why self-acceptance can be a trap.

This might be unpopular, but it also might be the truth for some of you.

Let me preface this by saying that on the surface, the idea of self-acceptance is a good one. It is respectable to be aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses at a point in time. It is commendable to have an idea of one’s general self-worth. It’s good to know that you can be comfortable in your own skin.

This, however is not the point.

The objective of this post is to caution you in how far this comfort goes. Because accepting yourself in sickness, in pain and in suffering can be a path to apathy and self-pity.

I’ll tell you now – I don’t like self-pity. I don’t believe that my pain and suffering can ever be comparable to any of yours. Because in life, you will experience pain and everyone knows this. Behind every smile you see, there is a darkness and grief you will never understand.

Don’t ever think you are the exception.

In that truth, I believe there is a reality that some of us fall into and mistake self-acceptance for self-pity. The two are not the same.

If I had truly accepted myself as a drug-addict, I would never have found the strength to break free from my chains. Chains whereby I had bound myself, pessimistic, self-limiting, self-pitying. I would know nothing about a brighter future, where I could share experience, knowledge and wisdom with you.

I would be blind to the reality – things get better.

If I had wallowed in my self-pity; accepted my behaviour, you would not be reading these words.

People have the capacity to evolve and progress in this world, no matter the handicap. You have a potential for great happiness in your life; not only that but you have control. You set the rules, boundaries and reality.

Accept the pain. Because it is real and unescapable. But, do not suffer needlessly. Instead, during whatever difficultly that currently faces you, recognise it will pass and that the strongest version of you has yet to be truly realised.

The only thing getting in your way is you.

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Clinical Exercise Scientist

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