We all have certain undesirable thoughts, feelings, and habits we’d love to get rid of. And we tend to spend a lot of energy fighting against these experiences. But sometimes our path forward is accepting the undesirable.
To be sure, there are parts of our inner world that bring us shame.
For instance, we might hate ourselves for the anger or lust we feel, or for succumbing again to certain bad habits.
And our natural reaction is then to reject and deny that these parts have anything to do with the real us. But then we’re left frustrated and confused when these things persist.
As it has been said many times before, the first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is a problem. When we live in constant denial the space is never created to find a solution.
Denying our shameful parts does not change reality. We only block our path forward.
Accepting the reality of our desires and habits, however undesirable, allows us to discover a way forward.
This is not an excuse to indulge in sinful behaviors, but it opens the door to discern what the experience means for us.
Sometimes our undesirable parts function like messengers alerting us to larger realities.
Anger might speak to an injustice, while lust might speak to deeper desires for intimacy or beauty. And our bad habits might be our desperate coping strategies for a life spread too thin.
In merely eliminating the undesirable we kill the messenger but the problem remains. And eventually more messengers are sent, louder and more pervasive.
When we don’t accept the reality of every part of our inner world – the good, the bad, and the ugly – we remain stuck and the situation only grows worse.
Acceptance gives us the freedom to find a solution and move forward.
Accept the undesirable within, not as an excuse for bad behavior, but as a way forward in freedom.