Sunday, November 20, 2016

Wherever You Go ... There You Are

"Self-Acceptance" is another one of those phrases that has been corrupted and isolated from its adjacent and complementary truths.

Self-acceptance isn't about blithely saying "this-is-who-I-am-and-it's-the-way-I'm-always-going-to-be", (looks like you got that one wrong, Popeye...). It isn't about self-identifying with our weaknesses and shortcomings, or giving up on ever being able to change; it certainly isn't about defending our personal "foibles" and "protrusions of self".

Self-acceptance is more about being honest about where you are right now, like getting your bearings on a map or getting a good GPS fix, and stripping away any facades of self-deception and honestly accepting that you are where you are. But, knowing where you are now is only part of the equation -- you also must know where you're going, and plan out how to get there, (which includes admitting to yourself when/where you've varied from your course).

As C.S. Lewis puts it:
"We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. There is nothing progressive about being pig-headed and refusing to admit a mistake." (Case for Christianity)
"I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road. A sum can be put right: but only by going back til you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it cannot 'develop' into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, 'with backward mutters of dissevering power' --or else not." (Great Divorce)
How else can we "put back on the right road" and make real progress unless we are honest to ourselves about where we are (i.e. "self-acceptance"), and if/when we need to backtrack to get where we're trying to go.

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