Acceptance and honesty go hand in hand. It takes a great deal of honesty to accept ourselves for who we are. We must be honest about our feelings and desires, our limits and capabilities, and even our faults and talents in order to truly accept the person we are. When we accept ourselves, we stop hiding the truth of who we are behind falsehoods. We stop putting on a performance, pretending to be someone we’re not or assuming the identity of another. There is something so freeing in the earnestness of being real about who we are as people.
On the topic of acceptance and honesty, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Some of us do not know the difference between putting ourselves down, thus refusing to accept our gifts and talents, and accepting who we are.
Indeed, we often bounce between being worthless and being totally arrogant. Interestingly, feeling like a piece of shit and feeling that we are unique and wonderful are intimately related. In both illusions, we refuse to see ourselves as we really are.
It is only when we are able to say, ‘I know nothing about that,’ or ‘I am really good at doing that and quite knowledgeable about that,’ that we are moving toward acceptance of self. Seeing our shortcomings allows us to accept them. Accepting our strengths allows us to soar. Honesty about self is the key.”
When we are honest about who we are, we neither overemphasize nor downplay our characteristics. We readily and willingly admit to our mistakes and shortcomings, without completely writing off our gifts and accomplishments. We keep a firm grip on reality, in other words. We tend to fluctuate between the two extremes—either believing we are wonderful or that we are the worst. They are two sides of the same coin, as Anne points out. Each requires us to ignore an entire side of our being. We are neither all good nor all bad. As in all areas of life, balance is key. It takes honesty to recognize both strengths and weaknesses of our character, and in admitting these, we find acceptance of self.