Wild Zen Mama writes: “I struggle in relationships in my life, and I think my relationship with myself is the key. How can I find peace and joy with my relationships with others when I have yet to find it with myself ("flaws" and all)? Or in your case, are there ways that you accept others that you can apply to accepting yourself? I would be interested in hearing any insight you have on this.”
I’ve been thinking about that a lot. I’m generally an accepting person. I take people as they are. Unless they really push their views on me, which I don’t appreciate, I’m open to learning about them and I trust that their path is their own and thus right for them. Quester and a friend of his were recently discussing trust. His take was: “I trust people. I trust them to be as human and flawed and creative and changeable as I am.” I agree.
Part of it is about control. I recognize that I can’t control other people, nor do I want to. I believe that people have different truths and that diversity is a valuable thing. Sharing our paths is fun and enlightening, but I have no desire to tell someone what should be true for them or how to live. Including, and perhaps especially, my kids. I know they have to figure it out themselves. So, why don’t I give myself the same latitude?
Perhaps it’s the notion that it’s part of our job as humans to “control ourselves,” to “master” and “discipline” ourselves. Yikes. That sounds kind of creepy. But, a lot of times, that’s what we do. We try to control our way of being with diets and goals and schooling and long lists of things to accomplish. Our intentions may be wonderful – to feel healthy and fit, to achieve a long-cherished dream, to Do Good Work – but what about the effect on our tender psyches?
I’m not arguing for not having goals. I’m advocating for a gentler approach. I want to accept myself fully in each moment. Even if I don’t feel like doing yoga that day, or I’m grumpy, or I pig out on junk food. I want to accept that I’m human, I’m doing my best and that I mean well. I want to look at my life as a whole, to see all the love and creativity and laughter I share with the world, rather than focus on what I might have done “wrong” at the end of each day. Then I’ll find the peace and joy in simply being (and most days, I do). It will ripple outward from me, to my loved ones and my surroundings, and on out into this beautiful blessed world.