Letter from a Mother’s Heart 21.02.19
Self – Acceptance is powerful soft skill in a High Achiever’s quest.
Dear High Achievers
Self- acceptance is letting go of who you think you are supposed to be and embracing the person that you are. Life is full of imperfections and we spend our entire life working hard to make life perfect for us unfortunately we seem to be chasing the wind.
In our imperfect world we need to change the things we can and acceptance the things we cannot and make the most of our environment. Self acceptance is a journey and not a destination. When you accept and love who you are on the right path to being a high achiever
In respect to the skill of self acceptance I decided to share a story about Andrea Mai a legally blind photographer based in Toronto which inspired me and I thought you could pick a leaf from her experience as you work towards any aspect in your life that could hinder self acceptance in your own life.
When Andrea was in high school, she was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a rare genetic condition that affected her eyesight, causing extreme nearsightedness. This limited her ability to see clearly. She can't drive and things that are farther than a few inches look blurry to her.
When she was younger, all she wanted was to fit in and be perceived as "normal." In school, she pretended nothing was wrong. She scribbled in her notebook, pretending to copy notes from the chalkboard and flipped through pages of books she pretended to read during silent reading time.
After having an official diagnosis, she was relieved to know what her problem was and she decided to accept her condition up to some level. But this acceptance was up to some level and she was not confident enough to tell people about it and get help for it. She struggled throughout high school and university. Her family and herself sought out treatments in hope that it could improve her vision. But all this just proved to be a lack of acceptance of the situation.
It wasn't until she was about to get married that she felt that she needed to tell her future husband about her condition because it was not going to change anyway it was a birth defect. Her motivation for doing this was not about accepting her condition but to make sure he didn't think she was acting weird if she couldn't see him from a distance or if she needed help reading a restaurant menu or sign.
Later on, she decided to disclose her disability to her employers. She had never done so in the past, for fear of discrimination or being stigmatized. She hid it in case someone might doubt her abilities or question her competence to do the job. And she certainly did not want others to pity her. When she was offered a new job, she told her new boss about her disability and she eventually got used to having people around her knowing about her condition. Since her disability isn't obvious –she didn’t wear dark glasses indoors, or carry a white stick though at times it was apparent to people observant enough to notice that her pupils tend to look upwards, rather than remain centered. She would occasionally get comments from strangers asking what she was looking at, and if there was something wrong with their hair. Each time she revealed her condition she learnt to accept it more. When this happened a couple of times, she got over the embarrassment of her state.
As Andrea shared her condition and accepted who she was, she ceased to regard her disability as an inability. She decided to become a photographer. Her friends who knew that she is visually impaired were astounded by her photographs. They couldn't understand how she could be creating such fantastic work. One of them suggested that she told people about her disability because they found it inspiring. She decided that she would become even more open than before and disclose it publicly on her social media profiles. Today Andrea feels that she can openly discuss her disability because she has accepted herself just for who she is. It took most of her life so far to get here, but now she can look back and appreciate the journey she has taken to get to this place in her life.
Self-acceptance isn't something that happens overnight, but it's something one can consciously choose to adopt as their attitude through the practice of mindfulness. From time to time, we will be tested by life situations that will reveal just how much self-acceptance we really have for ourselves. And as time goes by, we may reach greater and higher levels of self-acceptance. Ultimately, it all really starts from a decision to tell yourself, "I love and accept myself." Loving and accepting yourself just the way you are would lead you to achieving great things in life.
Quote of the week: Great success and true happiness are by products of Self acceptance.
Director St. Mark’s College Namagoma