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Reflections: Acceptance & Our Happiness Quotient…

23/04/2012

“No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance.” Robert Holden, Ph.D.

Reflections: Acceptance & Our Happiness Quotient…


TED Talk: Michael Norton: How to buy happiness

Robert’s thought for the day: Without acceptance, anger will enrage you. Without acceptance, guilt will shame you. Without acceptance, anxiety will torment you. Without acceptance, sadness will depress you. Without acceptance, loneliness will isolate you. Without acceptance, love cannot love you.

“There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout: This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me… or leave me. Accept me – or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don’t fit your idea of who I should be and don’t try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision. When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad – you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you.” Stacey Charter

If you have ever struggled with self-acceptance, you know that it is a state of mind that is in constant flux. One day we are happy and at peace, and then, the next day the anxieties and insecurities surface… I was reading Robert Holden of Shift Happens Daily Inspiration today, and the message he shared was so powerful that I had to post on it. Until we accept ourselves for who and what we are, the healing and happiness that is rightfully ours to enjoy will not flourish. As I looked for ways to write this post, I came across Stacey’s statement; equally powerful.

Part of our struggle with self-acceptance comes from cultural expectations that limit individual movement, behavior and/or definitions of beauty.  Why are some of us happier than others? Why is Denmark the happiest country in the world?  In the research conducted by WorldValuesSurvey.org, they found that “the extent to which a society allows free choice has a major impact on happiness.”  When we are not being judged about our choices, we are more accepting of who we are and our limitations. Where are you on that conversation of self acceptance? Do you see your life as abundant and fulfilling? Oprah offers a tool to help us see where we are. Take the Abundance Test. Try it.

“As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.” Oprah Winfrey

Reflections: Acceptance & Our Happiness Quotient… Acceptance first.

The work ethic conditions you to believe you have to earn happiness. The suffering ethic teaches you that you have to deserve happiness. The martyr ethic insists you have to pay for happiness. The miracle ethic gently reminds you that happiness is free—there are no conditions. Robert Holden

Do you have a martyr ethic? What about a miracle ethic? How does our choice impact our ability to accept ourselves and move our lives forward? When I was preparing this post, I looked in my files and found that I’ve written on this subject before… more than once.  Accept Your Own Beauty and Appreciating Our Bodies & Ourselves tackle the subject of how our happiness is tied to our perceptions of ourselves… I come back to it again because I speak to young women and older ones who are torn by their body image and are miserable because of it… Is that what happiness is? Not entirely. However, if we are constantly nitpicking our way through life and at how we look, our happiness quotient is reduced significantly. There is a level of peace that comes with self-acceptance and happiness has a home there too.  Here’s another Oprah offering: Take  The Happiness Test to find out… More below. ;-)

“Acceptance and tolerance and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons.” Jessica Lange

Reflections: Acceptance & Our Happiness Quotient… Sing the Acceptance song

When you try to play the martyr, you lose and so does everyone else. Your giving becomes more and more conditional, full of hidden emotional invoices that must be returned within 28 days, hours, minutes, seconds . . .
The key to unconditional happiness is to let go of the belief that happiness has to be deserved. When you really know this to be true, you will no longer feel guilty about being happy.  Robert Holden

What sacrifices are you making in your life and why? When I was growing up, I observed that some of the women in my community spent a lot of time taking care of others, doing all the grunt work, and never taking care of themselves. Of course, everyone spoke highly of these women because they were self-sacrificing, and living up to an imaginary ideal that even they knew they would never fully attain. On the surface, their behavior was admirable. But, on closer examination, it was tragic. They were not happy women. They were not free.

Probably, their happiness quotient was non-existent because they sacrificed everything including themselves; sometimes with tragic consequences. It is one thing to serve and care for others, but it shouldn’t be to the detriment of our own health and mental state. Truth is that if we don’t find time to nurture our spirit, rest, rejuvenate our body and mind, accept ourselves lovingly, then we are serving others with half a tank… We all need to be nourished and refueled… Are you balancing your service to others with service to yourself? Here’s another one from Oprah: Take The Sacrifice Test

When we spend time nurturing ourselves, and freely pursuing our interests while nurturing those around us, our happiness tank is full. First, we must accept that we are okay and what we do is necessary for our survival. What are your thoughts? Have you accepted who you are? Are you happy most of the time? How have you handled your struggles? Do you love who you are as you are? What sacrifices are you making in your life and why? Do share! Thank you. ;-)

*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs and commenting… Thank you all for your patience! :-)

Positive Motivation Tip: Wherever you are, whatever you do, your happiness begins with accepting you as you…

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All photos Happy Words, Acceptance Song, via Wikipedia and/or Acceptance not Tolerance by Juan Manuel Cruz del Cueto via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

59 Comments leave one →
  1. teekay16 permalink
    24/04/2012 1:28 am

    Brilliant. You set the standards for how others treat you. If you don’t love yourself then nobody else will. You are worthy and deserving of love and respect. Never settle for anything less or you will live happily NEVER after!

