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Rule 4: Accept Yourself

If you accept that what’s done is done, you are left with yourself exactly as you are. You can’t go back and change anything, so you’ve got to work with what you’ve got. I’m not suggesting anything New Age here such as love yourself—that’s far too ambitious. No, let’s begin with simple accepting. Accepting is easy because it is exactly what it says—accepting. You don’t have to improve or change or strive for perfection. Quite the opposite. Just accept.

That means accepting all the warts and emotional lumps and bumps, the bad bits, the weaknesses and the rest of it. This doesn’t mean we are happy with everything about ourselves, or that we are going to be lazy and lead a bad life. We are going to accept the way we are, initially, and then build on that. What we are not going to do is beat ourselves up because we don’t like some bits. Yes, we can change lots, but that will come later. We’re only up to Rule 4 here.

This has to be a Rule because there can be no choice here. We have to accept that we are the way we are—the result of everything that has happened. It all just is. You, like me, like all of us, are human. That means you’re pretty complex. You come fully loaded with desires, anguish, sins, pettiness at times, mistakes, ill temper, rudeness, deviation, hesitation, and repetition. That’s what makes a human being so wonderful, the complexity. None of us can ever be perfect. We start with what we’ve got and who we are, and then we can only make a choice, each day, to strive for some kind of better. And that’s all they can ask of us—to make that choice. To be awake and aware, to be ready to do the right thing. And accept that some days you aren’t going to make it. Some days you will, like all of us, fall far short. That’s okay, don’t beat yourself up. Pick yourself up and start again. Accept that you will fail from time to time and that you are human.

I know it can be hard at times, but once you have picked up the gauntlet of becoming a Rules Player, you’re well on the path to improvement. Stop finding fault with yourself, or giving yourself a hard time. Instead, accept that you are what you are. You’re doing the best you can at this point in time, so give yourself a pat on the back and press on.

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