Acceptance: Progress, not perfection

Recently I’ve been in a state of non-acceptance.  I’ve not been wanting to accept the reality of where my life and relationships are.  Instead, I have been wallowing in and being consumed with guilt, shame, bitterness, and resentment.  My thoughts have been continually returning to the mistakes of the past of myself and others.  I was constantly fluctuating between shame and blame and had become immobilized by fearfulness and unexpressed anger.  To the point that I made myself physically ill.  It was robbing me, and those in my life.  I wasn’t able to enjoy being around the people I loved.  I couldn’t accept or believe that they wanted to be or enjoyed being around me.  After all, if I can’t stand myself how can I expect others to stand being around me?

The good news is that this week has been a turning point, I hope and believe that it is anyway.  And that’s what counts, right?

Yesterday I was able to spend time with my fiancee, in the mall, shopping around – which I never do and if I wind up in the mall, I always try to get out as quickly as possible.  Mostly because I never have money to spend, so why bother looking? and, of course, there’s the low self esteem and certainty that I’m being looked at and judged because of my physical appearance…I’m about 100 lbs overweight and my hair needs to get trimmed and shaped, my clothes are old and don’t fit right, blah, blah, blah.  Yep, all of that has kept me from just enjoying window shopping and spending time with someone I love.  Not so much yesterday, though, thankfully.

I even tried on some clothes and faced the surround mirrors in the dressing room.  I looked at my body and made an honest assessment.  I could definitely fit right in with a group of Biggest Loser contestants at the beginning of a season.  A realization which would have previously sent me into a depressed and agitated mood.  Instead, I looked, frowned, and then accepted that this is my current reality and I have some choices to make.  So, I tried on the clothes and even (somewhat reluctantly due to worry about finances) let him purchase the most flattering one for me.  I’m planning on wearing it out tomorrow evening when I meet up with other ladies from church for a shopping trip at a different mall.  Will wonders never cease?

Then, today, my son and fiancee surprised me at work and we all went to a nearby coffee shop.  I was supposed to be meeting someone else later for coffee, so I opted to drink water.  However, I really thought I wanted one of the baked goods that they had in their case, but knew I didn’t want a whole one.  So, my son agreed to share the one of my choosing and I decided on one I’d never tried before.  He tore off a small piece, put it in his mouth and grimaced, pushing the saucer away.  I took a slightly larger piece and began chewing.  Not something I enjoyed.  It was kind of like a fruitcake cookie covered in hardened chocolate icing.  It didn’t taste bad to me, just not good.  My fiancee took a bite and he liked it.  So, it was taken home for him to share with our daughter later.A few minutes later my son got this odd look and smile on his face and started shaking his head.  When queried he said something about having a terrible thought but not wanting to speak it out loud because he didn’t want to be mean.  I asked if it was his intent to be mean and he replied in the negative.  So, I told him to say it anyway:

“If you can’t trust a fat person to pick out a good dessert then who can you trust?”

I just started laughing, I couldn’t help it.  Previously, I would have taken that statement and been quietly hurt and upset by it, even though I had been the one to encourage him expressing the thought he was trying to hold back from saying.  This is unexpected progress that I’m very grateful for.  It got even better after that.  We wound up bantering a bit about the faults and foibles regarding a pattern my fiancee has regarding giving gifts.  He was able to take the teasing and smile and laugh with us about it, while accepting that’s really the way it is with him.  I guess acceptance can be contagious.

All this to say that accepting things and people in the here and now as they are here and now leads to progress, not perfection.