“When we accept our inherent beauty, we find the courage to examine what makes us beautiful- to honestly encounter both the good and bad, the shadow and the light.” -Christopher Heuertz
Acceptance Defined: The action of being received as adequate, or suitable, to receive or undertake something offered.
Why is self acceptance so hard? Why do we often care more about what other’s think of us than what we think of ourselves? The shadows of our character and the light of our character makes us equal parts of a whole … a beautiful, whole person. I think we push the “light” we see in ourselves to the forefront without paying mind to the actual balance that the shadows bring. We do this because we care more about how other’s perceive and receive us and ultimately accept us. We make the shadows super small hoping no one will catch a glimpse of them. We jam them way down deep.
It’s uncomfortable to admit that I have an eating disorder. It’s uncomfortable to have put it out there so vulnerably. I’m not even completely recovered. I continue to struggle mentally every day. Most people think they know what an eating disorder looks like. The reality is ED’s come in all shapes and sizes and cross every demographic. It’s the number one cause of death in mental health related issues in women though they are present in men and women alike. It’s not the result of simply vanity. There are a myriad of triggers that are different for each individual.
I now strive to be healthy and whole and accepting of who I am, but honestly it’s really hard. I find great comfort in idealizing a certain body weight and physique and then presenting that to you however I think I can manage that. I’ve thought if I could secure an image of myself I’d also secure your acceptance of me. I’m so over that. I’m not entirely sure how, but the scales have tipped these days. God has broken into my facade and now I somehow care more about accepting myself- the shadows and the light- than I do of your opinion of me. I care more about being on the exact page of my story than turning the page so that you can stomach me better. This is a brutal reality. It’s brutal because it means looking in the mirror and seeing the whole picture for what it is. It means admitting, as a 40 year old woman, that I still struggle with equal parts confidence and equal parts insecurity. It means owning up to the light and the dark.
Courage to be where we are is the best friend we never knew we had. I’m so inherently tired of the feeling that we have to be more than who we actually are at any given moment. Let’s work on admitting and accepting that we are both broken and weak and strong and courageous and yet searching all at the same time. We all have super deep dark stuff and we have particles of blinding light that shows up every day.
The reason I’ve raised my hand to say that I’m struggling is simply because I want to offer you permission to do the same. I want to blow away the facade that everything is okay so long as you look the part. No, you don’t need to start a blog, or tell the world your deep dark, but you can raise your hand in the privacy of your own home. You can stand in the mirror and accept the whole picture. You can face yourself and admit readily that you’re a compilation of light and dark…. and that’s 100%, entirely ok. Honesty has always been the best policy. Mercy and grace and CHANGE are on the other side of honest reflection.