Self Acceptance Vs. Self Approval
I've been an unwitting germ taxi this past week -- just sprinkling toxicity and glitter wherever I go! Because I felt like literal crap (EDIT: and because I went on a magical vision quest after I started this post that I'll tell you all about at a slightly later date. Like tomorrow.), it wasn't an ideal week to relaunch a sustainable writing practice. Mind you: I'm simultaneously attempting to clean up my other self care habits, and wipe out my overscheduled/laughably unsustainable/rosé-fueled social calendar so that my brain is better prepared to show up for me when I need her. Life overhauls are jarring enough when I'm healthy, and I'm an all or nothing kinda gal, so I've been a teeny bit down on myself for not having cranked out 300 single spaced pages of utter genius over the course of the past five days. And that lack of immediate followthrough and resulting ennui is me in a nutshell... because I'm a nut... OK?!?!?!?!?
When my own thoughts are shrouded in snot and melancholy (sorry), it usually helps me to read other peoples' thoughts, so I've been reveling in some Louise Hay. Louise's meditations have helped me intermittently throughout life, e.g. "I now choose calmly and objectively to see my old patterns, and I am willing to make changes. I am teachable. I can learn. I am willing to change. I choose to have fun doing this..." Louise also claims that masturbation cures migraines. You get to choose your own adventure with old Louise! Anyway, on the less jarring end of Ms. Hay's advice spectrum is the idea that we need to approve of ourselves. Rather than simply accept ourselves, we need to say "I approve of myself" about 400 times a day.
I accept all sorts of things I'm not wild about: I accept that Donald Trump is running for president. I accept that life is rife with broken systems -- I can always consider changing my reaction to misogyny and media-fueled self loathing, but I accept that some omnipresent societal scree ain't going anywhere and learning to gracefully and productively respond is all we can do. Note: I do not accept senseless violence. That one has to change.
But approval is different. Approval implies that you accept and condone the thing in question. And when it comes to self approval... it's easy to argue with the statement "I approve of myself.". Bullshit, right? How can you possibly approve of all your bad habits, wack priorities, etc.? How can you approve of the way you look and feel when you're hungover or rocking some stress pimples or bemoaning the uneven bangs you hacked across your forehead while under the influence?
The answer is this: you approve of your questionable decisions and their results because you know in your beautiful gut that everything, all of it, is part of your becoming, and that in some way you don't yet understand, it all serves your highest good. Maybe you can straight up believe that from the get go, or maybe you can use the past for reference; e.g. I had an eating disorder for 10 years that ultimately made me a healthier, more open, more relatable human and writer with something to say. All of the torment and nausea of that life epoch was not for naught, and so, too, all the angst... and stress pimples and uneven bangs... are part of something bigger. They're hideous and they're here for you, girl.
When you acknowledge that it all adds up to something eventually, it's easier to say "I approve of myself.", and mean it.
So say it like you mean it!...,