Encountering Your Inner Child

The Acceptance Journey is filled with numerous paradoxes. One of them is to welcome vulnerability in your life. Not to shun it or hide it, but to simply embrace it because it is your inner child. Everyone has a soft spot in their lives. Everyone has a fresh and open wound that may have been unattended or neglected over the years. Everyone has a child within themselves. My inner child is a shy, stubborn one who wants to run and hide. This inner child, as everyone’s inner child, needs to be embraced. Embracing our vulnerable selves, we can experience freedom as a kiss to our wounds. And yet the moment of vulnerability does not actually feel as poetic or as riveting as I am making it seem to be. I am no expert on vulnerability, but I suppose that with continually letting yourself be vulnerable, you will get used to being vulnerable—not in a submissive manner, but as a welcomed guest in your heart. You might not even mind it if you seem vulnerable to others. As novices in the Acceptance Journey, the taste of freedom comes after the awkward embrace of vulnerability or at the end of the day when we remember that difficult challenge that revealed to others our weaknesses, or even a week later when we see that someone else is going through a similar situation and we are there to comfort them.

The Acceptance Journey entails accepting everything and not just some parts of ourselves. Accepting our favorite and not-so favorite parts of ourselves. Acceptance entails a constant loving embrace of whatever we hide or shun about ourselves. And, as hard as it is, encountering the child within us.

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All of Me is Invited

This is what happens when Midterms sneak up on you: making time to blog becomes much more challenging than it already is.

I’m glad to be back and I hope that my time away has not veered us off to a different journey.

I’m still here. And it hasn’t been easy at all. But we’ve talked about that in every blog post.

This time we’ll talk about how important it is to simply stop and turn around to the person you were yesterday. To the person you are trying to get better than.

And when you look back at him or her, say hello and love that person.

The hiatus moment from blogging helped me to realize how focused I was on the “Me” that I want to fully accept that, a part of me did not want to look at the person I was prior to the Journey of Acceptance. I did not want to remember her terrible mistakes and foibles. If I just focus on the “me” that is right now, then I can continue on this semi-awesome adventure. But…

Moving forward does not only entail the Present Moment of Myself, but also every single “Me” that has led to the Present Moment of Myself. That means the person you were 10 years ago must be welcomed in the Acceptance Journey. If I don’t take her with me, then I am only “accepting” parts of me—which is overly selective. Who am I to say which parts of me have the right to experience Acceptance? “All of me” has a right! Even the part of me who has done terrible mistakes and foibles—she is welcomed here with me. And I can learn from her. I can gain wisdom from her. And I can grow in compassion for her—which was me in the past.

Whoever we were, they deserve attention and love. They deserve healing and they deserve every bit of the journey that we are in. They have a right to experience Acceptance. Unconditionally.

The more welcoming we are to our whole entire self, the farther we can walk into this path.

We can’t ignore ourselves. Say hello and make that decision to love that person you were yesterday.

 

Remember Thy Self

It matters who you are with.

People will discourage you.

This is one of the ill-tasting parts of the Acceptance Journey.

In a world where vulnerability is feared, the one who embraces it is entering into a dangerous territory in which he or she will be judged as a fool.

(Am I too soon to bring this up? If so, no reason to turn around. The Journey has begun and we are doing just fine.)

However, it is only “dangerous territory” if we do not know ourselves well enough in the moment of discouragement.

And if we do not have people who know us as we really are.

“Know thy self” is a powerful tool in this journey and it dovetails with the earlier blog posts on Awareness.

Discouragement is guaranteed and cross-fingered promised. If you are embracing something about yourself that you have hidden or half-hidden, then you are giving others the permission to see you—the permission to accept you or reject you, the permission to agree or disagree with you, the permission to love you or like you.

You were on the top, but after being naked, you come down to a lower spot. No longer seen as you were seen before. All of a sudden, you look different. To the ones who run away from vulnerability, you will look like a pauper. To the ones who are on the same journey as you are or are hopeful to start the journey, you will look radiant. It matters who you are with. You need a reminder that there is nothing wrong with embracing your imperfections. You need a reminder because you will forget the joy that awaits you. And, you will, especially, forget the reason you decided to embark on this journey.

