Love is not a reward.
Acceptance is not a reward.
Peace of mind, happiness, confidence, none of these things are rewards.
If any of the above statements sound false to you, then here’s my challenge to you. Give me an example of a situation in which you have had to earn love, acceptance, peace of mind, happiness, or confidence. What has that experience taught you?
This week is the last week of our month of Self Acceptance. To wrap up the week, I want to leave you with a few thoughts that I have on Self Acceptance. See, to me, Self-Acceptance is essential to gaining and keeping high self-esteem and a positive mindset. It’s the feeling you must gain in order to feel Self Love – which wouldn’t you know it is next month’s theme. What a coincidence😜 .
We generally accept a core principle of “if I work for something, I will get that thing”. We know this to be true. In fact, we’re taught over and over again that with enough hard work, we can achieve. We can do. We can become.
Added to this, a lot of us have also grown up around parents, friends, or mentors who have taught us that if we’re bad, we’re going to get ignored, or punished. If we’re bad, there are no hugs, no kisses, no positive reinforcement, until we apologise. If we do something good, we are rewarded with praise, attention, and maybe even a treat or two. Does that sound familiar to you?
Unconsciously, we apply this incredibly basic principle to our lives, which results in such assumptions as “if I want love, I have to work at x or y”. “If I want to be happy, I have to do this or the other”. “In order to accept myself, I have to remove this negative thing”.
As adults, we internalise a reward/punishment system. It’s not – on the face of it – a bad system. If we reward ourselves for doing well, we have more incentive to do well, to push ourselves, to surpass ourselves. But what happens if we’re not able to actually recognise what we do well? What if we’re not able to use this tool in a helpful way, and continually punish ourselves for falling short? What if we’re inflicting disproportionate punishment on ourselves? Beyond that, what does punishment actually achieve? Does it deter us from repeating a mistake? Maybe, but it doesn’t stop us from making other mistakes down the line. We are by our very design destined to make mistakes. We are human, after all.
This reward/punishment system, coupled with the work-to-earn principle, creates an incredibly toxic internal environment. It pushes us to work for approval, other’s mostly as we are oftentimes not able to gain our own approval. It also causes us to constantly fall short, to the point that we are unable to trust ourselves.
This month was dedicated to setting aside the approval, the reward, and the punishment. It’s about acknowledging who you are, in your fullness, and listening to yourself. I know it’s not an easy task to bring out everything we are, because that means bringing out the “bad” as well. But you’re not here because you think there’s an easy way to do this. It’s hard, but you’re putting in the work, because you know you deserve better.
I hosted a 3-day Self-Acceptance series last week, which is available to watch on my Instagram HERE. For those of you in The Academy, you can check out the full Self-Acceptance Course right HERE. Please take the time to watch it. It will talk you through feelings that might arise from the Self-Acceptance exercises, dealing with vulnerability, healthy self-talk, building internal trust, and so much more.
This is the last week of the Self-Acceptance month, but that doesn’t mean that your work stops here, Queen. As I said in my blog last week, Self-Acceptance is a journey. Through that journey, I guarantee it, you will find that you let go of the conditions you have set for yourself to earn your own approval. Once those conditions are gone, and you are able to Accept Yourself, you can move on to Self Love.
Keep at it Queen. You got this, and I got you. 💜
Fix your crown.