Loving the unlovable.
The more I sit with this, the more I feel that so much of our suffering in world is rooted in judgement and intolerance. When we strip that back, we start to see this real lack of acceptance, and when we backtrack further again, we’ll find that this lack of acceptance starts within each one of us individually. We don’t or won’t or can’t accept ourselves; something about us is not ok to us. Maybe it’s how we look. How we get depressed. The chronic pain we experience. How we can’t stay calm in stressful situations. The sexual trauma we endured. How we were bullied. How we bully others. Our social anxiety. How we can’t express emotion. How we express too much emotion. How our inner world is in total conflict with our outer world. The fact that we’re failing in some way, in work, in relationships, in life in general. Some part of us is not ok, not enough; is broken or damaged or unworthy.
And of course, we live in this society that perpetuates the message that this darkness, this shadow side is not ok; that these unloveable, unacceptable parts for ourselves really are unloveable and unacceptable, and so we get further separated and cut off from the world. Why would we ever show up as the real, full, truthful version of ourselves when we know we’ll just be rejected for it, right?
It begins within each of us individually as we choose to turn toward the murky shadows rather than try bury or escape them. When we are accepting of these imperfections in ourselves, we are much more accepting of them in others. When we’re ok with all of who we are, we’re much more likely to be ok with of all of who someone else is. We accept. We don’t have to love or even like, but we accept. Warts, issues, imperfections, baggage and all.
I teach mindfulness and mental wellness for a living and still at times experience compete mental and emotional overwhelm, fly off the handle, get caught in judgment (of myself and others) fall into negative thought habits, self soothe with food and wine, overthink, get caught in fear and self-doubt. I do. And what I know is this: when I refuse to accept those elements of myself, I suffer more. I judge and condemn myself and tell stories about how i shouldn’t be like this; that I’m a fraud and a failure.
Bull. Actual. Shit.
There’s no failure in any of the above, just the human experience with all its messiness and challenge. And I think this message that gets perpetuated that we have to be in total control of ourselves and our minds at all times is an especially dangerous one. None of us live in the light all the time, we just don’t. Because we’re not enlightened beings, we are spirit having a human experience and part of that experience is having this wonky, human mind and all that comes with it.
This is a day by day, moment by moment way of living, of noticing when we’re in pain and gently asking “what part of myself am I’m not willing to accept right now?”. And when we have the courage to bring that kind of mindful presence to those shadows, what tends to happen is that they lose intensity, the kind of melt in the presence of loving awareness and acceptance.
“Because true belonging can only happen when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance” ~ Brené Brown