Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance is the first step to holiness. But for many the path to self-acceptance can be arduous. Men, women, and children in ethnic or social minorities, with physical disabilities, with dysfunctional family backgrounds, with addictions, or those who feel unattractive, uneducated or undesirable may struggle for many years before accepting themselves as beloved children of God.

But the journey is essential. Many gay men and lesbians, for example, have told me that the real beginning of their spiritual path was accepting themselves as gay men and women — that is, the way that God made them. Coming to see themselves in this way, and, more important, allowing God to love them as they are, not as society might want them to be, or think they should be, is an important step in their relationship with God.

“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” says Psalm 139. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God loves us as we are because that’s how God made us.

— James Martin, S. J., The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, p. 380-381.

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