Know thy self. And…remember thy self.

And who can remind you when you forget?

 

 

I Am v. I Should [be]

My life—our lives—are fingerprinted with “should’s” and “shouldn’t.”

I have an ideal picture of how I should look, talk, and even interact with people. You have an ideal picture of how you should [Fill in the Blank].

In other words, we are so darn creative that we invent a world of “this is how I should be” or “this is how things should be.” And then, subconsciously, we do not realize that we are chasing a made-up world.

We are sneaky children in disguise. Sneaky because we think that we are winning in this no-fun game.

Language is interesting. Words shape our experiences and they generate internalized messages that are buried deep inside of us.

Oftentimes, when I catch myself in the whirlwind of “should’s,” I retrace my steps and return to “I am” or “It is.” There is something mysterious about returning to the present moment. You can think of it like it is a place where time rests like a baby. When I come to the present moment, there is clarity and, all of a sudden, the place of “Should” seems disjointed because it’s an impatient and restless image. The place of “Should” yanks us out of the present moment of who we are …right…now.

Awareness is key. I will probably bring up awareness again because it is one of the central pieces to embarking on the Acceptance Journey.

But it’s true.

Awareness opens sleepy eyes. You are no longer a sleep-walker in life when you actually wake up to what’s in front of you.

Put your creativity to the test. We can still be children in the playground. We just have to believe that “I am” is a lot more interesting and like-able than “I should.”

“I am” invokes clarity because you are focusing on the present moment of your existence.

“I should” invokes ambiguity because your eyes are resting on an alternative reality that does not exist.

 

 

The Daily Decision

The Journey of Acceptance is a rocky journey. It is not as appealing as it sounds. Acceptance is a lot of work. It is a daily toil. There is something in us that refuses to accept and prefers to reject or doubt things about us (or the things around us). I began this journey with my naivete, expecting that Acceptance is just going to fall from the sky and land on my heart and mind. If I just read about it, meditate, pray, then I’ll finally reach the summit of Acceptance. I was eager, enthusiastic, and ready to take on the battles that go on within my own self. But I was confronted by my staunch resistance to accept myself. I may desire Acceptance, but parts of me may prefer to remain doubting and questioning myself.

But Acceptance is not a destination or some far-away place…it is a way of life.

Acceptance is actively making the decision to accept when you rather not accept.

Acceptance is kind of like a sacrifice for the sake of yourself.

You rather hide under a mask, but instead you choose to embrace the skin you are in.

You rather doubt your talents or abilities, but instead you actively make the decision to accept your talents and abilities just as they are.

You rather doubt your worth and value as a human being, but instead you actively decide to believe in your worth and value.

It’s a decision on a daily basis. And decisions can create habits.

However, habits do not remove all of the boulders in one’s journey. Getting the habit of Acceptance just helps you to build up muscles when more boulders show up in your path.

Commencement of the Acceptance Journey

I will repeat the overused adage, “No one is perfect.” This saying becomes more alive and real when you personally experience your imperfections and actively notice people’s imperfections as signs of solidarity. I have high expectations for myself, someone who has been a victim of bullying in middle school and regularly struggles with social interactions. I have inadvertently begun my Acceptance Journey in January of 2016. I did not title my journey as I am now, but I was telling myself that, “I want to be who I really am and stop hiding my true self.” Of course, I have been told my whole life that I have a lot to offer to the world and that I am a light to others. These words were gracious seeds for my heart, but at that time, I did not believe that a garden of fruits can come from me. So I did not take in the generous rays of sun with open arms or believed that the rain was good for these seeds in my heart. In other words, we all have a green thumb when it comes to self-growth. But we just don’t really know it.

I am taking the time to challenge the years of knotted weeds that have been born through false beliefs and painful social experiences. My goal is not to remove all the weeds. My goal is to accept the weeds as they are. I am no horticulturalist, therapist, or Zen master, but I am Alexandra—a soon-to-be-26 year old woman discovering that change actually does not occur by changing.

I hope to be an inspiration to others who are struggling with the world inside their heads. And perhaps you can join me in the Acceptance Journey. No need for bags, phones, iPads, etc. Join me just as you are.