Unconditional Acceptance

What would you like to hear? “You are a gift and precious to the world just the way you are.”
Or maybe – “You have potential and, with some work, we can get you to an acceptable level.”
Or how about—“You are a hopeless loser and you can do nothing to salvage your sorry fate.”
We’d like to think the first statement is incisively, unerringly, eternally true. Complete unconditional acceptance . . . yes, that fits. Now I can relax. Nothing to prove. I’ve made it.
However, the impression of the second is that it allows for us to have some control. We can work to achieve the ring. And then we say, “I’m where I am because of what I’ve done.” Control (even illusory) can be so comforting.
The advantage of the third statement is that it lets us off the hook altogether. “Oh, well, game’s over. I don’t have to try. I’ll just sit here and hate myself and let everyone else hate me, too.” But we all know it’s never that easy. Can we give up as long as we’re breathing?
The first statement, unconditional acceptance, feels soothing initially, but what about living with a nod of assent every time you make a move or utter a cry? Unconditional acceptance is not the same as living with no consequences. In fact, the consequences are immediate and exacting and unforgiving. You get away with nothing. Yes, you still are loved and accepted but not uncritically. You are known. Whatever is true about you in the deepest shadows of your being is clearly understood. You can hide nothing. 
So, yes, you may commit murder. You will still be loved but you will also serve life in prison and be reviled by the public. You may hate and hurt. You will still be loved but you will not be welcomed in polite company. No matter what you choose you will be loved but you will always have your own work to do.
Our consciousness work doesn’t end as long we inhabit our bodies. (I’m not certain about afterward.) And, basically eventually, it gets down to self acceptance. I can enact any behavior. The real question is can I accept myself unconditionally but responsibly no matter what? When am I overwhelmed by so much self hate that I can’t forgive myself? When do I refuse to look critically into my own motives? When do I diminish  my feelings because I can’t stand vulnerability?
Where is the line at which I reject myself and condemn myself? When do I lose my ability to be my own best friend and supporter? When do I close my heart because it’s easier to be numb?
Unconditional acceptance is treating ourselves as God treats us. Being totally on our own side but looking at everything. We stay in relationship to our feelings, our thoughts, and our behavior and we don’t diminish any one of those. We don’t think when it’s appropriate to feel. And we don’t act without rigorous forethought.


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