The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. -Carl Rogers
Often, I think we find ourselves so focused and narrow sighted on what we don’t like about ourselves or our situations, we wear a metaphorical blindfold that prevents us from having insight about this state of self rejection which prevents us from springing into action.
Logic might tell us that in order to bring about change we have to reject the way things are because a building has to be demolished before a new one can be constructed.
We must accept the unacceptable state of the building, to see the need for it to change, to accept how broken it is. Logic might tell us that in order to change your marriage from miserable and dysfunctional, you must reject that your marriage could be in this state because it is undesirable and you want to change it to be happy and functional.
This concept is tricky because sure you must realize the need for change and reject the old patterns and habits in order to bring change about, however it’s easy to get lost in the phenomenon of denial, where you refuse to accept yourself where you are at.
Imagine you need to travel to some location, can you get there if you don’t accept where you are starting from? How do you know where your car is? What if you are taking the bus? How can you know where to get on, when it will be coming?
If we accept we are not as educated as we’d like to be (perhaps how some of us feel) then we can do things to change our brains to make us smarter and more knowledgable. We can read, take classes, earn degrees. This is the action stage of change.
Acceptance is our first step toward change. Rejection and denial, our rollercoaster, running the same repeated course, keeping us unaware of how to get off.