"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change."

~Carl Rogers

(This quote and the following reference can be found in his book: On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy.)

What do you mean I will change after I accept myself...  AS I AM (gasp!)?   This is a difficult concept for so many and it may even feel impossible to others.  Self loathing abounds in our culture; dislike or even disgust are much more familiar feelings than self-acceptance and self-love are.  As a result, the idea of self-acceptance as means to usher in change can feel hardly believable.

Carl Rogers explains, "I find I am more effective when I can listen accepantly to myself, and can be myself.  I feel that over the years I have learned to become more adequate in listening to myself; so that I know, somewhat more adequately than I used to, what I am feeling in any given moment ... One way of putting this is that I feel I have become more adequate in letting myself be what I am.  It becomes easier for me to accept myself as a decidedly imperfect person, who by no means functions at all times in the way in which I would like to function. This must seem to some like a very strange direction in which to move.  It seems to me to have value because the curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change." (p.17)

Because we are forever looking at what we want to improve, where we want to be, and what steps we must take to get there, our energy is being spent and our thoughts are being focused on what we are not, where we are not, and how far we have to go to get there.  This focusing upon the negative and carrying around the excess weight of non-acceptance often acts as a block to progress or causes increased resistance to change. 

In other words, climbing a mountain is hard enough but can be rendered impossible if too much energy is expended unwisely! (Click to Tweet)

Try to accept who you are today (and perhaps the next day and the next day, etc.).  Drop the resistance and the negativity and see what opportunities arise naturally when you are clear, present, positive, and a bit more confident - Change may come a bit easier!

~~Michelle Cleary, LCSW

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