Somethings are difficult to accept, like losing someone you love.
It’s been a hard few days for me—a dear friend died, suddenly.
He excelled in his field, and was a highly decorated hero. Yet, he struggled with acceptance.
In his eyes, he never was good…enough.
I met him at twenty-four, when he was ready to purchase his first home. As his Realtor, I grew to know him quite well, and after the deal was done, we became friends.
One day he asked, “Do you think I’m a good man?”
I actually thought he was one of the best young men I had ever met, yet clearly, he was unsure. He later explained that he had never been affirmed by his family. Despite all of his great qualities, he was constantly criticized and put down. He thought he was a good guy, but his family said he wasn’t. He needed a credible source to help him figure out the truth. I told him the truth—he was truly a great guy, but he needed an infallible credible source to help him see the truth about himself.
He needed to see himself through God’s eyes.
Knowing the truth about yourself is the first step to acceptance, and acceptance brings peace.
However, loving and accepting yourself, as you are, can be difficult for many reasons. One reason it’s a challenge is because you must allow your mind to be transformed to completely embrace all of you. Another reason, despite how much you value your family or friends’ opinions, you can’t allow their perceptions of you, restrict you. Unfortunately, my friend wasn’t able to fully accept himself because he couldn’t get past the judgments of his family.
Think about it. You accepting all of you, including your perceived flaws. Radical right? It’s liberating and freeing because it allows you to experience unconditional acceptance and love–the way God loves you. If you are challenged to accept all of who you are…
Here are 4 Radical Things God Wants You to Accept About Yourself:
1. Accept that you are not better than anyone, and no one is better than you. I have followed this belief since I was a teen attending the high school for the gifted in my hometown of Alabama. Many of the students there were from prominent families, including the children of doctors, lawyers and even the Mayor. The student body also included the children of teachers, nurses and bus drivers, and kids from low-income families. It was during high school that I decided to value everyone on the same level as myself.
My best friend lived in Government housing with her mother and two brothers. I valued her just as much as the judge and Mayor’s kids–just as Jesus would have done. The Bible teaches that we are all God’s children and He esteems us all highly (Jeremiah 31:3). Adopting this practice, allowed me to see everyone as equally valuable regardless of education level, wealth, status or position. When we acknowledge that we all have different, but equally important, talents and gifts, we can accept, support, and celebrate each other. You are valuable and important, and everyone else is, too.
2. Accept that the concept of being perfect is inherently flawed. Our flaws link us together as humans because they keep us humble—knowing we can’t be judgmental of other people’s flaws because we have flaws, too. “Perfectionism is the exact opposite of self-acceptance.”
Accepting our flaws increases our acceptance of ourselves, because we know we’re not perfect. Thought leader Dr. Henry Cloud says, “Self-acceptance doesn’t mean that you desire all your traits, or shortcomings. But, it does mean you don’t attack yourself for them. That never helps.” Whenever we think ourselves to be perfect, we are living in a world of deception that causes us to be critical and judgmental. God sees the beauty in your imperfection. Release your need to be perfect, today. Click here for a great article on Perfectionism.
3. Accept that it’s okay to be different. Be a free-thinker. In our society, much of what is seen as different is also viewed as bad or inferior. When we blindly follow trends and thoughtlessly accept the ever-changing American view of what is ideal in terms of ethnicity, skin color, body shape, weight, hair texture, income, educational level, vocabulary, material possessions, economic status, marital status, etc., it causes us to reject the parts of ourselves that are different or don’t “measure up” to the group. Too often, we struggle to accept the parts of ourselves that don’t conform to American standards. It leaves us feeling inferior and distraught for not being what we consider “normal”.
As a free-thinker, you can decide to accept your differences and embrace your unique qualities—don’t conform, be transformed.
4. Accept that it’s not important to have everyone’s acceptance. In order to gain acceptance, you may find yourself making drastic changes to your personality, physical appearance, and behavior in order to fit in with the group you admire. You become like a chameleon, changing to fit the group of people you’re around. However, in adopting these new characteristics you lose yourself and devalue the unique person God created you to be.
Living a life that is acceptable to God must be our ultimate goal. He doesn’t want us to transform ourselves to fit in with the world. He wants us to be transformed to be more like Jesus. Seeking acceptance from the “in-crowd”, society, or even your friends and family keeps you from following the leading of the Holy Spirit. It takes you away from being uniquely you. Seek God first, be authentic, and allow people an opportunity to love and accept you as you are.
Which one of these radical things will you begin to accept today? Which one are you already doing well with? Let me know by commenting below.
Kind regards, Sophia
Sophia Avery, MA is a Christian Therapist and owner of Christian Talk Therapy near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Community College of Philadelphia. Sophia is grateful for the opportunity to serve God and His people by providing wise counsel. Ms. Avery provides individual, couples, and pre-marital counseling, and also has founded Women’s groups, facilitates workshops, and teaches a Lay Counselor Certification course. You can meet Sophia at her up-coming Out of the Box Retreat for Single Women on August 20-21, 2016 in Mt Laurel, NJ, CLICK HERE for details. For more opportunities and information visit www.ChristianTalkTherapy.com. For appointments, inquiries or speaking engagements call 215-375-7879 x44.
I am happy to call Sophia Avery, MA a peer and friend. She has worked diligently to be engaged in her own life, and has pushed other women, including myself, to go higher in the direction of God’s calling. On August 20-21, 2016, Sophia and I are collaborating to empower single women in the areas of self-acceptance, marriage readiness and life fulfillment at the Out of the Box Retreat for Single Women, click here to find out what you can expect. Sophia, thank you for being the #ShesEngaged Featured Woman and Contributor for July.