We all have sides to ourselves that we don’t like. I don’t want to know or admit that I can be moody, or argumentative. I want to believe that I am incredibly balanced, super zen, and supremely centered. The truth is, I can be those things, but I also deal with bouts of anxiety followed by terrible panic attacks. I grow restless sometimes. I get irritable. I still have moments where anger comes up for me, and there is a dark side of myself that doesn’t rear its head often, but it’s undoubtedly there. I’m human, you know? And we all are, so rather than trying to rid ourselves of the parts of ourselves that we don’t exactly like, or trying to pretend that we are all that, we should be willing to accept our quirks and learn how to look at them without judgment.
Without judgment? Yes, without judgment. There are so many parts of myself that I wish I could change, and I’m constantly working on myself, but I still mess up in life and say the wrong things to people, or get trapped in gossip sessions. I am not consistently serene. Every day has its challenges – and people, places and things often pull me in ways and bring out dark parts of myself that I didn’t even know still existed. I surprise myself at how balanced I can be in certain settings, and also how unglued I can become in other situations, but there is no need for alarm. If we begin accepting the stuff we don’t like about ourselves, we learn to laugh, rather than scorn ourselves for those things. Laughter can alleviate the negativity, and it will transform a heavy situation into something more palatable. Life is life. It’s difficult. On top of all of life’s unpredictable nuances, we have moods and stresses that push and prod us, often without our permission. It’s ok that we are quirky and moody and sometimes unfiltered. I think the best thing we can do is be self-aware and when we feel like we’ve made a mistake, or when we overstep our boundaries, we simply need to take a step back, re-evaluate and take responsibility.
I think the most difficult situations are when we screw up and we take responsibility, yet another person is affected and does not accept our apology. When someone else judges us for our quirks, or for our mistakes, it makes it difficult not to judge ourselves, but we still need to learn to let go of what other people are harboring about us. Most of us are doing our best, and sometimes we are caught off-guard in life. If this affects someone else and you’ve said your apologies to no avail, then the only thing you can do is let go and move on, and allow that person to have their experience, or to cut you off if that’s what they choose to do. Beating yourself up never does anyone any good. Life is way too short to spin out about things you cannot change. Take responsibility, learn from your mistakes, trust that you are unconditionally loved and always being guided. Let go. It’s ok. Life goes on and you’re allowed to make mistakes here. Earth is a playground of learning experiences.
I read this cute thing online the other day that some people call taking one step forward and two steps back, a “setback,” while some of us call that a “cha-cha.” I really liked that. It’s true. As a recovering alcoholic, I have overcome challenges that I thought I would never overcome in this lifetime, but once in a while that old addict returns out of nowhere and wreaks havoc within me. I cannot help this. It’s just part of who I am as a person in recovery. I am certain that I will deal with this for the remainder of my life, and when it comes up, I have to sit with it and talk about it and stare it in the face, but I can no longer judge it, because it is part of my own humanness. The one thing I know is that I have beat it before. I have moved through the cravings and the restlessness and the negative thoughts with flying colors, so when these things arise, I know there is light on the other side. I don’t hate myself because of my challenges. I learn to cha-cha with them without resistance. It’s a fun little dance, you see? It’s good when these things come up for me because it’s a reminder that I have come a long way, but I still have a long way to go. I certainly do not want to go backward, but I am in no way, shape or form at a point of arrival. We just keep moving forward and picking ourselves up when we fall, and laughing at ourselves for being so human. Life is not asking you to be perfect. It’s simply asking for your participation.
Don’t dwell on the negative stuff about yourself. Just let it be there and observe it, and know that it’s something you can work on, but don’t ever buy into an idea that you’re less-than or not worthy. Have compassion for yourself and move forward, regardless of how other people judge you. We all here doing this thing called life, which is not in the least bit easy. The challenges are set before us for our personal growth. It doesn’t matter what other people think. What matters is that you continue moving forward and taking responsibility and trying. Don’t ever give up on yourself. Surround yourself with people who care about you, and let go of those that don’t. You will never please everyone, and not everyone is going to accept you. The most important thing is that you accept yourself in all of your variations. Keep the cha-cha in mind, and embrace all that you are. If you can laugh at yourself, no one else will have power over you.