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Certification candidate stumbles upon self acceptance

Behind every action, however ineffective, tragic, violent, or abhorrent to us, is an attempt to meet a need. 

Marshall Rosenberg

Meeting needs – Self Acceptance

Most lists of needs include Self Acceptance. I take this need to mean how well I am able to accept myself as I am, even when I behave in a way I come to regret. Recently, I was invited to assess my progress towards NVC certification using the Self Assessment Matrix  (“Pathways to Liberation” by Jim and Jori Manske, Jacob Gotwals and Jack Lehman). I wasn’t surprised to find several categories where I have work to do. There were a couple of categories where I assessed myself as “Integrated”, which is what we are aiming for. One of the categories, where I was pleased with my assessment, was Self Acceptance. What particularly interested me about this is that it wasn’t always the case, and I had never chosen to work towards integrating Self Acceptance, I didn’t tackle it “head on”; it seemed to have happened as a side effect of other choices I made.

I have been wondering about the benefits of Self Acceptance and how I gained it. I don’t have a complete self-development programme, but I do believe I have suggestions some will find useful.

The benefits I have identified so far

Self Acceptance makes it far easier for me to acknowledge and “own” mistakes without collapsing into shame. I am much less likely to make excuses, deny what happened or try to blame someone else. Shame, once a familiar companion, has become unusual.

I am able to trust myself to be spontaneous and authentic.

I am much more compassionate with myself, believing I am worthy. When I act in a way I come to regret, am able to allow myself to feel the regret and remind myself I am a human being trying to get my needs met.

Moving towards Self Acceptance

Inspired by a friend I heard speak several years ago, I have chosen to try and live in a way I believe to be ethical. I considered what my values are and have tried to live to those values, even when to do so might seem to not be in my best interest, in the short term at least. A crude example would be the choice I make if I notice a shopkeeper accidentally gave me £10 too much change. I can make all sorts of arguments and justifications for keeping the £10, or I can choose to point out the mistake and return the money.I have chosen to always try to be honest with myself and about myself. I had a useful insight into honesty a few years ago. I believe honesty is important, and also that it is important to be kind. By focusing my honesty on myself, I believe I have found balance with kindness.

When life has offered difficult challenges I have tried to “show up”, to accept a challenge and perhaps be transformed by the experience.

I believe the choices I have made, contribute to meeting my needs for Honesty, Integrity, Compassion and Kindness. I don’t think I would gain Self Acceptance if I was knowingly acting in a way that was against my values. If I continued to behave in ways that were not in tune with my values, I don’t believe affirmations would have been helpful.


Reference: page [retrieved 4th March 2018].

Reflections from NVC Trainer Certification Candidate – Mike Coyote

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