Girl with short curly hair showing heart hands

Today, we hear a lot of talk about self-acceptance and self-love. But what does this mean? And what does it look like?

We all experience heartbreak and disappointment in our lives. This can happen in a multitude of ways. We try and fail at something really important to us. Someone we love leaves or hurts us, our ideas of ourselves and the world are altered, or we find out things are not as we thought.

How we choose to use this lesson can make all the difference in how we move forward.

According to Brené Brown (2017) sadness and frustration are normal responses to unmet expectations.  Expectations can be associated with our own perceived failures or the failures of others. In both situations, in order to heal, we need to grieve the loss and then forgive.

We can’t heal if we can’t grieve; we can’t forgive if we can’t grieve. We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend.  – Brené Brown

After a fall

If we are struggling with grief, disappointment, or heartbreak, we need to find clarity. Clarity on how we are feeling and why. What expectations were we carrying? Were they reasonable? Were they directly tied to our self-worth?

Writing about our experience is an effective strategy for finding clarity and a powerful way to foster healing. It can bring up deep issues and unidentified beliefs that are not in the forefront of our awareness.

How this ties in with self-acceptance and self-love

Forgiveness correlates with emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing. In order to forgive we need to grieve.  Grief is one of the most feared emotions in our society. We avoid it, we cover it up, we medicate it. But grief is needed for healing; it allows us to morn something that is lost, to grieve the end of something.

Only then can we forgive and then accept.

Forgiveness is not forgetting or giving up accountability for a hurtful act. It is the process of taking back what we have lost. Of cultivating acceptance so we can truly live.

Forgiveness can lead to clarity and self love
Forgiveness includes self-forgiveness

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Brown, B. (2017). Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Random House Trade Paperbacks.

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