Learning to Accept the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

With the end of the year now fast approaching, no doubt there is always an avalanche of content about how we can reflect over the year past and get ready for the year ahead. Boring. This is not one of those.

For men who have had a sh*tty year, it’s gone, leave it, don’t bother reflecting. For men who have had a great year, forget it, it’s gone, don’t bother reflecting.

Accept where you are, right now, this very moment, not yesterday, not an hour ago, not tomorrow, not next year, but right here, right now, in this very moment, whatever it is.

Living ‘here’ is the only place you can ever be.

But Steve, surely I need to learn from my past mistakes, so that I don’t make them again. Sure, ok, do that. And what if I’ve been doing great things, surely I need to keep doing them so I can have another great year. Ok, sure, do that too.

But never ever forget that the only place you can ever be is right here right now, with all of who you are.

If you can learn to accept who you are — the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything little piece in between, the moods, the anger, the joy, the sadness, the successes, the failures, and the swings between all these things, then you are in the moment, NOT TRYING TO CHANGE A THING.

But wait, if I don’t change, then nothing will change. What about that saying, “if you keep doing the things you’ve always done, then you’ll get what you’ve always got”. Sure ok, that’s true.

But the one variable in all of this is you.

Live now. Accept where you are now. Stop trying to fix it, heal it, transform it. Stop trying to make everything better than it currently is. Acceptance is the key.

But doesn’t that lead to complacency and a blasé attitude?
Only if you allow it to.

I’ve learned this the hard way. I am who I am, like it or not. I am a combination of my past experiences and choices. Everything that I have done, every decision I’ve made, every situation I have been through and experienced, has brought me to where I am today.

There is definitely value in understanding how I got to where I am. But to accept who I am, I mean everything little piece of me, is the hardest thing in the world to do. But that is where the transformation and healing pathway is.

The controlling, manipulative, whinging, cranky, gnarly parts of me, are still me. As much as I might not want them to be there. As much as I may have tried to eradicate these aspects of me from my life, only by honest acceptance, can I do anything about them.

I’m not saying I am my behaviour. I’m not saying, “I’m an a$$hole and if you don’t like it, then too bad”. What I am saying is, if I only accept the lighter parts of me, the best parts of me, the parts of me that I like and that others like — and ignore, resist or avoid the darker aspects of me, I do myself a disservice, and keep myself stuck in those parts that I refuse to accept and address.

If I only accept myself as a confident, calm, compassionate, happy, trustworthy man, or whatever characteristics I choose to substitute those words for, I am a half-man, living a half-life, and wondering why the hell things are not working out for me.

Men who willingly accept all of who they are, are men who can work with all of who they are.

Once I accept those parts of me that I’m not so proud to admit and own up to, can I start to bring them out of the shadow and into the light of healing and transformation? If I keep them in the dark, hidden and unacknowledged, with unlove and hatred, I keep giving them power.

But what of self-love? When I choose to only see and love the parts of me that I like, I continue to walk around as a wounded, dysfunctional man. But when I love and accept all of who I am, the good, the bad and the ugly, shame cannot get in and undermine my existence, because I have its number.

I like the way Russell Brand puts it in his book “Freedom from our addictions”. He asks the question, “are you a but f*cked”? if we are honest with ourselves, all of us as some level are a bit this way. And all of us need support and guidance and help us become our best selves.

There are three types of men. One is the man who withdraws, live in shame, avoids responsibility and blames everything around him. The other is the man who controls, overpowers, over-achieves and dominates. Both are trying to deal with their wound. One is the wounded boy. The other is the wounded warrior.

Both are half men, showing only their good bits, but secretly hating those parts of themselves that they desperately hope no one else sees?

The third type of man is the man who accepts all of who he is. He loves and accepts himself no matter what. He’s not egotistical, but he is willing to be humble, vulnerable, compassionate and kind to himself when he needs to be. In this state, he can become proud of who he is, and show up in the world as his true self. This is how healing happens.

It’s not until you accept all of who you are, that you can begin to love all of who you are and become all of who you can be.

It’s only when you can love and accept all of you, that you can become the man that you dream of being, the man who others want to be around, and the man who brings out the best in himself.

The good, the bad and the ugly.

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