Leon Seltzer Quotes
Total quotes (5)
Total quotes (5)
Though related, self-acceptance is not the same as self-esteem. Whereas self-esteem refers specifically to how valuable, or worthwhile, we see ourselves, self-acceptance alludes to a far more global affirmation of self. When we're self-accepting, we're able to embrace all facets of ourselves – not just the positive, more "esteem-able" parts. As such, self-acceptance is unconditional, free of any qualification. We can recognize our weaknesses, limitations, and foibles, but this awareness in no way interferes with our ability to fully accept ourselves.
Somehow, over the past few decades it's become conventional wisdom that we should put our faith in our feelings. That is, if we feel something—especially if we feel it intensely—then it deserves to be seen as valid, or truthful. The adage "trust your feelings" has by now become almost axiomatic. But ultimately, how logical—or, how safe—is it to conclude that if we feel something strongly, we should both believe it and permit it to control our behavior?
The very essence of cognitive-behavioral therapy (and rational emotive behavior therapy as well) is derived from the theory that how we think determines how we feel. But as this theory itself might ask, if our thoughts are exaggerated, distorted—or, for that matter, downright delusional—how can we possibly place our faith in any feelings that stem from such irrational thoughts?
Becoming more self-accepting necessitates that we begin to appreciate that, ultimately, we're not really to blame for anything – whether it's our looks, intelligence, or any of our more questionable behaviors. Our actions have all been compelled by some combination of background and biology. Going forward, we certainly can – and in most cases, should – take responsibility for ways we've hurt or mistreated others. But if we're to productively work on becoming more self-accepting, we must do so with compassion and forgiveness in our hearts. We need to realize that, given our internal programming up to that point, we could hardly have behaved differently.
There's no reason we can't decide right now to transform our fundamental sense of who we are. And we may need to remind ourselves that our various weaknesses are part of what makes us human. If all our faults and failings were suddenly to disappear, my pet theory is that we'd instantly turn into white light and disappear from the face of this planet. So in the pursuit of unconditional self-acceptance, we might even want to take a certain pride in our imperfections. After all, were we beyond criticism in the first place, we'd never have the opportunity to rise to this uniquely human challenge.