THE BLOG
03/25/2013 05:53 pm ET Updated May 25, 2013

When Life Tells Us Otherwise, How Should We Accept Ourselves?

How we feel about ourselves usually depends on how well we live up to the self-image we create for ourselves. Experiences that confirm our self-image will produce feelings of happiness and self-acceptance. Experiences that contradict our self-image will likely make us feel disappointed and upset.

For instance, if we expect others to always treat us with respect and kindness, we'll easily find ourselves offended and upset when they fail to do so. If we believe we're supposed to succeed at everything we do, we might take failure too hard, and either become depressed or give up in trying altogether. The same result will occur if we believe certain acts are beneath us, or we're too smart to be outwitted by anyone.

The moment we receive information contrary to the self-image our ego has created, we'll likely have to wrestle with a lot of unwanted feelings. When we encounter these feelings, our minds can be weighed down by conflicting messages. To avoid this, we don't always have to assign value to our way of being as if our identity depended on it. One way of removing these unpleasant emotions is by not giving so much meaning to the outcome of our experiences. Our self-worth isn't based on the outcome of our actions.

Humans possess their worth by representing the highest form of goodness, sharing the likeness of their divine maker. Understanding that we're accepted for who we are by our supreme creator, who loves us unconditionally, will prevent us from judging ourselves and having us spend a lot of time and energy trying to be someone we're not. It doesn't make a difference if you fail sometimes at what you do, complete all your goals, live up to expectations, or simply do everything right. It never makes sense always assessing the value of your behavior if your life is the result of divine intention.

The routine to measure the value of our actions is a result of man's pride and preconditions disappointment. As scripture states, "Pride comes before a fall." The fact that you're alive at this very moment should give you enough hope that your value has already been determined for you by the purpose you been assigned by your creator. Where you now stand, you are filled with all you need.

The work of trying to prove ourselves, caring how people view us, and pleasing everyone all the time has been fulfilled for us by a God who has reconciled himself to us by his love. We no longer have to burden our minds with thoughts of inadequacies or feelings of failure. Our personal harmony has already been accomplished for us.

We now have to be bold enough to claim it in our lives by living with the realization that we have been fully restored and set free from all we do, once and for all. We no longer have to feel condemned by those intrusive thoughts that meddle with our self-worth. We have passed the point of feeling lost or insecure about our life choices. Everything we do yields its own reward. Our conscious has finally been cemented with the assurance that destiny is in our favor by the mere fact of our existence.

Any experience that interrupts our tranquility is a result of losing sight of who we are in God. Our purpose and value is basic to our human nature. Nothing we do can make us more valuable than what we are right now at this moment. The famous German philosopher Immanuel Kant once said, "Act so as to treat people always as ends in themselves, never as mere means." Kant recognized that humans possess inherent worth by their very nature. Nothing we do can change our worth and we should treat others with the highest level of dignity, regardless of stature. To be alive with any disposition entails its own merit. Life is a celebrated experience to be accepted for all it gives.

By no means am I trying to say that we shouldn't seek the good in all things or try to change the things we can. Only that if we ever come up short in our effort to do what we think is right, we should continually accept ourselves for who we are, what we do, and what we don't do. We humans always have to deal with the results of our imperfections. These shortcomings have a way of making us feel guilty, insecure, or inadequate around people who appear to have it all figured out.

Don't be misled by appearances. No one has it all figured out. Some people are just better at masking their failures than others, while others trust people enough to readily show when they're bothered. Everyone lives with weaknesses and insecurities. Life is too rich with variety for this not to be the case. Our task is to accept ourselves in the vast sea of life's storms so that we anchor the truth of who we are amid the strong tide.

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