Being honest with who you are and how you feel can be intensely difficult in the absence of love. Being criticised, judged or ignored closes us down to the softness that only love can ignite. Yet before we blame others for how they’ve caused us to feel, perhaps in a moment of quiet reflection we can see how the truth of what we hold in our heart is projected into our external world. It is not others that find us un-loveable, it is our inner critic who is struggling to love the mystery of who we really are.
In the dark moans of a February night, at the time when the ionosphere suppresses the gravitational density of the planet I find myself awake. Sometimes the night feels wonderfully comforting. Like a soft velvet blanket that wraps itself tenderly around my body, urging me to sleep. Sometimes the night feels so vast that the enormity of life’s challenges feel overwhelming.
Sometimes I allow my tormented mind to run riot, thoughts screaming abuse, hurling insults like freshly sharpened spears into my raw aching heart. Sometimes, not often, the need to have a positive outlook, adorn my face with a beaming smile and acknowledge the hundred and one reasons to feel grateful feels like a bitter pill. Every now and then I want to wallow – wallow in my bucket of self-pity and not have to ‘put on a brave face’! I want to cry like a banshee until my body aches from feeling wretched.
The deep shame I have felt over the years for these black moods has caused me to hide away from the world until I am battle ready for the next leg in my journey. I don’t like anyone knowing me in these moments, I don’t like even witnessing myself in these moments. To be blunt I don’t like myself at all when I’m like this.
I used to wonder whether I was the only one to feel this way. Facebook enables us to become a voyeur into people’s lives and their perfect moments of everyday reality are gift-wrapped and tied with pink ribbon. Everyone looks like they are having a ball. Do people look at my status updates and think that my life is a glorious bed of roses sprinkled with fairy dust?
In my line of work, there is an unspoken pressure amongst my peers that we must ‘walk our talk’. We ‘have to’ demonstrate that we possess all the resources to accomplish whatever our heart desires.
We are human beings and that means we are battling with emotions, issues, ego and all sorts of challenges. During our darkest moments we are being offered an invitation to develop and grow. In our pain and suffering we are being shown the importance of humility and compassion. When we are rejected in relationships we are receiving a lesson that the person doing the rejection is our self. We reject or bury aspects of our personality that tarnish the glossy image that we wish to exude to the world. When we feel scared to speak our truth we feel a great need to be recognised and validated for who we really are rather than who we are portraying. When we look in the mirror and wish we had more hair, less wrinkles, a slimmer fitter body and all that aesthetic stuff, we find it easier to judge and reject rather than embrace the imperfection within our perfect psyche.
The bits of you and the bits of me that we loathe are like little vulnerable children crying out for love. The more we can love and accept these parts of our personality the more we expand our capacity to love. It’s easy to love loveable people. It’s easy to love the loveable aspects of our own psyche. But when we can feel at peace with the totality of our humanness then life feels more loving and our hearts open and swell.
I try to find a perception of people that I can love. With some people it’s very easy and with others it’s not. I think about men who have disappointed me, business partners who have let me down, friends that hurt me. Only when I can see their goodness can I feel more at peace. When you can latch onto a loving perception it changes everything. But I’ve never really applied this philosophy to myself. After years of self-criticism and secret self-loathing I think the penny has finally dropped.
It’s ok to have these shameful parts. It’s ok not to be perfect. It’s ok to feel negative and down from time to time. The more we resist aspects of self the more they persist and that’s when we become even harder on ourselves.
If I can learn to love and accept myself (I’m work in progress), then will you accept my invitation to love and accept yourself?