I wanted to discuss the concept of Acceptance, and what it means in particular to growth, or developing as a person.  In my personal experience negativity will often hinder growth in many areas of life.  Having an outlook of 'grim' on any instance of growth can damper the resulting effectiveness of the person attempting to grow from it.  Thus when I talk of acceptance, its the concern that being unaware of our current emotional and psychological states, is having a dangerous effect on our ability to grow.

Acceptance means we understand where we are, who we are, and what we are, and are completely OK with it.  It's the feeling that despite any particular outcome from a variety of sources, we will still remain happily steadfast in our decision to grow.  We, by accepting ourselves, as we truly are, conquer the common necessity of outside forces to give us the means to continue in our growth.  No outside force can tell us what we are, we already know, and have made peace with that.  No job title, income level, body type, or anything you can imagine that can be seen on the outside world, defines who we are.  We are completely disassociated with the outer world, and completely fulfilled within.

How many times have you gone about achieving a goal, and upon failing initially, given up and taken that cue as the ultimate decider of your fate.  How many times have you felt an urgency to grow in a certain situation, your job, your love life, or anything relating to your personal growth, and that urgency gives rise to fears and worries, that give you no help, only rifle the focus you've had, and deter you from your initial path.

Acceptance can break this cycle, or sense of urgency.  Take stock of your current situation, and then detach from it.  Look at who you are on a deeper level.  In all of us, there are times when we are at our highest (to the outside world) as well as our lowest, the person who can still love and accept who they TRULY are, despite their current set of circumstances is the one who has the ultimate power to decide their own destiny.  So I urge everyone reading this to reason with themselves, and ask the question.  Who am I really?  Am I my job title?  Am I my income level?  Am I merely the product of significance to my relationships, or is there something deeper, larger, that defines who I AM.

It won't take long before you realize that everything surrounding your current situation can quickly and easily mean nothing, if given another set of circumstances.  A good way to see this is to look at your life in the past, say 5 or 10 years ago, maybe even more if you've been a routine person for quite some time.  Look back at your life to a time when something meant EVERYTHING in the world to you.  It could've been a relationship, a job, or any pursuit that you had at the time.  When you find a situation that meant the WORLD, in literal terms to you, back then, look at it now.. How trivial is the concept now?  Doesn't it seem silly that we find ourselves so wrapped up in the current state of things.  Look especially for situations that didn't end up the way you had originally planned them.  Go ahead and let any feelings that come along ride through and pass, but during that time, think seriously about how much emphasis you put on that particular outcome, and how little it matters now.  I'll give an example myself.

Many years ago I was completely wrapped up in a video game.  It was an online game, with a community, that at the time meant the WORLD to me.  Everyday I would focus all of my energy towards becoming the best, and literally did achieve my goal.  Don't get me wrong, I don't regret it, I honestly didn't realize I had the potential for such focus, and that I could apply that skill to other areas in my life before this situation.  Now that I look back though, I have no intention of being that person.  The game is nothing to me now, it never had to me all that defined me.   It is completely meaningless to who I am NOW, and it helps me realize that who I AM NOW, is completely meaningless to who I might be in the future.  Even though I did learn some lessons, and definitely took everything I could from it, it's end outcome was still pointless.  This thought process now takes a conceptual seat in most of my decisions.  What I'm doing to better myself now, will it mean anything to me in the future, and how does it resonate with who I TRULY AM.  These are the kinds of questions that can dig deep and really give provocative answers, answers we're not always ready for.

So the main point is to find out who you are.  Since we've already covered that we aren't the combined summation of all our titles, or classes in life, what are we then?  This is where it gets a bit fun.  We are the summation of our core beliefs, our attitudes, our thoughts, and feelings.  I AM.  is simple enough.  The concept of what we believe ourselves to be, is the most unchanging thing we'll have in our entire life.  Our particular code, our beliefs, and our feelings are what define us.  Having this "tether" to an unchanging system, I can continue to grow in any matter I decide, without the requirement of my identity flowing from an outside source, or without the necessity of changing my identity through growth.  We often look at certain situations and say, well I couldn't do that, its just not me.  Well if we really dig deep, perhaps we could change our diet, because after all that isn't what defines us, we could be that disciplined person who works out everyday if we so desired, it won't change who we are, only on the outside.  We could pursue our wildest dreams, and FAIL miserably, and still know that we have the ability to get up and go do it again, enjoying every minute of the experience.  We still won't lose ourselves, because we know at our core, who we are.  I know at my core WHO I AM.

So that is what acceptance is to me.  Knowing who I AM, and loving myself for who I AM.  Everything else is just circumstantial and in the end meaningless.  P.S. In case you were wondering about the first picture, it is actually the dachshund puppy my family recently acquired, he's adorable, so I figured it fitting that he find his way into one of my posts.