Recently, I have been doing a lot of thinking about acceptance. In fact, I wrote a blog post about how I gifted myself acceptance as my birthday present in February. However, over the last six months I realized that I haven’t been living up to my birthday present and that I wasn’t practicing acceptance.
My realization caused me to posit the questions “Is acceptance achievable? Or is it something that you are always reaching for if you are an ambitious person?”
Let’s dig deeper.
I have great difficulty celebrating my successes. Let me rephrase that: I have difficulty acknowledging my everyday successes and accepting them.
Sure, I have no problem celebrating my big successes. When I graduated with my master’s degree, I had a large family dinner, then a celebration with all of my friends, and to cap it off we took a well-earned, two-week summer vacation to France and Spain. I had a huge birthday party when I turned 40 because I felt turning 40 with the few wrinkles I have on my forehead was a huge success.
But what about my current successes
My coach actually asked me this question. I was talking in a session, and she point-blank stopped me and said “we’ve talked about this a lot in our engagement”. Then she asked, “why can’t you accept what you have accomplished? I know that you are an ambitious person, which is a good thing. You always want more, but what’s wrong with what you have?” That stopped me mid-dialogue and I wondered, why wasn’t I accepting what I have achieved? What a great coach!!
I started to think and make a list of what I have accomplished. Making lists is my go-to for processing the evidence that I need. (Then we got into a whole conversation of why I need lists as evidence, but that is another topic for another time)
This is what I came up with:
- I graduated from high school
- I graduated from college while maintaining a scholarship for all four years
- I went to work in the corporate world
- I bought a home
- I opened a retirement savings account
- I have health insurance
- I went back to school and got a master’s degree
- I have loving and supportive friends and family
- I travel nicely
- I have hobbies and interests that I love
- I have a successful business where I can pursue my passions of helping people live their best lives
All in all, I’d say that I am very accomplished and very successful. I looked at this list and quickly recognized that I need to accept where I am, as well as the hard work and perseverance that got me to my accomplishments. They didn’t happen because I have a great smile (I do, people tell me that all the time). They happened because I worked day and night to make them possible. That’s acceptance.
I really treasure that coaching session because not only did I recognize what I have accomplished, but I recognized the hard work I put into achieving my goals. They should be celebrated and accepted.
Where I lost sight and what I learned
I realized that by being an ambitious woman, I lost sight of the fact that I have great accomplishments and that I need to accept them. I also realized that having acceptance for what I have accomplished doesn’t mean that I have to stop striving for more. I don’t think I will ever stop doing that. So yes, while I own a home, maybe I can have a goal to buy a larger home, or a second/vacation home (in Spain).
Every success or accomplishment needs to be celebrated and accepted. Successes don’t just happen. You put in the effort and that effort deserves to be rewarded.
I lost sight of that and thanks to my coach, I learned that lesson again. I may need to learn it a few more times, but that is okay.
My new goal is to accept and celebrate my accomplishments. I learned that acceptance is achievable even if you are an ambitious person.