Mental Wrestling: Acceptance vs. Development.
My first post that’s not about tennis!
This is a topic that’s been on my mind recently. Here are some of the questions I’m thinking about: how can I truly accept myself as a person if I’m constantly improving? If I strive to develop as a person, is that a form of me not accepting my current myself? How can I identify a bad habit? If I identify a bad habit, can I only accept myself if I eliminate this habit or can I love myself regardless?
I know the above is very abstract, so I’m going to make this more tangible. Get ready people were diving deep.
We all play the role of God when it comes to how we feel.
The interesting thing about humans is that I don’t have to like the same thing that another person likes. If I label eating gummy worms as a bad habit, it doesn’t mean my sister Hannah has to (y’all already know she does though. Shoutout to hanzros). It’s up to each person to decide what rules structure their own lives.
So, I decided that eating gummies and other sugary, incredible creations from god is a bad habit (well, I never truly made this conscious decision). When I do indulge, I see this as a temptation into instantaneous utility and one that does not benefit Ben Rosen in the long term. Over and over again, I eat these gummies because I love them! But, after I eat them (hell, while I’m eating them), I am asking myself why I gave in so easily, but these things are fuego.
SO THERE’S THE CONTEXT.
OPERATION: FIND PEACE OF MIND.
The Ultimate Fork in The Road: Do I stop eating gummies or accept that I like these things?
It’s a dilemma where I’m not sure what I truly want. I have a voice telling me inside not to eat these gummies because it’s just wrong, but meanwhile, I’m loving these things. Do I accept my inside voice or do I accept my present-moment self?
This whole time I’m shaking my head because gummies are such a stupid example. Eating well (and staying away from gummies) is actually something I struggle with, so this is a personal example, but this can really be applied to many more personal things that am not quite ready to share on the internet. I’m sure everyone has these habits that are guilty pleasures.
OK brosen, let’s talk solutions to this puzzle.
I think I have come up with an answer to apply to my life:
It doesn’t matter which “voice” or “opinion” is right. I should accept and love myself regardless. I think too many times I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. If I go on a diet, I strive for a 30-day juice cleanse with no food and 8 hours of exercise everyday. Of course I’m joking, but sometimes I have trouble accepting an intermediate solution. I don’t know if it’s because I want to impress myself or other people, but I’m really a go-big or go-home type of dude. (I’m not fond of this, but I’m trying to accept this part of myself. I’m trying to change it gradually but in the meantime, I’m okay with this. <— wow this is basically inception because this is a puzzle inside a puzzle inside…). Instinctively, I love to challenge myself, which is why I sometimes feel that eliminating all gummies from my life would be awesome, but I forget that there are smaller, but significant victories that can be won too.
When I experience these small victories of not indulging, I’d like to appreciate them. It’s okay if I do not completely eradicate all bad habits that I have. Some habits are worse than others too. It would not be right to put stealing a car and eating gummies in the same category. Sure, they are both bad, but eating gummies is unquestionably worse than stealing a car. I think this is further evidence that there are more options than just “good” and “bad”. There’s many intermediary steps in between. Similarly, we don’t need to completely stop eating gummies forever. Even though it makes me feel good because I’m challenging myself to never eat gummies again, it’s not realistic or necessary. I want to be less judgmental, more accepting, and more aware of what I truly like.
Maybe the best solution is to indulge one less time per week. Actually, I’d really rather not live my life by a rule like this because it sounds like I’m a parent who’s disciplining myself, when in fact it’s just me. Plus, the goal of this is peace of mind, and creating more rules may lead to exacerbated mental conflict. Instead, I think I’ll appreciate the moment when I don’t indulge. I’ll notice how I feel when I don’t get tempted and be attentive to whether or not I miss the “bad” habit. Also, so far, I’ve noticed that there are times when I only kind-of want to eat candy, but sometimes I have my whole heart behind this cause. I’m going to try to be aware of this non-binary temptation scale.
As I wrote this, I realized that my decision to partake in habits really does not have any impact on my self-acceptance. It should really be a prerequisite before I make any decision, if anything. I’m going to listen to my heart. If I choose to indulge, I’m going to be aware of my thoughts and whether I’m happy I did that. If I find myself not completely wanting to indulge, I’m going to wait for another time and evaluate how I feel having resisted the urge. Either way, I’d like to be easier on myself.
Moral of the story:
- Accept myself from the beginning.
- It can be a mistake to label things on a binary scale: GOOD or BAD
- I shouldn’t hate myself for indulging in a temptation. Appreciate the temptation itself and the satisfaction received.
- Appreciate the small victories when I don’t indulge in the tempting habit. Maybe I’ll receive an extra bit of esteem from this.
- Things aren’t just black and white: there are bad habits that are way worse than others.
I think it’s very important to remember that everybody lives by their own code. That’s what makes it so cool. This is how I am going to try making decisions. But, you should read this and develop your own preferences. Maybe the binary scale works for you, but I’m just not that decisive.
PSA: if you like stealing cars, i got nothing against ya