(And how yoga can help you succeed.)
Would you like to know one of the biggest secrets to help you take action on that thing you’ve been putting off? Or why you don’t seem to be able to shake off that annoying habit or pick up that other one? I’ll give you a hint, it’s related to how you treat yourself. It’s about self-love. It’s self-acceptance.
If the word ‘Acceptance’ is already triggering thoughts of surrendering or weakness… continue reading because I hope to change your mind.
This is the situation
How do you feel about yourself? About your body? About your energy? Is there something you are unhappy about? Is there something you know you’d like to change? Not just physically, but in your habits, your emotional balance, your mental state…?
You know exactly what you need to do, but you don’t do it. Again. You look the other way, criticise yourself, or indulge in temporary fixes.
Maybe you fight with yourself, blame yourself for not taking action, call yourself names for not doing what’s so obvious, and apparently easy, then promise yourself that tomorrow…
“Tomorrow I’ll start yoga… Tomorrow I’ll go for that run… Tomorrow I’ll get up earlier… I’ll eat more greens… I’ll stop doing this or the other…”
But when you break that promise to yourself, you feel even worse. You blame yourself, maybe you even tell yourself that you are useless, an idiot even. I’ve been there. I’ve told myself all those things, and worse.
Not any more.
This is what no one told you before
Let me tell you a secret: You don’t fail because you are weak, or lack discipline, and most definitely you are not an idiot.
The secret formula to success is ACCEPTANCE. To be precise, self-acceptance.
This is what no one told you before. You need to embrace acceptance before trying to change anything.
Acceptance is a key concept in Yoga philosophy, Buddhism, and many other traditions. Definitely, it’s key to developing more happiness and changing yourself.
“But wait, isn’t ‘Acceptance’ a sign of giving up?”
Maybe you’ve been conditioned to think that accepting something is equivalent to losing a battle.
“And what’s yoga got to do with it?“
If you’ve ever been to one of my yoga classes, live or recorded, probably you’ve heard me tell you to do what you can, to listen to your body, to be kind and accept your limitations. But at the same time, you are encouraged to try, to do… to take action!
On the mat, we learn to accept where we are physically and mentally and with kindness and loving encouragement we improve our strength, our flexibility, and we learn to balance our emotions a bit better.
The more we fight against what we can not change, the more unhappy and miserable we are. But when we start from a place of accepting where we are in the present moment, the magic starts to happen.
So, here’s what you should remember:
Acceptance can lead to greater understanding (of others and oneself)
Acceptance is not Resignation.
Acceptance is not apathy or giving up.
To sum up… and a two-step formula
There can not be self-love without self-acceptance first.
And self-improvement is an act of self-love, therefore any positive habit your want to implement, any action, has to come from accepting where you are first.
It’s not easy, it takes a lot of practice and repetition. That’s why I like to start from the safe space of the mat. My body is teaching me the lessons I can then take into the world.
Meanwhile, try this ‘simple’ two-step formula:
Step 1. Accept where you are right now.
Take a good look at yourself. But not with your over-critical goggles, but with the eyes of your best friend/partner/pet. Accept (I didn’t say love… yet) what you look like today, what you can do or can not do, how mobile you are. Thank your body for all it CAN do and accept what it can’t do.
Same with your mind and emotions. Do you tend to be over-emotional, have bouts of anger, think too much, or react too fast…? That’s not who you are, but what you do… today. Accept that those are your current patterns.
Don’t get angry if you haven’t been to the gym in 10 years. Don’t punish yourself for finishing that whole tub of ice cream. It’s not your fault, it’s a pattern of behaviour born from a need to protect yourself… once upon a time. Now, it may not be so useful but it has become ingrained as a habit.
‘I fully accept myself today, with compassion and love’
Step 2. Acceptance is NOT resignation.
Choose the one thing you need to improve or change. Just be kind to yourself and curious about it. Try to understand, instead of criticising.
Why am I sabotaging myself? Why am I not taking action? Am I not exercising because I think people will ridicule me? Because I feel insecure? You are probably protecting a part of yourself that back in the past needed that.
Maybe you don’t have answers right now, doesn’t matter. You can always continue accepting, that’s an active process, a practice, and try to be more loving toward the person that you are now.
Then start taking small and consistent steps towards changing that situation. What is the smallest step you can do toward who or where you want to be?
And if you fail one step, once again practice acceptance and self-love… and start again.
How do you feel about acceptance? Let me know in the comments!
Are you curious to know how yoga tools can help your self-development? It may seem like a bunch of stretches from the outside, but there are more layers to it. And I’d love to help you uncover them. You deserve it.
Montse has been working for the last 30 years in the world of theatre and performance as a director, mentor and performer. Her passion for sharing her knowledge and her desire to help others realise their true potential has led her onto the path of yoga teaching.
Her classes are relaxed, friendly and with elements of yin, yang and humour where everyone feels welcome, regardless of their skill. Montse’s motto is ‘be your own template’, both in life and in yoga…
Your shape is unique and so is your life so don’t follow the ‘should be like this’ crowd and don’t try to fit into anyone else’s path, find your own… on and off the mat.
If you are ready to commit to your self-development in a more holistic way and would like to chat with me about it. Book a free friendly call to discuss your needs.