Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘self-acceptance

The Quest for Self-Acceptance, Part 2…

with 9 comments

Folks, I wrote about how damned hard I find the quest for self-acceptance to be a few days ago. But yesterday, I had a very odd experience that I’d like to share with you…and then, I’m going to give you the links to all the other wonderful bloggers who were part of the Collaboration for a Purpose — Self-Love/Acceptance blogging circle. (Yeah, I should’ve done this earlier, but I hope you’ll see why it took me a bit of doing this time.)

Collab with a purpose Self Love

I’d like to set the scene a little bit, if I may.

I was in my car, and it was quite early (for me, at least). I hadn’t had anything to eat yet, and I’d just dropped a family member off for an important appointment. She’d asked me if I could go shopping for her while she was at this appointment, and of course I said yes.

Anyway, I pulled into a parking spot. (No biggie, right? We do this all the time, we with cars.) And another car parked very, very close next to me, so close that I knew if I got out, my door would almost certainly bump the other car a little no matter how hard I tried. (This is partly because I walk with a cane, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t get out of the car easily with that cane nine times out of ten.) And this is exactly what happened, but my car door did not leave a mark of any sort as far as I could tell.

Most people, of course, are forgiving. But I happened to run into the one person in all of Southeastern Wisconsin who just wasn’t…and she was very belligerent and rude.

This woman (a passenger sitting in the car; the driver had already gone into the store) would not let me walk away, would not leave me be, and I just had it…and I ended up having a panic attack, right there in the parking lot.

I am not proud of this.

Yeah, this other woman was horrid. There’s no question about it. But I could not love this person, and I could not love myself either as I couldn’t figure out how to de-escalate the situation other than walking away, which I eventually did. (The woman continued her verbal abuse all the way into the store, mind.)

What I can tell you is that this story has a happy ending of sorts. I found the driver of the car, and she told me it was fine. She even gave me a hug, and she told the passenger (from what I could tell, as I stayed inside the store to keep away from that older woman) to get back in the car and stop it. (Bless her for that, too.)

I know we all have days like this, where Murphy’s Law rules the day and nothing at all seems to go right. But all we can do is try to get past it, and in my case, the way I did this was to talk to a couple of my best friends. They helped me put this into perspective. And they gave me hope that my horrible, no good, very bad day didn’t mean I was a horrible person.

It does make me wonder, though, about context. And about some of the stuff I’ve seen over the years that weren’t good things to do, but perhaps actually would’ve been comprehensible in context…such as parents yelling at their kids in public (something no parent ever wants to do, but sometimes does anyway). It makes me wonder what happened before that point that made it all escalate to the point of yelling.

And if any of these other people actually were having panic episodes, rather than just being downright rude…

Anyway, that’s today’s follow-up regarding the quest for self-acceptance. I will keep working on it, and remind myself that (as a good friend put it), “Your blooper reel is not a fair comparison to someone else’s glamour shot.”

Now, please go see these other lovely people’s blogs, as they’re all worthwhile and interesting in their own right:

Camilla Motte at Moms on the Go

Mylene Orillo

Divyang Shah

Ipuna Black

Manal Ahmad

Sonyo Estavillo

Nicolle K. (Nicolle also created the picture for this round’s Collaboration with a Purpose that you see above, and I think she did a fantabulous job)

Sadaf Siddiqi

Tajwar Fatma (she who started this whole shebang)

Joel A. Scott (he’s new this time around, so make sure to give him a warm welcome!)

Jane Love

Jothish Joseph

Addison D’Marko

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 7, 2017 at 3:47 am

Why Is Self-Acceptance So Damned Hard?

with 30 comments

Folks, this blog is part of Collaboration with a Purpose. This time around, we have fourteen bloggers talking about the difficulties with self-love and acceptance. And as I have a really difficult time talking about that l-word when it comes to the self, I’m going to use the term “self-acceptance” for all of it.

Collab with a purpose Self Love

Why is accepting yourself as you are so damned hard?

Think about it. If someone you know is having a hard time, don’t you reach out and say, “Hey. I care. I am here for you. It doesn’t matter how you screwed up. It doesn’t matter at all. I care, I’m here, and I want to help.”

But you don’t do that for yourself. (At least, most of us don’t.) Instead, we beat ourselves up for our mistakes. Because we’re supposed to be perfect, even though it’s OK if everyone else isn’t.

So why is it that we have such a hard time with self-acceptance, anyway? Why can’t we be as kind to ourselves as we are to others in similar situations?

I don’t know. I’ve pondered this for a long time, actually, but despite that, I still have no answers.

Maybe we’re supposed to struggle with this. Maybe we’re supposed to learn, no matter how slowly, how to see ourselves as others do. Or at least how to learn to forgive ourselves for things we’d forgive anyone else…to appreciate our own humanity, even though that means we will make mistakes, and plenty of them.

And sometimes repeat them, even though we’re working on not doing so, because that’s part of being human, too.

It’s hard to unlearn old habits. And it’s really hard to pick up new ones even after you’ve unlearned the old.

Maybe being upset with ourselves is like that. (Hear me out, OK?) It’s like an old, bad habit. We do something that we get upset with, and we chastise ourselves, all because we’ve criticized ourselves this way since we were small. And we don’t know any better way; maybe we don’t even realize there might be a better way.

But accepting yourself, warts and all, is not easy. It sometimes seems easier to accept your worst enemy than your own self, because you believe you should always be at your best, no excuses, no quarter. Even though anyone else — including your worst enemy — you’d agree with the caveat that everyone has their down times, and that we have to accept them. (That is, if you’re feeling like being kind. And I do hope you are, at least for the purposes of this exercise.)

It’s not easy to say, “All right. I’m still a valuable human being, no matter how many mistakes I’ve made, and no matter how often I’ve made them. I deserve to treat myself with kindness and respect, just like I’d treat anyone else,” because we’re not taught how to do that. We’re taught instead that if we think too much about ourselves, we run the risk of being narcissistic.

Or at least self-absorbed. And no one wants that.

All you can do, every day, is tell yourself that it’s all right to forgive yourself, the same way you’d forgive anyone else for the same thing.

And if it’s too hard to tell yourself, “I care, I’m not going to stop caring, and I am not going to hate you forever for screwing up big-time,” well, at least tell yourself that tomorrow is another day. And you can and will make it better, so stop beating yourself up already.

Self-acceptance is damned hard to achieve, no lie. But it is possible. And you should keep working on it, and figure out a strategy that works for you, so you can put your energy to its best use creating things of wonder and beauty — or at least not waste it beating yourself up.


Written by Barb Caffrey

September 5, 2017 at 12:25 am