glasses, but with a clean, clear accurate lens.
There are 5 components to radical self-acceptance: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and sexual.
Radical self-acceptance of your physical form. This means to see your body from a loving point of view. This is the place where you get to notice how beautiful and amazing your body is. Notice where your body curves and where it angles. Pay attention to the parts of your body that you normally neglect. Be mindful of your organs and how they serve you. And notice from a place of compassion what you don’t like about your body. If it is something you can change, begin to visualize how you want it to look and feel. If it is not something you can change, send that part of your body love and ask the Divine to help you embrace that part of you.
Radical self-acceptance of your mind. Your mind is both the holder of infinite possibility and infinite doubt. The same mind that can visualize a goal is the same mind that can derail that goal by producing a fear-based thought. Mental self-acceptance requires you to become aware of the full spectrum of your mind. Once you are aware, you can cultivate a healthier mind by choosing affirming thoughts and eliminating negative ones.
Radical self-acceptance of your emotional being. Part of accepting your emotional being is recognizing that you experience a painful emotion (anger, sadness, shame, etc.) so that you can fully appreciate its opposite. You would not really know joy if you haven’t experienced pain. You cannot fully cultivate compassion, if you have never experienced shame. No, you can’t rid yourself of pain. But, you can work to reduce the intensity with which you feel it. One way to reduce the intensity is to accept and pay attention to your wounded parts (whether it’s a wounded child, teenager, or adult). By doing so, you decrease the chance that those parts will create unpleasant situations that force you to pay attention to it.
Radical self-acceptance of your spirit. This means honoring the divine goddess within you. All that is good and divine is not outside of you. God is not someone outside of you. But, we tend to forget that. We think we are separate from the Divine. We believe heinous things about our worth – thinking that, essentially, we are not good enough. Radical self-acceptance of your spirit is KNOWING that your true essence is divine.
Radical self-acceptance of your sexuality. This means fully embracing your sexuality. I am not just talking about your sexual orientation – I am talking about fully allowing yourself to have intimacy with your sexuality. To stay connected to your body and spirit. Many women I know (especially survivors of sexual assault, molestation, or incest) either underplay or overemphasize their sexuality. This is in part because of the messages and stereotypes we receive about our sexuality as women. But, neither extreme is loving. What IS loving is to embrace the fact that our sexuality is an expression of and a portal for our divine energy. As a result, we must act on our sexuality from a place of integrity. As you can see, the common thread to radical self-acceptance is to see yourself holistically, from a place of love and compassion, and most importantly without judgment.
Ann Thomas, Esq., CPCC is the author of 101 Affirmations for Radical Self-Love (available on Amazon.com) and is the founder of Evolving Goddess, a company dedicated to teaching women how to fall in love with themselves so that their lives fall into place.
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