Self Acceptance: Accepting Where you Are to Get to Where You’d Like to Be

Self acceptance is difficult. This is a subject I know something about. I’m a baker now and I have been for a while. But I’ve gone to school for a variety of different occupations. I began my college career as a social worker. After social work, I tried my hand at design and went to architecture school. Then when I found out that architects worked an 80 hour weeks, I decided to try my hand at writing.

Finding Your Way

So I earned my degree in English, with a communications minor. The plan was to write for a newspaper. I hadn’t given the idea a lot of thought, otherwise I may have looked around and realized that that wasn’t the most stable career choice. With newspapers becoming part of a bygone era. When I graduated, I didn’t have a backup plan for what I’d do if my career of choice didn’t pan out.

In my defense, I didn’t have a lot of guidance. None actually. I was taking stabs in the dark at what I thought might bring me a sense of satisfaction. I realize now a lot of the choices I made were ways of keeping me locked in a trauma cycle. Reliving parts of my past. But I still needed to find out how I was going to pay back the federal government for supporting me through my extended college years. And I had racked up quite the debt.

Doing What’s Easy Isn’t Always the Best Career Path

So I baked. It was easy because I was already doing it, and I was pretty good at it considering I had fallen into the job. Why I’m writing about it now is, that I’ve been thinking about what I’ll be doing in the next five years. And where I’d like to be in my career in the future.

I enjoy some aspects of baking. For example when you have a good bake and the ears (those pockets of dough that rise up on a loaf of bread), leaving an elegant envelope of smartly creased crust is satisfying. Seeing them all in a row, lined up down the length of the oven in a symmetrical pattern. That is a good feeling.

Ears on loaves of sourdough I baked

But there are some aspects of the job that aren’t so pleasant as well. For instance, my Serve Safe certificate that I had to recertify. In the online course I took, I never heard the term, fecal-oral route, used so many times in 8 hours. Then I was tested on it!

Switching Gears to Find a Fulfilling Career

It’s situations like these that are the drive behind my wanting to change careers. And it’s not that I’m avoiding self acceptance and where I’m at. I just don’t have the memories associated with baking that, I imagine most people do. The one that make them want to bake in the first place. I never watched my grandmother lovingly labor over baked goods. My grandmother was more the type to slam your thumb in the car door of an old Buick Regal at the tender age of 5. No bueno.

Which brings me to my most current iteration of my career outlook. I’m planning on going back for social work. I know the pitfalls of growing up in a family that is unstable at best. I feel as though I may have some wisdom to impart and the ability to tolerate horrific stories more than most. But to make it from bread baker to social worker, it’s going to take some maneuvering.

Self Acceptance is Accepting your Circumstances

When I was getting recertified for the serve safe certificate, I had to take an eight hour long course before taking the test. I found myself getting a little restless. As though I deserved to be elsewhere. Instead of stuck in front of a computer screen relearning what I already knew. I should be doing work that matters. But instead I heard the term, “fecal oral route” more times than I could count. And I just wanted to be done with the whole experience. Not just the test, but the early, cold mornings, the stressful environment, not getting any holidays off save for Christmas day, all of it. I was a little grumpy and definitely not in a frame of mind of self acceptance.

Then I took the test and got in the 95% and crossed the task off my todo list. I told the GM I would give him a link to the site so we could get other employees trained. And also got reimbursed for the price of the course. In short, I took care of myself. I took stock of the small accomplishments I achieved along the way. And I helped a few people in the process. It felt good to know that I could count on myself and achieve my goals, no matter how small they may seem.

Understanding Where You Are

Because it’s in these moments of understanding where you are and what you can do to make it better that brings you to a place of self acceptance. Of what needs to be done to move yourself forward. And that we build accountability to ourselves. Knowing that WE are the resource that is going to get us to where we want to be.

I could have kept putting off taking the exam. But knowing that I will take care of business, no matter how unpleasant the task may seem, moving forward by accepting where I am and pushing through, makes me feel as though I’m capable of achieving greater things. And I feel that it’s this mind set that ultimately will guide us to the places we’d like to be and self acceptance. Also while navigating through the here and now.

Making a Plan to Move Forward by Accepting Where You are

This may seem common sense to most. And honestly, I hope this is the case. But I’ve seen to many friends and loved ones stall in their lives because they had no one model the mindset of self acceptance and accepting where they were by using wise discernment. To devise a course of action and follow through with the plan.

God knows the role-models I had all complained about how so and so was doing them wrong. Or how unfair life is rather than practicing some self acceptance and taking accountability for their situation. That said, when you’ve experienced abuse it’s difficult to navigate the waters of accountability. And being in that category I have empathy for those making an honest go of moving forward. Regardless of how difficult it gets. And it gets weird at times. That’s for sure!

Wishing Things Were Different Make You Lose Sight Of Where You Are

And if you’re constantly wishing things were different and not accepting where you’re at, you may miss out on some of the tender moments along the way. I used to bake in Salem MA, so every Halloween there would be swarms of people descending on the city. My shift was the 3-11pm bake shift. At the end of my day I’d be sitting in the bakery waiting for my loaves to finish in the oven. Usually with the door cracked open to let the crisp autumn air in along with the sounds of merriment from the festivities happening around the city.

Drunk people would stumble by, asking for bread, make-up smeared in unintended ways while struggling with gravity. It was nice. If I stopped to think about how I didn’t want to be there in the first place or all the negative things that happened during the day, I may have missed those relaxing moments. Or how good my bake looked.

Self Acceptance, Never Give Up on Your Dreams

So Self acceptance is really another way of saying, never give up on your dreams. No matter how crazy they may seem. Because it’s when you accept where you’re at, that you’re able to organize your situation, make a plan to get out of it and move forward with your plans. But don’t forget to make room for the present while you’re chasing after your future goals. Because that’s where life is ultimately lived.

Self acceptance and accepting where you are leads to accountability, which leads to trust, which leads to ease, which leads to living in the present. Long story short, pay attention to your surroundings while you’re on your way and you may have some good stories to tell. Peace, and thanks for reading :]

For more on the topic of self acceptance, check out these articles:

Knowing What Support Looks Like

Self Worth is Not Determined by How Much You Do for Other

Image Credits: “Winding Path Draped in Mist” by Moose Winans is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Author: nolabelsliving

Social worker by day, blogger by night. I have a lot of lived experience which is why I started my blog. I was not given any direction when I started out on my journey, but have been blessed with some amazing support and guidance along the way. Just want to give back a little of what I've received : )

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