Thursday, January 30, 2014

Musings: Self Acceptance

Something that has come up in conversation frequently in recent times between Chris and I has been the issue of self acceptance. The past year or so has been a massive leap forward for us in our lives, and has thrown so many new things at us. While numerous good things have come through, the testing times of living out of home, living together and university have also bought forward traits that we are not so fond of. Some of these we come to realise and can overcome with a bit of positive thinking, while others are traits that are simply just parts of our personality. At times, this can be challenging to accept - but hey, we can't all be perfect. It is no quick process, but I am coming to terms with realising that this is who I am, this is how I roll. Heck, it may not be elegant and fun all the time, but this is me. Talking about this with Chris - who is also going through a similar thought process - makes realisation a whole lot easier.

Studying Psychology at university has also helped me realise that this is completely normal, even if at times I feel like everything is wrong with me and self doubt is filling up my thoughts. Adolescence is a time of identity crisis and confusion, and I am coming to the end of that (I am in denial that I am turning 21 in less than a month!). Erikson's theory of Psychosocial Development defines the teenage years as a conflict of Identity and Role Confusion, with identity being something we must resolve in order to develop normally in adult life. Upon reading this and similar developmental theories, this whole 'self acceptance' deal has become a bit easier. And a bit more important.
As part of my summer goals I challenged myself to read five books. Somehow, I came up with the idea to read Eat, Pray, Love, after watching the movie a couple of years ago. I know, I am pretty far behind the times - this book and all the inspiration that comes with it has probably already come up in your newsfeed a long time ago! However, I am finding the author's approach to finding happiness, and henceforth finding herself again, is something that is echoing in my own life at the moment. And allowing myself to accept me as who I am, with all my faults and ridiculous traits, is a step in the right direction.
Another noteworthy piece of literature which I feel also applies in my current state of things is a quote from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird:
"They are certainly entitled to think that, and they're certainly entitled to full respect for their opinions, but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself."
I don't know why I felt compelled to share this with the online world, but this has been spinning around my head a lot recently. I have read a few posts recently that have been along similar lines, so perhaps that was a bit of point in the right direction for me.

(Also, on a complete side note, I recently wrote an article for the fantastic UniMelb Adventures blog about my experience of moving out of home for university!)

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