Michael Misenheimer is Certified Professional Coach, General Civil Mediator and Certified Domestic/Family Mediator based in Nashville, Tenn. Misenheimer is also Executive Director of the Collaborative Peace Building Center and holds an M.A. degree in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding. He manages two freelance paralegal firms: Bankruptcy-Paralegal.com and TopNotchParalegals.com.
Self-acceptance is a concept with which I have become familiar only in recent years. I grew up being taunted and teased; I mistakenly allowed others to devalue my self worth. It took me a long time to become comfortable with who I am. Below are some life lessons which I have learned that may assist you on your personal journey to self-acceptance.
1. Your thoughts and words have power! The thoughts we think each day influence our lives. When we think negative thoughts or spew them about ourselves, or others, we implant into our subconscious the idea that we are not good enough or we are not worthy when in fact we are. The next time you think a negative thought or say something negative, about yourself or someone else, ask yourself if at the heart of you or them, is what you are thinking is really true. If you answer yes, then ask yourself why is it true? If the answer is no, replace that negative thought or words with a more positive one. Seeing the positive in life helps one lead a more self-accepting life. The first step to getting others to accept us is to ultimately accept who we are and be comfortable in our own skin. That is not possible to do if we continuously say or think negative things about ourselves or others. At our very core, we all have a heart and the heart is where we should concentrate our words and thoughts for ourselves and each other.
2. Your truth is you are exactly who you were created to be! Whether you believe in God or a higher power or not, you were created just the way you are. It is your birthright to be loved and to love. Accordingly, you must never let anyone tell you who you are is wrong. You were born perfection and you remain perfection despite the judgment and criticism that seem to occupy some of our lives these days. In the face of adversity, we must stand up and be strong and remember who we are is who we were born to be. Our creator made us this way for a reason. The true task is to find that reason and acknowledge you are who you were meant to be. Trying to be anyone other than that, will only lead to more strife in your life.
3. Other people’s judgments can lead to insecurities in your future if you allow them to get to you! For many years, I sat on the sidelines of life because I allowed the bullying in my life to predict what I would and could do. I would not engage in conversations nor give my opinions for a fear of being judged. Nor would I ever think about speaking in public. I shrunk as to avoid being seen or heard. I allowed it to affect every part of my life. I now know that our duties are to live our lives out loud. GLBT people are in our workplaces, in our communities and they are our leaders. When we let our light shine bright, it opens a whole new world of opportunities for us, our communities and eventually, that same light shines even on our opponents. We must never let someone else’s opinion of us predict who we are. When we do, we are doing a major disservice to ourselves.
4. Create a more cohesive community! We all fit into our clicks and circles but eventually, we must step outside our comfort zones to create a better sense of community. This gives us strength and the courage to be who we are and live our lives out loud. When you can socialize amongst those who are GLBT and/or allies of GLBT, you will begin to feel more comfortable in your own skin. That will rub off and lead into other areas of your life reinforcing that who you are is acceptable. Once a more cohesive community is formed, we can then band together to tackle the issues that face our community today which will lead to greater self-acceptance in our lives and the lives of those around us. In the end, I believe it will also lead to equality and allow us to live openly and freely without fear of judgment, hatred and abuse.
These are just a few tips that I have learned over the years. They are not taught in any schools, although they should be a required subject. I sincerely hope that as you read any of these, that you can apply them to your life and feel just a little more comfortable in your own skin. The journey to self-acceptance begins and ends with you. Remain true to yourself and you can never go wrong. Your intuition will be your guide. Allow it to show you the way to self-acceptance in your life here, now and always.