“If you can accept yourself as you are and give yourself permission to have difficulty with it, the curious paradox is that you will change!”
— Carl Rogers (1902–1987)
CHANGE is a paradox; it is weird and ironical that when we flow in the direction of acceptance, regarding the way things are, only then will we have the power to change.
This works because acceptance is rooted in honesty; to be so brutally honest with ourselves without judging or condemning ourselves is to allow ourselves the space which proves as a platform for growth and, therefore, change.
Change and freedom are closer than we think.
But our human default is oppositely arranged. We get hard on ourselves for making the same worn mistakes. We say, “When will I stop doing this!” Or we say, “When will this end?”
Why do we think things will change if we get harder on ourselves? It hasn’t worked for our children or for us when we were children, for that matter.
Making people change is never a way to make people change.
Change doesn’t work like that. Unless the forces for change continue to be there, forced change cannot be sustained. But change that comes as a product, first of acceptance, and then secondly with vision, has every hope of being sustained.
Self-Acceptance and Self-Love Facilitate Change
If only we would know and learn to accept that the grace of God, experienced as an abundance of self-acceptance, is the answer to most if not all our challenges.
If we experience self-acceptance, we also experience self-love. And with self-love we have stripped away all the worldly distractions to the love of God. We begin to understand self-love emerges out of God’s love for us as individuals. “We love because he first loved us.”
When we have self-love, because we attribute God’s love correctly to us in the first place, we are automatically inspired to love others with the same love we are receiving. Love is suddenly very real. It is palpably real and practical in all matters of life. And as the circle turns, all this love promotes self-acceptance, and so the cycle of blessing’s multiplicity continues to revolve.
The secret to change is acceptance: of where we are at and where we are going. Acceptance accepts that the going will be tough, but it doesn’t suffer from disillusionment. No more stressful thought needs to be entered into when we arrive at acceptance.
When we arrive at acceptance we have the keys to change and, therefore, the experience of freedom.
Self-acceptance leads to self-love. Self-love is grown out of experiencing God’s grace, as is love for others. Acceptance is the key to love and life.
Change and freedom rely on acceptance. The more we accept reality the freer we are.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.