A Simple Phrase For Practicing Radical Self Acceptance

Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash

“I Am Enough.”

These words flashed on my screen while I was having a 1:1 with a colleague. He switched to the presenter mode in Google Hangouts (hello, remote work) and his wallpaper caught my attention.

I asked his perspective on this phrase while (secretly) judging him for his audacity — Is he delusional? Since when did we, Homo Sapiens, felt even close to being enough? It made me feel as if I was waking up from a deep slumber spanning across millennia. And I was now sitting across a Homo Zenien who was content with who he was.

My mind was racing to find all the profound comebacks on how this phrase was antithetical to our human evolution — the burst of my neural activity could have easily lit up an Indian village. Would we have all the modern comforts or anything that we can’t live without if the cave dwellers would have felt enough? I bet not.

But then he explained — we say these words to our loved ones, friends, colleagues then why not to ourselves? Why can’t we give the same level of compassion, and acceptance to ourselves that we give unconditionally to others?

“We don’t have to wait until we are on our deathbed to realize what a waste of our precious lives it is to carry the belief that something is wrong with us.”

— Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

How would it be if we felt enough? If we felt emotionally settled about our identity and didn’t have to run on the improvement treadmill to become a version defined by others. What if we heard our inner voice clearly? Rather than the constant assault on self-esteem by our inner critic. What if we really saw ourselves for who we are? And didn’t have to wear X-Ray glasses that only highlighted our shortcomings.

Why is it so hard to say ‘I am enough’? Why is it so hard for us to accept ourselves for who we truly are? Why is it so difficult to accept ourselves without judgment?

We can’t, well, because there is no one else who knows us better. Because it feels hypocritical to say such words out loud as we’re acutely aware of all the blemishes, and dark spots of our personality.

No wonder we succumb to ennui, and spend our lives constantly chasing a moving target in pursuit of ‘feeling enough’.

“Lacking any permanent satisfaction, we continuously need another injection of fuel, stimulation, reassurance from loved ones, medicine, exercise, and meditation.”

— Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance

But the acceptance of ‘I am enough’ helps us unlock our real potential. No, it doesn’t mean you surrender to your own mediocrity ( ‘to hell with my shortcomings’), or start indulging in self-obsession ( ‘oh…look at me, I’m so perfect’).

It merely means accepting the current version of you. Yes, with all your flaws. And be comfortable with it. If you don’t completely accept yourself for who you really are then how would you embrace your flaws? And if you can’t embrace your flaws then how would you ever wholeheartedly accept a plan to overcome the ones that are gnawing the edges of your soul? Elementary, Dr. Watson.

These words don’t induce complacency, you see. In fact, they plant the seeds of growth in us.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. “

— Carl Rogers

The more I reflected on it, the more I agreed with this philosophy. And all the clever retorts that I had planned for him burst like a water bubble.

“I Am Enough.”

I know, I know. It’s incredibly hard to say, but I will try saying it more often.

And who knows if I keep on saying this out loud (in my head, of course. I’m not crazy.), I might wholeheartedly accept the full version of me with warts, and all.

And then, maybe, I can finally begin to build on my strengths rather than being a prisoner of my weaknesses or being embarrassed about them.

Founder & CEO of quovantis.com, an avid book reader and a student for life.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store