Self-Acceptance in Mid-Life

After mid-life we practice self-acceptance because that’s our job. We don’t practice self-acceptance because we’re proud of ourselves and our performance. We don’t judge our appearance or social standing or income. We don’t deem ourselves worthy due to experience. Self-acceptance is a responsibility.

We stay on our own team because that’s the only choice for integrity we have. We can’t honestly jump to Joe’s team or Mary’s. We don’t pick and choose. We stay on our side no matter what. If we embarrass ourselves publicly, we have a respectful talk with ourselves and think about what we will do differently next time. If we make a horrible mistake, we don’t hate ourselves; we review it and know we’ll get another chance. Like a good parent, we never give up on ourselves. We make mid-course corrections and we soften our edges and we reconsider our approach. But we always support ourselves.

Hiding in a bottle or behind a desk or in a flurry of activity isn’t acceptable after mid-life. That is when we come face to face with who we are and always we say “Yes.” We don’t have to like what we see but we do have to commit to our own lives. We approach the hurt or the needy parts of us with love and gentleness. We help. We don’t criticize and never do we denigrate. We’re as gentle and sensitive with ourselves as a mother and as insistent as a father when we strive to be our best.

In the first half of life we may have been rejecting of parts of us — we hated our paralyzing fear or our oafishness. Now we embrace every tiny aspect of who we are, especially the parts of us that aren’t polished and respectable. When we notice some anger or sadness or frustration we enfold those parts  and say, “I love you and I will listen to you and I’m here for you always.”

Now we can tolerate feelings we couldn’t when we were 25. We aren’t threatened by the depths of sadness after a huge loss. Rage doesn’t scare us because we have good impulse control. There is nothing to fear inside of us. Whatever comes up we greet with “Yes, and tell me more.” Knowing is essential. Comfort is irrelevant. For decades we’ve seen waves of feelings and we’ve noticed that everything passes. We are sincerely curious and open to anything which comes to us from inside.   

Confidence based on years of experience carries us through tough times. We identify with the process that we are and not with the picture of our lives at any one second. We welcome change and accept the unexpected. In fact, we can accept everything. Nothing diminishes us because we are solid in our core. No matter what, we say “Yes” to ourselves. Always “Yes.”

 

 
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