I am not on top of the latest and greatest news the way that some people seem to be. I have a tendency to get things a little later than hot off the presses. However, I happened to watch the Bruce Jenner interview pretty much as soon as it was available. It was a fluke really. While I am very concerned with equality for and understanding of all types of issues especially those related to gender, I was relatively oblivious to all of the press. Yup, that is the truth. I don’t watch reality TV and my consumption of media is low.

The night of this interview I was looking for a something to watch on Hulu and I stumbled on this interview. After watching 10 minutes of it, I knew I needed to bring it to my coaching training program, which was having an intensive the next day. There was so much in that interview that made for rich discussion when working with people. But, what struck me more than anything was that it reminded me that people –all of us—struggle with knowing and being our full selves and that this challenge causes us so much pain.

We can’t be happy if we do not truly accept ourselves. But, what does true self-acceptance look like? Let me see if I can put it into some more concrete terms.

You are either OK with who you are or you are not. You are either on your own side or you are not. And, what this feels like, when you accept yourself, could almost be described as weightlessness.

If you wonder whether you accept yourself ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I at peace with all my decisions?
  • Do I love myself –even the not-so-great parts?
  • When faced with information that supports a less than noble view of myself can I love myself and also challenge myself to be more?
  • When in a disagreement, can I respect my own view while respecting the other person’s view?
  • Do I know that no matter what I discover about myself that I am good?

If you answer “no” or are not certain, try some exercises taken from my book Real Answers to help you work on fully accepting yourself:

Powerful questions: With these next statements, you have the opportunity to become more aware of any areas of your life where it will benefit you to come to terms, as well as what you might be afraid of.

Complete these statements about yourself:

  • One thing I have a difficult time accepting about my life, but deep down know is true, is:
  • Some of the things I feel I need to accept about my life that may be difficult to accept are:
  • The reason I know these things are difficult to accept is:
  • I will know that I have fully accepted these things about my life when:
  • This stops me from accepting these things about my life:
  • I would accept these things about my life if only:
  • I am afraid that, if I accept these things about my life, then:
  • What I need to do to accept these things about my life is:

Speak your truth: One of the ways we can move into a deeper level of acceptance is to speak the truth about our lives, making it more real. This increased sense of reality just naturally works to increase our acceptance of what was. For example, I have an event in my life where I had a fight with a close friend of mine. After this fight, I begin to slip into some story around it. For example, my friend was really unfair or my friend overreacted. You can see that these are judgments, and as I was mentioning before, judgments are about the mask. If, instead, I am able to state the data about what happened, this is the actual sensory information. In other words, “What I saw was …,” “What I felt was …,” “What I experienced was …” If I am able to break down the information as truthfully as possible, I will begin to see the situation for what it is.

Talk to someone who was there: This is why personal growth groups and therapy groups work really well. If someone has gone through a similar experience―or, as is the case sometimes with family members, the same experience―sharing that experience with someone who can understand helps us accept that experience. We come to know that this is what truly happened and these are the effects it had. As I was saying earlier in this book, when people go through a trauma, they often minimize the effects or don’t recognize the effects. They do not see that what happened to them directly affects their life. For example, that their depression is related to the trauma or that their angry outbursts are related to the trauma. It is education, which allows us to see all these experiences connect inside of us―how we live them out. This is another example of how we can use acceptance to help with our awareness.

Bringing acceptance into your personal experience will radically change the way you approach almost every aspect of your life and ultimately will bring a lot of benefit to the world.

Like this topic and want to learn more? Join me for Real Answers Radio this Thursday, May 14th at 12pm EST. Real Answers airs live and your questions are always welcome! Tune in here