We are really good at creating masks, personalities even, that carefully hide who we really are.
We constantly seek love from others, we want people to be kind, caring, affectionate with us, but: how is it that you treat yourself? Are you kind, caring and affectionate with yourself? How do you speak to yourself in your inner chatter? Do you love yourself? We cannot love ourselves if we don’t accept ourselves first. I know it sounds harsh but I believe it to be true. Hence the question: what is it that you don’t accept about yourself and why? What is it that you try to hide from others? What do you feel shame for? Chances are that you have learnt very early on that some of your traits are less desirable, less appreciated or less lovable. Perhaps your parents could not stand a certain attitude, or maybe you were told that you would have more success in life without a certain aspect of yourself, or that people would not like that specific behaviour of yours. We learn to hide parts of the self in many different ways, and they are all painful.
In fact, this sophisticated scaffolding comes with a price: to sacrifice who we are to please others creates a massive conflict within us.
I am sure that you all know how excruciating it is to fight with the parts of ourselves that we don’t accept. At the beginning they might stay put into their hiding place, but sooner or later they will try to force their way out, to seek your attention, and they may end up right in front of you. It could be the most insecure side of you, or the angry one, or the hurt one; it could be your rebellious side, or the most free part of you, or a softer side. The list is endless as in fact we all reject different parts of ourselves for different reasons. What we have in common is that we are all influenced by a judgemental belief system that works in a binary way: we are either good or bad, right or wrong, things are either black or white. There’s no middle ground and it’s really hard to live up to these unrealistic standards. What if there’s more though? What if we can embrace a more complex reality where we allow the greys to happen? It was Madonna who sang:
You only see what your eyes want to see
How can life be what you want it to be?
You’re frozen when your heart’s not open
You’re so consumed with how much you get
You waste your time with hate and regret
You’re broken when your heart’s not open…
….You hold the key.
We need to open our heart and live from the heart.
We can be so many things at the same time: good and bad, right and wrong, black and white. We need to see ourselves for who we really are, not just a portion of it. Thank god we are imperfect, ambivalent and contradictory! That’s ok, there’s nothing to be scared of. I have to admit, my job gives me a pretty privileged position: every day I speak to people who struggle with it and I understood they we are all in the same boat! You are not alone…if only we could all understand it, it would be so much easier for all of us: we all have the same fears, we all hide parts that we don’t like, we all suffer for it. Even those who seem to be so pulled together and popular, guess what, they feel the same. Is it worth it? I don’t think so. I think that we could all benefit from some self-indulgence here. Stop resisting and open your heart to yourself with compassion and understanding. Imagine seeing a friend that you haven’t seen in a long time and opening your arms to welcome them; isn’t it a wonderful moment? It can be so utterly liberating to finally invite in the hidden parts of the self, to welcome and accept them. Dare being who you really are, the world needs you to be whole so that you can do what you are here to do.