    • 24/04/2012 7:30 pm

      Well said… I love the last line… Never settle for anything less or you will live happily NEVER after! TY! :-)

  2. 24/04/2012 2:32 am

    Acceptance really is the answer to most ailments. When we have any negative emotion and we turn our mind to acceptance, we can bring ourselves back to calmness. It brings a great sense of relief.

    • 24/04/2012 7:31 pm

      It does bring a sense of relief… Totally! I’m glad you brought up the health aspect of it… excellent! TY!;-)

  3. Bree permalink
    24/04/2012 2:38 am

    This is a great message for all of us. Acceptance is integral to self love and without it, we don’t grow.
    B

    • 01/05/2012 5:47 pm

      I concur! Self love is important if we want to grow and move on with our lives. TY! ;-)

  4. 24/04/2012 4:08 am

    That first quote is right on target. Great post, Elizabeth!

  5. 24/04/2012 5:46 am

    I really, really like this – thank you – it’s so helpful!

  6. 24/04/2012 6:55 am

    would be great lyrics for a soul song:

    Wherever you are,
    whatever you do,

    your happiness begins with ac-
    cepting you as you…

    • 24/04/2012 12:30 pm

      Write the song and share it with us… I know you can do it Frizz! TY :-)

  7. 24/04/2012 8:36 am

    I took the abundance test and it was amazingly accurate. Thanks for sharing.

    • 01/05/2012 5:48 pm

      TY and I’m glad it confirmed what you already knew. ;-)

  8. 24/04/2012 10:19 am

    Took the tests…not surprising…quite true of myself …Great post as usual…Do you ever get tired of hearing that??? I hope not! ~mkg

    • 24/04/2012 11:59 am

      TY Marilyn! I had a good laugh when I read your comment … and then I panicked. :lol:
      Seriously, I like the Hollywood line, “You are as good as your last movie.” Each day I come to a post, I start afresh; I struggle, over-analyze, pray, make my share of typos, and then move on to the next writing exercise. I appreciate the compliments, but I know there is still a lot for me to learn as a writer. Thank you! :-).

  9. 24/04/2012 1:10 pm

    Love the Holden quote, so very true!

  10. 24/04/2012 1:18 pm

    These are such important issues. We really need to accept ourselves because otherwise we won’t bring our uniqueness to the world – and that’s all we really have. As for sacrifice – I think it is essential but it has to be knowing and purposeful not just scared and lacking in the courage to move forward. If you freely decide to ‘serve’ others in some way that is wonderful – if you are coerced – in any way – that is slavery.

    • 01/05/2012 5:52 pm

      Exactly… You are on point; coercion is the wrong approach. TY! :-)

  11. Jackie Paulson permalink
    24/04/2012 1:32 pm

    I hate stereotyping people, and you did set the standards; treat others as how we also want to be treated, the 10 commandments is right! I need to accept my cystic acne and heal…I am in my 2nd appt and 2nd month to a new dr and treatments..pray for me Eliz…thanks Jackie

    • 24/04/2012 5:36 pm

      Jackie, which I accept the commandment had the best intentions, it leads to problems. We need to look at treating people how THEY expect to be treated, not how WE want to be treated. Cultural Intelligence is, I admit, a soap box of mine, but given the many, many cultural differences in the world, if we treat others how we expect to be treated, we often insult or misunderstand others totally.

      A simple example is looking people in the eyes. In western countries we demand our children look us in the eyes if they are being reprimanded. In other cultures, this would be the height of disrespect.

      • 25/04/2012 3:14 am

        That is a really valuable observation. Food for thought. Great comment.

      • 25/04/2012 3:16 am

        Thank you. Cultural Intelligence is of great interest to me.

      • 01/05/2012 6:17 pm

        True Robin but until we connect and communicate with others, we can’t even begin to know how they want/expect to be treated. The message of the ten commandments is about loving and respecting our neighbors as we do ourselves. There has to be a foundation of respect before anything else can happen. Cultural intelligence is important I agree, but sadly, it cannot happen in a vacuum. We have to be sincere about learning from other cultures and empathy is a big part of it. So the commandments are on point here. If people don’t respect other cultures, or take the time to learn the correct pronunciation of a name, or even time to learn facts not stereotypical garbage about other countries and people, they won’t understand or care that X matters to person B…

    • 24/04/2012 7:28 pm

      Sending healing light and prayers your way Jackie… God is good, all the time.

