I'm regularly torn between loving the idea of self-acceptance and it's other expressions like body positivity, self-confidence and 'just being yourself' - and being rather bored with them. While it's fantastic to be feeling great in one's own skin, feeling confident and self-assured, I instantly wonder 'Where is the growth? Where is the improvement? How can I accept myself AND strive to be a better version of myself?'
That's where the dance comes in.
I believe the art lies in accepting oneself as being in the right place on the journey. That means I'm not looking at myself thinking I should be better, wiser, fitter, more advanced in my career, with better relationships and more money NOW. I am perfectly in the right place, have done everything I could at any given time in the past to get me to HERE. And being proud and excited about this person I am, here, now. Proud of all the things I have overcome, grateful for all the obstacles and difficulties along the way that have caused me to grow into THIS.
AND, at the same time, cultivating EVEN MORE pride and excitement about what lies ahead - about the person that I am choosing to become. Being crazy excited about that person in the (near or far) future that is going to be as fit and healthy as I want them to be, enjoy the amazing relationships I want them to have, live the lifestyle I decide I want to live, be surrounded by the amazing community of friends and mentors I haven't yet met, have the success I am striving to have - all of that without an ounce of frustration or resentment or guilt or shame for not having any of these things YET.
Being able to hold those two excitements in my mind, heart and body simultaneously is where self-acceptance really begins. Where I am accepting not only who I AM now, but also accepting the creative, growing, forever learning and evolving being that is also me.
Consider writing these two stories:
The story of being in the right place. Write about the journey that has brought you to the now. Write about the gratitude you feel for the storms you have weathered, the pressures which have shaped you, the moments where you failed yourself so you could learn about who you do not want to be. Write about your own hero's journey and notice how none of you would be what you are now without having encountered those tests and trials and those worthy opponents along the way. There couldn't be a hero without a villain, no hero without a challenge.
The story of the future. Write about all the things you are still to experience and have in your life, the person you will become as you move forward on your earthly journey. What kind of hero are you going to be in the future? What are you going to be, have, feel, experience? Who are you going to encounter, how will they relate? Indulge your creativity to write about your best life - the beauty about the future is that you get to create it. Use the inner resources you have already obtained - and write into existence all the ones that are yet to come.
And then, allow yourself to be excited about both.