I have recently been inspired by author, researcher, professor, speaker and storyteller Brené Brown. If you’re not familiar with her work, check out the video below, it’s SO worth your time!
From her website:
Brené Brown has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She poses the questions:
How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?
I have made a pledge to myself to attempt to live authentically. To me that means allowing myself to be who I am, honoring my strengths as well as my imperfections.
I had a difficult time with this concept at first; I thought that embracing my imperfections meant becoming complacent. I’ve always felt that to be a ‘better’ person that I needed to fight my flaws, overcome them and strive for some ideal of perfection. That until I’d conquered all of my fears and inadequacies that I couldn’t be happy with myself.
I’m realizing that the opposite is true; that worthiness and true love of self (and thereby love of others) comes from acceptance. And acceptance is not the same thing as apathy.
For example, I can accept that I may never have the body of a supermodel but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to sit down and gorge myself on a dozen donuts and give up trying to lose weight (although I admit that a donut splurge does happen from time to time). It means that I set realistic goals and celebrate my successes. It means that my motivation becomes internal instead of external, that I’m no longer working out to try to achieve some unrealistic goal set by the airbrushed model on Vogue magazine. I’m exercising to feel good and to be healthy and if I happen to drop a jean size or two in the process then yay me!
Embracing the fact that I am not perfect, will never be perfect and in all honesty have no desire to be so doesn’t mean that I’m just going to sit back on my butt and give up on self-improvement. It means that I’m happy for even the smallest of personal victories and that I’m free to revel in the joy of life rather than enslave myself to it.
“Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there’s all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens”. ~ Arthur Gordon