The Paradox of Mindfulness: Accepting Yourself as You Are

The Paradox of Mindfulness: Accepting Yourself as You Are

  • October 14, 2013

An essential attitude of Buddhist psychology is to recognize that at your very core, you are good and pure. This inherent worth, or Buddha nature, is present at birth and stays with you through life. The Buddhist concept of “original goodness” stands in sharp contrast to the Christian belief of “original sin.” When you start from the perspective of what’s wrong, you strive to compensate or fill the void in endless pursuits of proving worth. But when you start from the viewpoint of what’s not wrong, you accept yourself as you are, with your various flaws and imperfections.

When seeing through the lens of non-judgmental awareness, rather than looking at yourself in a court of opinion, bracing yourself for criticism; you look at yourself in an arena of neutrality, embracing yourself with compassion. This safe haven enables you to work with distressing thoughts and disturbing emotions because they do not define your worth. You are then able to bring your attention to the work ahead and have the capacity to stay engaged.

You apply this key principle of “original goodness,” to every step on your journey to “wholeness.” You take as your trusted comrade a spirit of gentleness, kindness, and compassion. As you traverse the open path, you begin to accept yourself as you are, not how you should or shouldn’t be.

By changing perspective from what’s wrong to what’s not wrong, you shift out of the position of judgment into the state of acceptance. Rather than moving away from yourself, you’re moving toward yourself. Instead of holding on to fight for what you need to protect and defend, you let go and surrender to the unfolding process of being. You understand the meaning of the paradox: Not until you accept yourself for who you are, are you free to change.

Not until you accept yourself
for who you are,
are you free to change

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