A Gentle Path to Change is Accept Where You Are
A Gentle Path to Change
Accept Where You Are
… and who you are.
by Jaminie Hilton, RCC
Do you look for your strengths? Or only criticize your “faults”?
“Look and you will find it – what is unsought will go undetected.”
You are you for a reason. Or many reasons. If you know the reasons, give yourself credit for insight. If you know some of the reasons, award yourself with another mental way to go. If you have no idea why, what contributed to the building blocks that make up You, there is most likely a reason for that as well. Indulge in some time to think about it, talk to someone compassionate about it. You can be that compassionate person. Or someone else.
What would you like to change?
Have you tolerated a boring or unpleasant job? Workplace bullying?
Are you tempted to judge yourself as weak? Or notice your stamina? Notice how different it feels if you think one, or the other of those descriptions. You kept that job for a reason. Maybe you’re still working there. You have discipline and you understand the practicalities of life. You possess patience, and the wisdom to not do anything precipitous that could make your life harder. It will be easier to form a strategy, to find the courage to job hunt with that in your thoughts. Allow yourself to at least think about what you would be happy doing.
Would you like to have more people in your life? More friends. More of a social life?
Instead of seeing yourself as a shy introvert who is afraid of meeting new people, think about who you are beyond that shyness. No need to compare yourself to someone else you think is stronger because they find talking to strangers easy. Are you sensitive? A deep thinker? Are you understanding with others because you have spent time with yourself? If you weren’t conditioned to feel confident, find that faith in yourself by searching for who you are.
This isn’t simply a Pollyanna-putting-a-positive-spin-on-things. It’s about true acceptance. Value your shyness. Don’t try to do something with it. It’s okay to be shy. It’s ok to be whoever you are, whatever you are.
It’s currently accepted practise to bring up children with more praise, and equally important, more acceptance, than criticism. Treat yourself the same way.
People who love animals, and who train them, know that affection, treats and loving words are the effective tools for teaching.
Do you find yourself using harsh language with your own lack of proficiency at a new skill? It’s new. How can you learn without giving yourself a reason to believe you can learn this, do this. You’re learning a new skill, it takes time and patience. Why be less kind to yourself than you might be with a child, or a beloved pet?
You’ve decided to exercise. This is new for you. It makes you nervous. Are you getting ready to criticize yourself for being nervous? Just notice it. Take deep breaths. No judgement is needed. You research community centres, or fitness centres, or gyms. That’s a second step. If you make a phone call, or look on the internet, that’s a third step.
You decide to play a sport, enrol in a stretch class, or yoga. Join a walking group.
You could criticize yourself for waiting so long to do this, feeling so out of shape. You see? You hammer away at your confidence. You think about how much easier it would be if you’d done this months ago, or years ago, or always. Why didn’t you? There’s a reason.
Excuse, or reason?
The difference between an excuse and a reason. This is my definition. An excuse is something you say, to yourself and/or others to give yourself permission to avoid, to keep from doing something you believe you should do. A reason is: Why haven’t you done this yet? Are there good and bad reasons? I say, no. Just reasons. Accept that you were doing the best you could, and now you’re creating the opportunity to do at least one thing differently.
Jaminie Hilton is a Registered Clinical Counsellor in private practise in Vancouver working with adults, couples, and children aged nine and up. Her focus is on guiding clients to connect with their strengths, and to gain tools to help them live with fewer fears and more happiness.
Jaminie has worked in a variety of settings including crisis centres, drug and alcohol programs, and Family Services in Vancouver. She has taught personal development classes and facilitated hundreds of groups.
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