I’ve been thinking about acceptance a lot lately. Perhaps this is due to all the reports of bias and prejudice in the news or, simply, because I know this is the topic of my blog this weekend. Either way, I have decided that, if I’m going to speak and share about acceptance, I need to be transparent about my own struggle of self-acceptance over the years.
Now that I am getting familiar with the writing life and being in the social media world, I started questioning myself. Why didn’t I become a writer sooner? Why did I wait so long to take the plunge? Then, I recalled several things. One, I was initially very shy. Two, I did not want to be a journalist or a poet; and so, I confused these with being an essayist or inspirational fiction or nonfiction writer. And, three, I had a lot of food sensitivities that I wasn’t aware of which affected my energy levels and caused brain fog as well as other health issues.
Being shy, I was always hesitant to try new things to follow through on something I might want to try or do. I was afraid of being judged or scolded or even laughed at. It happens. I’ve seen it happen and have been on both sides of that phenomenon. Without meaning to be mean, the kindest person can say the cruelest things without realizing it. Everyone comes from a different place in life. When a friend says they want to have more children because they can’t imagine having only two to someone who could only have one or can’t have any, it can sound pretty harsh and even selfish.
Part of growing as a person, and embracing my life more fully, meant I needed to learn that we all thrive and communicate from a place of self. I had to accept that others do not always think of the other person’s place in life before speaking. I had to toughen up and refuse to be weighted down by words spoken from someone else’s journey. So, I learned to smile and continue the conversation, then digest and process my reaction later, when no one was around to see me cry. Because I love those whom I love deeply, this took awhile to work itself through my neurons. And still, someone’s candidness can take me by surprise from time to time.
From the time I was young, I had been told that I should be a writer. I struggled with this idea. It seemed like so much pressure when I didn’t even know for myself if a writer is what I wanted to be. Being a natural rebel at heart, I refused to research the subject or find a trusted mentor to speak with about it. As I grew older, and realized I needed to support myself with a “real” job, I debated over occupations that didn’t require four years of college, yet which put me in a better place than jobs with night or weekend hours.
I found myself going to bookkeeping school right out of high school and ended up in the clerical administration field for over forty years. It has been a long journey, one in which I constantly struggled whether it was really where I wanted to be. Looking back now, I can see that this journey, in which I often saw myself as taking the easy way out, has really brought me full-circle to being a writer. Thanks to that long-ago choice, which I had questioned as being right for my future, I not only have lots of writing, bookkeeping, desktop publishing, and social media skills that I might not otherwise have, I also have a lot of other skills like self-discipline, customer relations, project organization, and prioritizing.
About three or four years ago, my health was so bad that I couldn’t do much. I couldn’t travel to visit my momma five hours away. I couldn’t stick with a fitness plan at the local gym. I was suffering from what I thought might be the flu or a bronchial infection. After several visits to the doctor in which my x-rays showed “clear as a bell,” I was referred to a food allergist. Low and behold, after several tests, it was discovered that I am allergic or sensitive to thirty plus foods. Today, my list of unsafe foods are well over fifty. But as long as I focus on what I can eat rather than on what I cannot, I am able to function properly throughout my day.
Every day of staying away from foods that make me feel bad brings me closer to a very healthy lifestyle. It is certainly a challenge to stay away from the foods that inhibit my physical and psychological process, but the benefits far outweigh not getting to eat ice cream or pizza every day. Now that I am here, trying my best to eat safely, I am energetic and ambitious. You know, I have never before now used the word, ambitious, in reference to myself before, lol. I know that had I not learned this about myself, become aware of myself as a whole person, I would not be here writing about how I accept who I am – body, mind, spirit, heart, soul, and everything that comes with being uniquely me.
In mulling over what acceptance means to me, I have come to the realization that it means being the new me along with the old me. It means acknowledging that I am basically shy, but that I have come a long way into speaking up for others who need a voice. It means embracing that the career I once thought I had settled for is really the career that is going to carry me successfully into my new writing career. And, it means accepting that I am healthier when I am eating right, getting enough rest, and either starting my day with—or leaving time enough in it—for fitness.
So, how are you accepting yourself? Are you embracing the things you thought you’d settled on as ways that now complete who you are today? Are you acknowledging that one irritating character trait as something positive in your life? What are you doing to accept the things that you want to change in yourself or life but don’t know how to change?
In my experience, research is a good place to start. A good book. A reliable website. A trusted mentor who can point you in the right direction. And, even perhaps, stumbling on the answer by accident. Let us be open to change. Let us embrace the possibilities. Let’s trust that our higher power or inner voice will show us the way. Accepting oneself starts with being gentle with oneself, offering kindness and forgiveness…and love…to this very unique self.
Tune in next time for more on Acceptance. That’s, usually, the third or fourth Sunday of each month. The focus will be the opposite of today’s post: when being too accepting is not good.
Next week, my post will be continue on Integrity, with a spotlight on little white lies, and a new one – the necessary lie. Sounds interesting, right?
Of course, I cannot leave you without mentioning my book, “HONOR ONE ANOTHER: The ABCs of Embracing Our Spirit Within.” It’s a nonfiction, inspirational, easy-to-read, feel-good kind of book, and is a culmination of all my little stops on the journey of life. I hope you will be moved to check it out. You can find it on my Books page, by visiting my Amazon author page at: amazon.com/author/virginia.alice.crawford, and it is even now available on Barnes & Noble.