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Unconditional Self-Acceptance with Video

Beginning in childhood, all I saw were my faults and imperfections, not my gifts. I thought my unique personality was flawed. Being a stubborn lad, I decided to show my father, friends, and the world how lovable and memorable I was. I went out into the world, determined to be whomever I needed to be to fit in. I didn’t know that I wouldn’t feel accepted by others if I didn’t accept myself. When I let go of seeking outside myself, the right people started to show up in my life to embrace my uniqueness as I would embrace theirs. It was challenging in the beginning. I had to catch myself when I found I was trying to change myself to fit in.

We all have shortcomings. Recognizing that this is part of being human took away a lot of my shame, self-judgment, and comparing myself to others. It allowed me to begin the vital work of unconditional self-acceptance.

I committed to treating myself with kindness, unconditional self-compassion, and self-acceptance to the best of my ability. Love blossomed in this fertile soil, and I began to stop blaming and criticizing myself. I also committed to only having close relationships with people who knew and fully accepted the real me.

To fully accept ourselves, we must courageously acknowledge the harm we’ve done to ourselves and others. We must be willing to share all of our darkness with someone we trust to be free of it. Without the practice of unconditional self-acceptance, I wouldn’t have been able to look at myself objectively, forgive myself and others, and become my best friend.


 “A certain darkness is needed to see the stars.” [i] ~ Osho, mystic, founder of the Rajneesh movement


This compassion allowed me to accept my human self, with all its imperfections, in one hand and my divine self in the other. I was able to silence the voice of self-judgment and begin to live authentically.

The Critical Voice

The critical voice whispers the compulsive, destructive thoughts that block our recovery, spiritual growth, emotional intelligence, and joy for life. Another name for this voice of self-judgment is the superego. Would you be friends with anyone who said the negative shit we tell ourselves? No— of course not!

Judgment arises automatically in our minds. We didn't decide we will judge ourselves or others. We are not doing it deliberately. Our mind is doing it. Hence, we take responsibility - not by not having judgments, and definitely not by telling ourselves, we shouldn't be judgmental. Instead – we notice the judgment and get curious about it by asking questions.

What parts of me do I not accept, and liked about myself?

What is the underlying belief, and when did that belief get started?

So our judgments are not bad things, they're guides to where we are still resenting and rejecting ourselves. Get curious. Be the observer. It was how we developed greater compassion for ourselves.

Comparing myself and clean time to others used to be one of my favorite self-punishments that provided me an excuse to continue to self-medicate. It took years of self-awareness to stop the insanity of the superego and its self-destructive patterns. Today I understand that the critical voices are just like any of our thoughts, just like birds chirping in a tree, clouds floating by in the sky, the wind rustling the leaves, or cars passing on a busy freeway. They have no permanence as long as we let go of our resistance and belief that thoughts are who we are.

I could not have done it without the help from my mentors, friends in recovery, and myself to recognize when I would fall into the old pattern of putting myself down.

Love Begins With Us

Paul Noiles

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