Self approval

“That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.”- The Fault in our stars

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Look at that girl, broken and bruised, terrified to move on. Afraid to accept who she is, what she has become. Long sleeves used to be of great help, in her case, they used to hide away her purple bruises once she returned from the school. No one could make out why she used to sleep so much, why was her pillow wet when she used to wake up, why she used to limp while walking. No one bothered asking. Her hair like a bird’s nest once she retired from the school. Why blades decorated the cupboards of her room. Why?

I’ll tell you why. She was the one whose hair, was pulled every day, she was the one on whom pranks were executed. She was the one who had a long purple scar on her back. She was the one with nail marks on her wrists. Last but not the least, she was the one whose skin was covered with filthy handprints. Handprints of rascals, connivers, deceivers, even handymen, folks she’d never imagine would touch her. Her life was a silhouette, just the outline, no one really knew her, no one really saw her true self. The sun was right behind her and her body was completely silhouetted against the blaring light. That is just how life was treating her, she had forgotten how to breathe, how to survive, how to feel. That girl was me.

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I had always been a shy one, keeping a low profile and moving on with life. I always used to glare at the reflection that greeted me in the mirror. Brown hair, green eyes, and pale skin also it was horrible to look at, pieced together on my face. There’s a point when most people exercise that their body says, “take a break” and being sane, most people listen. However, when my body used to give me that slight warning, I used to push and push until I was lying on the floor. A lady takes small bites…Demure women don’t wolf down their food…Sit up tall and push up your chest lightly, pretty girls need good posture. These words were ingrained in my head since I was eleven.

As children we’re able to accept ourselves only to the degree we feel accepted by our parents. For example, parents may convey to us the overall message that we’re selfish–or not attractive enough, clever enough, good or “nice” enough . . . and so on. As a result of what most mental health professionals would agree reflects a subtle form of emotional abuse, almost all of us come to regard ourselves as only conditionally acceptable. Happiness and self-acceptance go hand in hand. In fact, your level of self-acceptance determines your level of happiness. The more self-acceptance you have, the more happiness you’ll allow yourself to accept, receive and enjoy. In other words, you enjoy as much happiness as you believe you’re worthy of.

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Only when we can better understand and pardon ourselves for things that earlier we assumed must be all our fault can we secure the relationship to self that till now has eluded us. I am not ashamed of my scars anymore, I am not afraid of wearing half sleeves now, I am not uncomfortable to tell anyone that a nasty human being has touched me. This is who I am now. The famous French expression, “Tout comprendre, c’est tout excuser” (literally, “to understand all is to pardon all”) is a dictum that we ought to apply at least as much to ourselves as to others.

We may need to remind ourselves that our various weaknesses are part of what makes us human. So in the pursuit of genuine self-acceptance, we might even want to take a certain pride in our imperfections. After all, were we beyond criticism in the first place, we’d never have the opportunity to rise to this uniquely human trial.

Stay strong ❤

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