49 Self Acceptance CurveballPosted: February 6, 2013
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”
I John 3:21
Seeking self-acceptance is a useless battle. Emotional healing does not come through accepting ourselves. Healing comes from accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. We cannot heal ourselves. To try to do so would be wasted effort. Seeking self acceptance becomes a self-defeating trap. When we spend time and energy trying to accept ourselves, we frustrate, rather than heal, ourselves. Instead of striving to accept self, we need to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior—His will and His way. We may find partial success with self-acceptance initially, which encourages us to keep going, but we can never find it fully. Seeking to accept things about ourselves that we don’t like also leads to circular thinking.
For example, we do not like feeling emotional pain. We seek to stop feeling pain, don’t want to feel pain, and yet we do feel pain. We don’t like that we feel pain and do not like that we are so sensitive. People may not intend to hurt us, but we sometimes feel hurt by what they say. We may not like this about ourselves; we want to become less sensitive. However, in embracing the desire to not be so sensitive, we find ourselves rejecting our sensitivity and so not accepting self.
Alternatively, we choose to accept our pain and sensitivity and then we don’t accept the part of us that does not like pain and sensitivity, the part of us that wants change. We could try to be all-accepting of our own self, to try to embrace all of who we are, we could seek to accept that we feel pain, as well as not wanting to feel pain, but this solution does not feel possible. Intrinsic in feeling pain is the desire to not feel it. On an intellectual level we accept that we feel pain but in the feeling of pain we find the desire to not feel it! These two paragraphs demonstrate circular thinking.
The goal of self-acceptance is self-contradictory. The dictionary defines ‘self’ as “One’s total being” and ‘accept’ as “To receive willingly.” We feel pain, but not willingly. We definitely don’t want to get stuck in pain. On an intellectual level, we willingly understand that pain is a part of life. But on an emotional level, we feel the drive to rid self of pain. Internal conflict leads to feelings of pain, shame and other negative emotions which we seek to eliminate to obtain a state of inner peace. Negative emotions reveal problems.
Actually, I feel more self-accepting when I let go of striving to accept myself!
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. John 14: 27 (emphasis mine)
Learning to rest in His peace,
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