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The Power of Self Acceptance


Many traditions and practices speak to the power of self-acceptance as a critical component to the process of healing, growth or spiritual development. In EFT, we often verbalize a statement, such as “I deeply and completely accept myself,” after acknowledging the situation and distressing emotions that we are addressing. But what is the power in accepting one’s feelings, experiences, thoughts and beliefs? Particularly when they aren’t wanted, are uncomfortable or even painful?

The 13thcentury Persian poet Rumi wrote that “the wound is the place where the light enters you.” If it is the wound which allows light’s rays to illumine, then clarity and awareness arise because of the wound, not due to its absence. Perhaps healing, rather than getting rid of something, is remembering all parts of self back into the whole.

For me the somewhat illusive concept of wholeness is best represented by the image of the circle. Though the interpretation of its symbolic properties varies across cultures and philosophies, it is generally imbued with the qualities of perfection, completeness and freedom from distinction or separation.  With no beginning or end, the circle is self-contained, made of points on its circumference that all originate and return to its center.  The circle suggests there is value in nurturing our capacity for self-acceptance, compassionately embracing the fullness of our experiences, the totality of our Selves, rather than picking and choosing which aspects and parts should be given validity. 

The open ensō circle, seen as a symbol in the Zen tradition as enlightenment, reminds us that to be human is to be in the process of movement and growth, incomplete, while at the same time held within the perfection of all things. The ancient symbol of the uroboros, the circular serpent that embraces the evolutionary process of mankind, illumines a path that might otherwise be too dark. This subterranean King sheds its skin and reminds us of the cyclical process of renewal, of death and rebirth, the power of transformation.

The process of EFT supports mindful recognition and acceptance of one’s feelings and experiences.  The goal is not to eliminate or avoid a feeling but instead gently and safely reduce the energetic disturbance associated with painful events or memories so that which no longer serves us – emotional reactivity and patterns, limiting beliefs, habitual behaviors - can be released, can be transformed. Perhaps there is movement where once there was constriction, or a shift in understanding and perspective, glimmers of awareness illuminating that which had been in the dark.  Perhaps it is like an embrace, a welcoming, a returning home.

 Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Tenth Duino Elegy” speaks to acceptance in this way:    

“ … Let my joyfully streaming face make me more radiant; let my hidden weeping arise and blossom. How dear you will be to me then, you nights of anguish. Why didn't I kneel more deeply to accept you, inconsolable sisters, and surrendering, lose myself in your loosened hair. How we squander our hours of pain. How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration to see if they have an end. Though they are really our winter-enduring foliage, our dark evergreen, our season in our inner year--, not only a season in time--, but are place and settlement, foundation and soil and home.”



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