Romans 15:7: “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”

God is Creator of all things. It’s one thing not giving Him any credit for His creation. It’s quite another to know He created everything and not accepting it. And yet, that’s what we do when we reject each other.

I will not lie to you, accepting is no easy thing when it comes to accepting people, and it starts with accepting oneself. I can only speak for myself when I say that accepting myself has been a work in progress. However, I know one thing: without accepting myself I have found it hard if not impossible to get close to other people. Self-acceptance is well-worth our attention since it enables us to accept others too. All good relationships are built on mutual acceptance and trust.

So, let’s take a closer look at self-acceptance. How have you liked yourself lately? How have you treated yourself recently? And what do you think of yourself secretly? Believe me: what you think of yourself secretly is not so secret. It’s more of an open secret. People can see it in your eyes, in your demeanor. It’s often the first impression people get when they see you walking up to them. So, you can hide a million skeletons in your closet, but you can’t really hide the fact whether or not you like yourself.

Accepting yourself comes before liking yourself.

It’s a funny thing that very young children, before they become self-conscious and self-aware, instinctively like themselves. I remember how happy I was as a little kid that I was born a girl. “Girls are so much prettier than boys” I thought, “I’m so glad I’m a girl!” Well, this innocent confidence was gone by the time I shifted into my teenage years. As a budding teenager I questioned the status quo – that’s what all teenagers do – and I also questioned the way I looked and what types of talents I brought to the table. Unfortunately, it took most of my adulthood to snap out of a rather negative self-assessment. Self-critique is pointless if it has only one purpose in mind: to put oneself down.

Assessing our qualities and flaws and acknowledging the assessment with an accepting nod: “Yup that’s me!” is an important step into adulthood. It’s part of growing up. As a young adult I hated the fact that I wasn’t good at math while being unappreciative of my artistic talents. Looking back, I think my deranged point of view came from witnessing how hard it was to make a living as a single parent. Our amazing mother pulled it off, but it also made me wonder how in the world was I supposed to support myself as a starving artist? It wasn’t until recently that I threw some of these concerns overboard. It is unfortunate that it took so long, but better now than never, right?

Finally pursuing the dreams I had put on hold for so long, I find that accepting oneself is the basis to all of that. Being a working artist is impossible without self-acceptance. The same applies to you as you put to work your particular talents. We got to accept our talents first before putting them to work. And as we do, we will finally develop our talents. And what a blessing that is to the world around us – and I’m sure it makes God smile.