During my freshman year in college, our college basketball team (which I was a member of) was one of the worst in the league of teams we played. With the exception of an exhibition game that we barely won, I don’t remember us winning any games during my freshman year. In my sophomore year, while we still ended up with a losing season, our number of games won increased significantly and the games we did lose, the points difference was much lower on average compared to the previous year. These years gave me lessons on the true meaning of unconditional self-acceptance.
Looking back, I was able to identify a significant factor that helped us as a team become more competitive. The factor was this; we had collectively and openly became more accepting and appreciative of how much better the other teams on our schedule were compared to us. I remember how we would complain among ourselves every time our coach reminded us we were going up against more athletic teams and we needed to rely mostly on our fundamentals. We discussed us among ourselves in his absence and the consensus was clear, we found it insulting and demeaning that he had declared the other teams on our schedule to be more athletic than we were, even though we knew it was true. It wasn’t after back to back humbling defeats that our attitudes changed, and we reflected on our style of play in the following season.
There should be no shame in being able to accept that you are competing with anyone who has more merit than you. There should be no shame in accepting when you have failed at a task or in an attempt to comprehend some information. This type of acceptance is very important because it helps you to identify what your strengths and weaknesses are and what specifically you need to improve on.
Fear of failure, as a significant barrier to self-acceptance
It’s dangerous for anyone to develop such a phobia of failing at anything or looking badly before others at failing at anything that they resort to a deluded mindset where they tell themselves how smart they, and so on and so forth. In your fantasy world failure may be beneath you, but in real life, you would only have experience in accomplishing very little.
If you recognize yourself as being too prideful in following through on difficult challenges, particularly those that are life-changing, perhaps it’s time to start accepting your flaws as a cherished part of who you are, otherwise known as unconditional self-acceptance. Unconditional self-acceptance does not mean that accepting your flaws as a human being equates to doing nothing about your flaws. Unconditional self-acceptance means that your self worth is based on the simple fact that you exist. So with this belief in mind, your worthiness does not increase or decrease based on accomplishments or failures.
All human constructs of hierarchy and worthiness assigned to people, such as those based on the family they were born into and their personal accomplishments are considered artificial and have no bearing on your true worthiness as a human being. This does not mean that in the event you bring harm unto others that you are above consequence, or that you are undeserving of praise when you accomplish something noteworthy, however, regardless of your actions your worth as a human being remains unchanged.
So imagine if you stopped over-inflating your strengths in your head and genuinely accepted yourself as you are? What would change?
Therapy and coaching in Arizona
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions a counseling and life coaching practice in Tucson, Arizona. Ugo helps individuals and families in office and online. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book an appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.