Sometimes I think I’m the worst person in the world to talk about self love and self acceptance. My inner analyzer/judge/critic is so strong. But I’m seeing that’s precisely the reason why I’m just the person to speak about self love and acceptance. It’s the thing that’s hardest for me, the thing I most want to learn. And I know that I am not alone.

In the spirit of accepting my wholeness, I want to acknowledge that my thoughts are at best scattered around this subject. So rather than pretend that I have a cohesive essay, or wait weeks until one appears on the page, I’m going to give you what I have now: brief vignettes organized in bullet points. Knowingness that comes from bursts of sunlight, jagged tears at my heart, and running into walls and recovering.

Here’s what I’ve captured so far:

When I remember to tap into it, there’s an audible voice in the shadows of the inner critic that says: “You are amazing. You are absolutely amazing. You are doing so well in life. We are so proud of you, so in awe of your courage, you willingness to be vulnerable, to step into hard places and be uncomfortable. We love how you keep finding places and ways to love BIG.

A friend wrote ‘Big Love’ on a slip of paper as a housewarming wish for me, and I put in on my altar. I want to walk in a world of Big Love, the love my inner critic is ruling out, not seeing because of fear. The voice of self acceptance whispers “Yes your love is boundless, you are an uplifter with a pure desire to give and receive love.”

Once at a yoga teacher training where I was a participant, a woman named Sharon said something that woke me up out of a fog. “Now that I know I’m more than what I do, mistakes are starting to become fun.” She laughed as she spoke. If I am not the things I do, the actions I take, the people I know, then who am I? As I recognize that I am so much more than the sum of my parts, I am free to embrace a wholeness so sweet, it unlocks the door to the prison of judgment. Whether I stay inside that prison or walk free, I meet myself more often with ease because I know that I have the choice to accept myself no matter what I do.

I accept myself because only I can. Only I have the power to experience the fullness of my being from the inside out. Only I can directly encounter the wholeness and beauty of what it means to inhabit this existence called ‘me.’

Self love and self acceptance is about saying yes to all of who I am. Accepting the part of me that’s human and the part of that I am divine. It is seeing the two as One. It is removing the blame, shame, guilt, and doubt that gives evidence for why I am not acceptable, loveable or worthy of what I want.

Deep down we all want to be chosen. We’re programmed through conditioning to believe that means when someone outside of me chooses me then I become acceptable or good. But my direct experience teaches me that continually seeking acceptance from others is never as satisfying as those precious moments when I remember that I can choose myself and that is enough. The teacher Byron Katie says, “Spare yourself from seeking love, approval, or appreciation—from anyone. And watch what happens in reality, just for fun.” The secret is to choose yourself first, to accept yourself first. From there all else follows.

Take a few slow, deep belly breaths. Let these words sink in. Take the next 10-15 minutes to sit, move, or write on behalf of yourselves, all the quirky and interesting and boring parts inside. I offer you the following mantra of affirmation: I choose me. I accept me. I love me. It’s likely that all the voices that disagree with this will come up. See if you can hear them, maybe even welcome them in, knowing that they too are a part of this thing called you.

Copyright 2008. Beandrea Davis. Please check with me before reprinting.