    • 25/04/2012 3:22 am

      Jackie, you might find Carly’s writing of interest. Carly also has a skin condition and she writes brilliantly. http://www.carlyfindlay.com/

      • 01/05/2012 6:27 pm

        I checked out her site. She’s terrific! ;-)

      • 01/05/2012 7:26 pm

        Elizabeth, she is also of mixed ethnicity – her parents moved to Australia to escape persecution in South Africa.

      • 01/05/2012 7:31 pm

        Wow! Very interesting background. Will visit her again. TY!

    • 01/05/2012 6:11 pm

      I hear you… yes treating others with respect and a sensitivity is important..

  12. 24/04/2012 3:04 pm

    What an awesome quote by Robert Holden! I’ve never heard it. I could have used this when teaching crazy teenagers…but I’m sure I’ll find use for it in the future ;)

    • 24/04/2012 7:29 pm

      Please go ahead and use it… It delves deep into the subject. ;-)

  13. 24/04/2012 5:13 pm

    Eliz…this is such a wonderfully written piece.
    It’s so appropriate for so many of us. I’ve been there. And there are days I’m back again. Women are often the nurturers and don’t take the time to nurture themselves.
    I love Stacey Charters’ quote. So true.
    Thanks for this great post.

    • 24/04/2012 7:29 pm

      Ty Judy, Stacey’s piece jumped at me… so raw, so true. TY!

  14. 24/04/2012 5:33 pm

    I do think acceptance comes with age. Also the strength to be just who we are. Lovely perspective.

    • 01/05/2012 6:29 pm

      TY and yes, age helps many of us adjust to the reality of our limitations… :lol:or keep fighting against gravity.

  15. 24/04/2012 6:35 pm

    I did not learn this valuable lesson until I was 38, at which time I came out of the closet. I’ve now been with my other half for 17 years and 11 months, all because I decided to accept myself for who I am.

    • 25/04/2012 3:16 am

      Powerful lesson right there. Accepting who we are.

      • 01/05/2012 6:29 pm

        Right Stuart… self acceptance is key. TY! :-)

    • 30/04/2012 2:28 am

      Kudos to you for taking a stand to honor yourself… It begins with us and then others can come on board or mosey on… We have to accept ourselves first and I’m proud of you for it. TY for sharing! ;-)

  16. 24/04/2012 6:56 pm

    Acceptance is key.
    Thank you for the great post!

  17. 24/04/2012 9:30 pm

    “Truth is that if we don’t find time to nurture our spirit, rest, rejuvenate our body and mind, accept ourselves lovingly, then we are serving others with half a tank… ” Love this, Elizabeth! Perfect as I finally get back to checking in with favorite bloggers. Hope you’re getting the rest and rejuvenation you need as well. Cheers!

    • 24/04/2012 9:52 pm

      Glad to see you here… I’m so behind on commenting and still must stop by. Rest? I need to take the advice myself. TY! ;-)

  18. 25/04/2012 3:07 am

    Ageing has bought acceptance and liberation, and the confidence to not worry a whole lot about what others might think of me. Enjoyable post, Elizabeth :)

  19. 25/04/2012 10:25 pm

    I wish we could bottle a shortcut to acceptance and feed it to our young people…unfortunately, it’s usually only approximated over the decades. If we are fortunate to have long lives, we seem to get there eventually. I hope I can help my younger family members find it sooner than I did! But I don’t know if that’s possible. This was a great post, Elizabeth. Debra

    • 01/05/2012 6:31 pm

      I feel the same way… but perhaps that is why wisdom takes time, experience and reflection. TY! :-)

  20. 25/04/2012 10:53 pm

    Hi Elizabeth..Slightly off topic but was the only found way to post to you. Anyway, You are so supportive and encouraging that I have chosen you to receive a gift! You can find it here at:

    http://mybyeworld.com/2012/04/26/liebster_blog_award

    You are very deserving and I hope that you like it! :-)

    • 26/04/2012 12:20 am

      TY for your generous gift Imogen! I’ll stop by over the weekend or sooner to thank you again. I’m in the middle of a rigorous workshop. Blessings!

  21. 03/05/2012 11:39 am

    We cannot possibly extend all the compassion and gentleness and supportive care to others if we are not giving those things to ourselves!

    • 02/08/2012 3:30 am

      True… Self acceptance, like change, must begin with us… :-)

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