Unconditional Self-Acceptance means choosing to see whatever we think, feel, say or do, have in the past or might in the future as being part of being human, and understandable given what our life experiences have been, which may have been much different than others.
The reason choosing to have USA is important is the feeling of shame.
Shame comes from believing you’re not living up to your own or others’ expectations
We all have many expectations placed on us from early on and place many more on ourselves. That means plenty of opportunities to feel shame
Shame is often the primary feeling people seek relief from through using alcohol and drugs, shutting down and dropping out of school, or even attempting suicide
Shame also causes people to keep what they think and feel (or do), what they struggle with, or even who they are (i.e. LGBTQ) a secret. That can play out tragically.
Shame also makes people less likely to seek or accept help that is available to them.
Dr. Albert Ellis used to say. “Shame blocks change”
Part of being human means that we’ll never be the first or last person in human history to think, feel, say or do, struggle with something, or be a certain way. We’ll always have a lot of company.
Understandable means that if you put other human beings through exactly what we have been through, they’d probably end up thinking, feeling, saying and doing and struggling with much the same as we do. Some may fare better, others worse, but most would end up much the same.
Three things to consider to encourage you to choose to have USA:
- Imagine on the day you were born we took 100 other newborns and from that day forward put them through every single life experience you have had. What would you expect them to think, feel, say, or do, or struggle with at this point?
- Suppose we all come with movies of our lives that others had to watch when they met us. If they watch your movie, would they probably see the understandable reasons you think, feel, say, or do, and struggle with what you do now?
- There’s a formula for human development. NATURE + NURTURE = PERSONALITY, where NATURE represents all those constants about human physical, psychological and social development, NURTURE represents a person’s life experiences, and PERSONALITY represents a pattern of thoughts, feelings and action. It’s like the algebraic formula A + B = C, where A is a constant and B is a variable. If A stays the same and you change B, C changes. Likewise, if you change a person’s life experiences you get different and predictable patterns of thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Choosing to have Unconditional Other Acceptance means choosing to see what others think, feel, say, or do the same way – that it’s part of being human and understandable given what their life experiences have been, which may have been much different than our own.
We can still dislike or disagree with what they think, feel, say or do
It just helps temper our emotional response to what we don’t like or disagree with