“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”– Lao Tzu
Powerful. Me becoming who I am or who I wish to be. How do we bring that about, this believing in oneself?
I don’t thrive in waiting until I’m perfect as if me becoming perfect will allow me to be worthy of my own acceptance—unreasonable demands placed upon humanness, layered with fear and expectation.
There is a difference between perfection and the best I can do at the time. Perfection demands unfaltering alignment and definitive execution without fail or fault. The best I can do at the time operates within realistic parameters.
The tricky thing for me is to know if I truly gave my best or if I used “my best” as an excuse to give up or throw in the towel when things got too tough or felt too overwhelming.
Only I can determine if I was honest with myself. Honesty means facts and facts can’t change a thing if they aren’t accepted just as they are—not my story about the facts.
This means my ability to thrive today comes from being able to accept myself as I am. This acceptance is not just for the parts that I like or appreciate or want everyone to see. I need to accept all of me. I must unshackle my denial and witness myself in my entirety.
I must attempt to believe in myself, to own me. I must be willing to change what’s not working. I must let go of the shame, guilt, anger, resentment, and condemnation which fetters my ankles to a preconceived notion of who I should be. Letting go of the should, so I can move into my potential.
Isn’t that what we all want? An acknowledgment of self that doesn’t splinter our mind into good and bad, right and wrong, but instead is tangible and workable? Even if we feign dislike or disinterest in people or dealing with people, most of us genuinely want to belong, to be part of a group.
Isn’t that what all the disturbance we see everywhere is all about? People grappling with emotional disturbances, feeling terminally unique, and unable to truly connect with the human race?
My connection begins with ownership of myself. This almost seems counterintuitive. How can owning myself connect me to others? My self-ownership is an internal connection, which is a building block to connect with others.
I am freed from stress and demand when I acknowledge what I can and cannot do. My willingness to admit I don’t know and I need help will nourish my connection to myself and others. Denying my fallibility will only bring about isolation and loneliness.
How do we perpetuate unreasonable demands and expectations on ourselves and on others?
For me, if I’m overly demanding of myself, I am of others too. My demands will manifest in my interactions with others. Am I judging them? Do I think they should do things differently? Do I have a lot of opinions about them and the way they are living their lives?
This type of judgment and condemnation can bleed into all my relationships and be detrimental to my closest ones.
That’s where the rubber meets the road, so to say, because for me to have sound, intimate relationships with the people most important to me, I need to accept them as they are without judgment and condemnation. Likewise, I need to do the same with myself because if I don’t, it won’t be long before I’m tallying my loved ones’ faults again.
When judging others, I am distracting myself from what I need to change and improve upon. Distraction creates delay and enables me to stay in denial about my challenges, allowing me to stay in that ever-sought after perfection of me that is untrue and unattainable.
A never-ending cycle of unfulfilled living and purpose. A sad way to live.