I posted a graphic on Facebook today produced by the "F**K IT" guys (who I love) that said: "A fantastic side effect of accepting yourself for whoever you are; you start accepting other people for who they too". Shortly after I'd posted it one of my favourite people, a guy I've been friends with for 30 years, posted this reply: "Doormat philosophy of acceptance. This is how the ruling elite keep you in your place, by making you accept. To retard a person's development is fascist! I want to be better than who I am. Is that wrong to want to change?"
My reply to him seemed like something I wanted to talk about more and expand upon, so I've reposted it here because I feel as if it ties in well with the ethos of Radical Honesty and is a big part of why I feel self-acceptance is the first step towards living a life of telling the truth. Saying I accept myself as who I am is not the same as saying I don't want to improve or change. I actually believe that personal growth and change is only possible if you're in a place where you're happy with who you are as a person (not what you've achieved, that's something else). Growth because I believe I'm 'not good enough' is a losing battle. If I believe I'm not good enough then the chances are I will never believe I am good enough, so growth will be less a search for meaning and more a desperate attempt to attain something I will always feel is out of my reach. Self-acceptance is a solid platform from which I can move forward towards our goals, not something I settle for or saddle myself with. The father of Person-Centred Therapy Carl Rogers put it very succinctly: "The foundation of insight seems to be the emotional acceptance of self". I feel that insight and understanding of oneself is a key requirement for personal growth. I wouldn't attempt to improve the performance of a car unless I understood how an engine worked in the first place, so how can I expect to build on myself as a human beings without fully understanding and accepting the fundamental structure of who I am. Once I have that 'Haynes Manual' of the self and can see how everything had or has its purpose, I can see where and how to make changes.
When pressed, we probably can all offer some kind of insight into why we behave the way we do, but accepting responsibility for own own actions and owning the thoughts and feelings we have is to take a big step towards self-acceptance and so towards affecting change in ourselves.