What we don’t allow comes out sideways
Whatever is rejected from the self appears in the world as an event.
The more I work with high-performing leaders, the clearer something becomes: one of the most essential and powerful shifts we can make for our development is that of shifting from a habit of self-judgment and resistance to one of acceptance and compassion.
But we are just SO good at judging ourselves.
Why? Simple. We learned that judgment keeps us safe. But it also keeps us small. And that belief — the association with protection — runs so deep that we don’t even realize it’s there.
So before we bypass, let’s acknowledge for a moment that there’s some validity here. It is RISKY to accept yourself fully in this world. People will get triggered by their lack of grounded self-worth when they sense yours and they will let you know it!
Plus, hyper-self-criticism keeps you on your toes so you stay relevant and valuable. You can always be better, right? Don’t want to let down your guard or you might lose your standing.
The problem is that — aside from being less than enjoyable — all this self-judgment keeps us contracted. It prevents us from being truly connected to our authentic selves. And that means we’re not accessing our full creative ability and contributing to a better world in the way we’re uniquely capable. Nor are we connecting as deeply as we could be within our relationships and the world around us.
Life feels less alive than we know it could be, and we bear unconscious resentment toward ourselves because we know we’re often the ones keeping ourselves down. And when we don’t address this, the people around us feel the unpleasant repercussions.
The good news is that this way of being is learned and can be unlearned — and quite rapidly — within the right container.
So what is it, exactly, we’re accepting? And where do we start?
Here’s how I perceive it. We’re accepting:
- Our life, in general // being alive // the messiness inherent to being human
- Our life, specifically // being ourselves // all personal qualities, including those we label as less-than-ideal
- Our life, in this moment // being in it // the challenges and intensity of the moment
We are allowing ourselves to be our imperfect, evolving, uncertain selves.
This is the foundation of presence and it’s the foundation for growth. It means, through daily practice, taking responsibility for giving ourselves the space to allow our full experience so we can practice accepting what is.
And when we accept what is, we can eventually appreciate the way in which the energy freed up from holding onto judgment unlocks new awareness around how to move forward along our path.
To get started, we presence a vision+feeling of the state we’re intending to create:
- How might it look to really, truly, more and more fully and compassionately allow our life to be what it is?
- How will it feel to heal the leaky faucet of self-judgment that has been depleting our energy, drip by drip, for years?
- How does life look different when — instead of collecting in buckets — that energy is flowing toward real self-acceptance?
I’ll leave you with this, recognizing the privileged position from which it’s shared:
Our challenges are rungs on the ladder of our evolution.
Yes, it can be hard. But let’s stop hating the ladder because the rungs are hurting our butts.
Let’s stop fighting ourselves.
Let’s start exploring the value within each rung and continue climbing, together.