To accept myself or to change?

HomeForumsEmotional MasteryTo accept myself or to change?

New Reply
Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #52338
    Michael Chan

    So i’m relatively new to tinybuddha, and it has helped me quite a lot through a hard time for me, both emotionally and mentally. And coming out from that experience, I find myself stronger and in a better place as a person than I was before. I have recently begun the journey of self-acceptance as that has always been something that I have struggled with throughout my life. And from my readings, it seems to be the general consensus that to accept yourself, we must accept ourselves as a whole, flaws and all. But through inner reflection and meditation, I have realized that there is a part of me that I have a hard time morally accepting. What I realized was that when I let my emotions cloud my judgement, and my emotions take over my logical mind, I lash out out at people and say/do things that I do not mean in the slightest. Of course, given a while to calm down, I understand that what I say is wrong and I apologize. However, this seems to be a vicious cycle that has potential to hurt and drive away the people closest to me. So the question that I am posing is, do I work to change this inherent flaw in my character, or do I try to accept it as part of who I am?


    I believe before you can begin to change you must first accept. It is a part of who you are. You need to embrace yourself fully, with no holds barred. Love yourself and your imperfections because no matter how much you try and fix yourself you are still you. And that OK and good. True growth comes after you are fully embracing who you are naturally. It’s hard to say this because we live in such a driven world. When you let go and give up trying to fix yourself you actually fix yourself. In embracing yourself you are giving you the forgiveness that you need. You can’t ignore who you are, you can’t stand in the way of who you are, and you can’t force yourself to change yourself. And that’s OK because we are all perfectly imperfect. Again once you embrace your soul and truly love yourself, those things naturally correct themselves IF they need to be corrected!



    I’m sorry for your suffering, and understand how painful and confusing lashing out can become. We intend to share light, be peaceful, but something happens and Whamo, things get weird. People start looking like enemies instead of siblings and partners, we become selfish, self serving and pokey. Its great to notice it and wish to stop it, but then how do we pair that with self acceptance? A few things came to heart as I read your words.

    Consider that accepting ourselves does not mean trying to justify our unskillful behaviors. We simply accept what is really there, what we actually do. Yep. That’s us. When we lack self acceptance, we try to hide from it, feel ashamed of it. “I cant believe i do that” and try to make up for it. This becomes cyclic, and leads to other problems as well. Often our apologies and resitiution is unbalanced, more profuse than necessary, and we spend a whole lot of time thinking about ourselves. Whew!

    Consider a different approach. When we have these eruptions of emotion, perhaps they have a reason that is not inherent. Permanence is not what we accept. Instead, its accepting that they have some cause, and we’re looking to settle that cause. Said differently, Buddha taught that the existence of the lashing out is impermanent, is not inherent, and comes from “self grasping” or the cycle of “mememe”.

    But what’s the cause? Depends on the person, but the path of recovery is usually more self care. Be more nurturing to yourself, give your mind and body space to unwind and relax. Anger is like a hot coal that hurts the body, and usually means the mind is overwhelmed or overcome. Self nurturing helps to open up the space in our mind and body, rekindle our light, get rest. My favorite is metta meditation, or the practice of cultivating warm feelings. It helps the mind become smooth and peaceful, and helps us aim in a positive direction. Consider “Sharon Salzburg guided metta meditation” on youtube, if interested.

    The visual often used in metta practice is a wide open field, where we are just planting seeds of intention. Visually, for me its like a wide field of green grass with a blue sky. Now imagine, off in the distance, a wild mare is kicking and bucking. Its odd for her, but there is space for her to settle and unwind. And she does. However, if instead of an open field, that mare was in a shopping mall, it would be quite a different affair. When the mare is galloping through the mall, it seems normal to try to grab the mare, clamp down… bite down through the anger. But really, its in bringing the mind from the mall to the field, because then the mare doesn’t erupt outward, just kicks a few times in safety and settles down.

    Finally, consider a story. The other day, there were some rotten vegetables in my fridge. I smelled them in passing while on another mission, but just accepted there was something amiss. Then, when I landed again after putting out fires, helping clients, the kids and so forth, I sat and just relaxed. Accepted what had been. Immediately, the memory of the smell came up, and alongside it tension, another problem to solve, mystery to unravel. But, I was on the cushion, which is a time for relaxation, concentration. So, I accepted the future would attend that, but for now just as just a ripple. Then, when I got up off the cushion, went to the fridge, found out I had some old rotten whatnot and what have you in one of those drawers, but it was no biggie, tossed it out. Its not permanent, just notice, look, toss. It happens! Don’t let it set up more pain by feeling cruddy for having them, having them is painful enough! The veggies are stinky enough, no need to stink up the mind with lamenting. Its just Ooops, huh?, ahh, shrug, grow. We try stuff to fix up the place, but accept that its our home the whole time, even the stinky bits. After all, how else would we find them?

    Namaste, friend, may you find equanimity.

    With warmth,

    Jennifer Bardall

    To me it’s a matter of accepting your flaws AS you try to change. In other words, not punishing yourself or beating yourself up for this perceived flaw, and accepting that this is a part of your personality that you wish to change because you feel as though it’s having a detrimental affect on your life and the lives of others.

    All the self-knowledge in the world means nothing without willingness to then make the changes we feel necessary. And sadly, we can apologize all we want, but that doesn’t erase what we’ve said. If you feel you’re hurting others, and that this makes you feel bad, by all means do everything you can do work through it.


    The fact that you ask this question, you are struggling with something within you. It must not feel right and probably difficult for you.

    On a positive note, you are aware.

    You don’t have to accept nor change at this moment. Do not force yourself to make a choice to accept or change.

    Perhaps you can empower yourself by reading more about the flaw you mentioned, is it common flaw? Are there people who has the same character flaw?
    As you go along this process of discovery, reflection and learning, acceptance and change can come along more naturally and permanently?

    I hope you feel better soon.


    I will explain through an analogy – Love your present apartment for its your haven but there is no harm in wanting an upgrade. There is no end to the houses you could get but if you arent happy in the house you are, it will all feel pointless and confusing.


    I also sometimes ask the question: is being self confident means to accept yourself with all your flaws and being comfortable with it OR realizing your negative aspects and acting towards improving them. And I kind of believe that being self confident is something in the middle. If one accepts his/her acts that cause disasters in his/her life and just carries on with doing them, well, its not a logical act right? I believe if you see any of your actions causing you feeling uncomfortable with yourself and your life, try to make it better. Not to cut out the whole feature from your personality but to improve it and reshape it untill it gets far away from being harmfull. There is nothing wrong with it.

    Big blue

    Hi Michael,

    I accept you. As is. I accept myself, too, and I am working hard to make some changes. A question for you: is there something common with the times when you lose your temper?

    I think for me it’s when I feel powerless like I did as a child, when mom, dad and our house were not in alignment with Leave it to Beaver, or Andy of Mayberry. Don’t get me started about my brothers…. 🙂 When I run into a big mess or toxic personalities, I may have little patience. I have been less than civil or nice sometimes. What’s missing or running near empty at that point is my compassion. Actually: My mom and dad did the best they could do at the time given their own challenges and opportunities. My brothers did too (I guess). And so did I. So I need to switch over to the other wing tank of compassion at that point, or hit the mountain, which is not good for anyone. Better to realize that everyone has problems, that we’re all worthy enough as is, and that we’re all worthy enough to make the effort to grow, too.

    Big blue

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.