My husband and my children took off today for an island vacation. My husband who already travels a ton for work, and my grown children who I miss terribly because our time together these days is sparse, are taking a trip together.

I’m here at home sitting at my usual seat writing this article. I’m writing it for you, and I’m writing it for me.

I don’t want to share all the details. I’ll just say I’m having a flare up of a chronic health condition that can become quite painful.

This flare up has been problematic. So problematic I said no to the vacation.

Today I get to face the emotional consequences.

The consequences of a chronic condition that sometimes says, “Nope, Christine, you’re not going to do this.”

That’s a really hard voice to give in to.

Who wants to accept the voice that says “no”?

Today, though, there’s no hiding from that voice. There’s no denying it, or minimizing it. That voice is my companion, loud and clear.

They’re away on a trip they’ll forever remember, and I’m here.

I’m walking on the razor’s edge of making the best of the situation as it is right now and despairing because I let it stop me from such a special event.

My go-to M.O. would have been to ignore the painful feelings, and paint a positive outlook. I’ve done that in the past because it can feel just too painful to feel the feelings of loss and failure when I say no to something.

But there’s a better answer, and I’ll consciously choose it this time.Radical self acceptance.

What’s radical self acceptance look like?

I’ll start by saying what it doesn’t look like.

It doesn’t look like playing the role of victim, it doesn’t look like throwing up your hands in self defeat, it doesn’t look like avoidance of responsibility, and it doesn’t look like acting like a jerk to yourself or to other people.

It looks like compassion. It looks like kindness. It looks like loving yourself in spite of the challenges.

“Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.” — Tara Brach

When you have self acceptance, it opens the doors for healing.

The damage to your body and psyche from beating yourself up is real.

The vibration of love, compassion, and kindness is like a balm to your body and soul.

When you learn to accept (and love, and forgive) yourself even though…(fill in the blank), you can heal your life and move forward.

Opportunities appear you couldn’t see before. They show up as a different way to see a situation, or an opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t have met with the old attitude.

What you believed to be a weakness can be transformed into a strength.

“For me, it really is about the self-acceptance… the more time that I spend really accepting and allowing myself to be exactly where I am, the faster it is I move towards what I wanna be doing.” — Tracee Ellis Ross

You can become a source of strength and healing for another person struggling.

Most of all, you can have the blessing of inner peace and happiness.

None of us will get through life without battle scars.

Nicks and chips get slashed from our sense of self almost from the day we’re born.

Parents, peers, teachers, society, religion, experiences, and the media never stop telling us there’s something better we could become.

It’s not very often we’re told convincingly we’re already good enough.

I’m a big believer in self improvement and personal growth. Blossoming and growing are vital elements of life. But self improvement has to be balanced by self acceptance.

Can you have it all?

Working and striving to grow and expand but at the same time radically accepting yourself just the way you are?

That’s the balance your life depends on.

No matter what’s going on in your life right now. No matter what regrets you have for the past. No matter what you’ve failed at, screwed up, or let down, you have to adopt self acceptance as if your life depends on it.

Without self acceptance, and the self love and self forgiveness that go with it, you’re never going to heal. You’ll be stuck in whatever feelings you’re clinging to.

Just be honest and non-judgmental.

No excuses. No rationalizations. No avoidance.

“This is the situation, and I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Determine to do what you can do to overcome the limitation, acknowledge your hard work, and embrace and accept yourself right here and right now.

Be the love, forgiveness, and acceptance you need in your life.

Your life depends on it.

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