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Client story: "I don't know if I'm strong enough to handle this," said Sylvia, as she told me about her husband's affair. "Who you think you are isn't strong enough to handle this situation," I said. "But who you really are, is."
Lesson: People who practice self-acceptance are radically honest with themselves. They are willing to be accountable for their part in every situation. They do not hide behind blame, excuses or any other defense mechanisms, because instinctively they know that the truth of who they are is strong enough to face everything. Self-acceptance reveals your inner strengths, and though it sounds counterintuitive, some of these strengths can include being vulnerable, owning your sensitivity, being less independent, listening to feedback, asking for help and opening your heart.
Self-acceptance encourages you to accept your limitations. Without self-acceptance, you see limitations as obstacles; with self-acceptance, you see limitations as opportunities. For example, if you can accept that you aren't strong enough to do something by yourself, an opportunity presents itself for you to receive extra help and inspiration. You free yourself up, see yourself differently and discover a source of strength that is far greater than that of your ego.
Exercise: Self-acceptance gives you a natural confidence that helps you to cultivate your God-given talents and express the bigness of your heart. Paradoxically, the more you practice your self-acceptance, the less your life is "all about me" and the more you open your heart to the world.
Identify five of your most natural strengths and talents. Be honest. Be specific. Don't shrink. Ask a friend for some help if you want some objectivity. Next, score from zero to 100 percent, how much you are using each of these in your life right now. Then, imagine how good your life could get if you committed to these innate strengths and talents more fully.
Next: Finding where you are